Two new cannabinoids have been identified by Italian scientists

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

As many as 400 chemicals are contained in the Cannabis Sativa L. plant species. However, just a handful of chemical compounds have been closely investigated for their therapeutic potential in the field of medicine. More is now being learned about the cannabis plant, with one of the latest discoveries revealing that two new cannabinoids could play a role in pharmaceuticals.

A team of Italian researchers claim that one of the new cannabinoids holds 30 times more potency than the well-known psychoactive compound THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). The discovery – published in Scientific Reports – was announced on December 30, 2019, when the research team declared that they have found two naturally-occurring compounds called tetrahydrocannabiphorol (THCP) and cannabidiphorol (CBDP).

New cannabinoids found in THC strain sourced from Italian military 

The researchers examined a cannabis variety that is cultivated by Italy’s military – FM2. This low-THC cannabis variety contains small quantities of the cannabinoids THCP and CBDP. Cannabinoids are naturally-occurring chemicals that work by reacting with receptors inside the endocannabinoid system (ECS) to regulate homeostasis and various bodily functions. Although the quantities of these new cannabinoids were found to be quite low in the FM2 variety, this is not to say that the crossbreeding of cannabinoids cannot yield higher quantities of CBDP and THCP.

The newly discovered cannabinoid that is said to be 30 times stronger than THC is THCP. This is according to the Italian researchers, who remain uncertain as to whether or not THCP would make a consumer 30 times more ‘high’ than THC, or if it even possesses any psychoactive properties at all. However, when tested on rod models, THCP proved to be more effective when administered in low doses; as opposed to THC. CBD, on the other hand, is believed to be the cousin cannabinoid of wellness ingredient CBD.

A major benefit of THCP’s discovery is that this cannabinoid could teach scientists more about the factors that influence feelings of psychoactivity produced by specific strains and cannabinoid combinations. Moreover, the team of Italian researchers say that their findings may shed some light on the medical benefits associated with THC; With medical cannabis sweeping across much of Europe and the vast majority of the United States, THC combinations are being used more frequently in the treatment of appetite loss and nausea associated with various diseases, such as HIV and cancer. 

Two new cannabinoids were also discovered by the Italian research team in 2019

Prior to the Scientific Report study that spotlighted the new cannabinoids CBDP and THCP,  the same group of Italian researchers published a report in 2019 on two alternative – and also newly discovered – cannabinoids: CBDB and THCB. Despite being discovered earlier on, the scientists possess little knowledge on the properties of CBDB and THCB. Their research did, however, demonstrate that THCB relieved pain in mice.

None of these discoveries would have been possible without mass spectrometry; a special tool utilized by scientists to weigh atom mass and distinguish between compounds. Clinical trials must now commence to better determine whether or not the newly discovered cannabinoids can be used safely and effectively in novel medical applications.