For years CBD and THC have reigned supreme as the two most popular and widely used cannabinoids, but now there are two new compounds entering the scene — THCP and CBDP. The discovery of the first is especially important as it is said to be 30 times more potent than THC!
So far, over 113 cannabinoids have been identified as part of the Cannabis sativa plant, but only two, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), have been the focus of most cannabis studies.
THC — the psychoactive element of cannabis (i.e., the one that gets you stoned) — has been widely recommended for its sedative properties. CBD, on the other hand, is popular for its anti-seizure and anti-inflammatory effects. Both bind to receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system, regulating the work of the ECS and providing the many health benefits we associate with cannabis.
The new research, published in Scientific Reports, claims that one of the newly discovered cannabinoids, THCP, has a 30-times higher affinity to bind to the CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system than THC. In their studies on mice, scientists found that, even at lower doses, THCP was more active than THC.
This does not necessarily mean that THCP will get you 30 times more stoned, but its discovery could shed some light on why certain weed strains have different properties and effects; something that has puzzled researchers (and users) for quite some time.
The study also identified the presence of another cannabinoid — CBDP. However, researchers report that this compound showed a poor affinity for both CB1 and CB2 receptors, therefore, putting any further exploration on the back burner.
The discovery of these new cannabinoids only emphasizes the need for further research. Not just to discover the medicinal benefits of THCP and CBDP but also to explore the many other chemical compounds of the cannabis plant, researchers say.
The legalization of cannabis still remains the main obstacle in conducting more extensive research. The illegal status of cannabis in many countries limits studies to using low-quality samples, which seriously impacts the results and their relevance.
So, will TCHP and CBDP take over as the most popular cannabinoids? Or will science discover other, more potent, elements of the plant? We might be years (and plenty of clinical trials) away from answering these questions, but the main takeaway is that there is more to cannabis than THC and CBD.
Overall, it is truly a miraculous plant and there are benefits that are yet to be explored.
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Written by Ljubica Cvetkovska