A new cannabis compound has been discovered and it may be 30 times more potent than THC.
Scientists aren’t yet sure whether the compound causes a high or has medical benefits so they’ve been conducting tests to try and figure this out.
The compound is one of two newfound cannabinoids that have been discovered in the Cannabis plant glands of the sativa L species.
Cannabinoids is the collective term for the group of diverse chemical compounds that act on the cannabinoid receptors of the brain.
THC is just one of these cannabinoids and it’s currently considered to be the principal psychoactive component of cannabis.
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, plugs into brain receptors and can alter our ability to co-ordinate movements, reason, record memories and perceive things like time and pleasure.
It’s thought that cannabis contains over 140 similar chemicals that can interact with receptors all over the body.
However, THC is currently the only one we know can result in a high spaced out feeling.
Of the two new cannabinoids discovered, one looks similar to the compound CBD, which isn’t psychoactive.
The other appears similar to THC but may even produce stronger mind-bending effects.
This THC lookalike is called tetrahydrocannabiphorol (THCP).
Recent research suggests that it interacts with the same brain receptor as THC but has slight differences in its chain of atoms.
The slight difference in shape of THCP means it can technically fit more snugly into its preferred brain receptor than THC.
A test showed that the compound can actually bind 30 times more reliably than THC.
When given to lab mice, the THCP made them behave as if they were on THC with slower movements and decreased reactions to pain.
The mice reached this state with a much lower dose than would have been required with THC meaning the new compound is stronger.
However, this lab experiment still doesn’t mean that the same effect would happen in humans.
THCP doesn’t appear to be present in large amounts in cannabis plants but even if it was, increased psychoactive properties would still not be guaranteed.