Scientists Say This Moss-Like Plant Mimics THC

The plant species Cannabis sativa has had such an enduring place in human culture and culture due to the uniqueness of what it has to offer: cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD. But what if cannabis weren’t the only pant that could produce these medicinal, enjoyable and more lucrative molecules? That’s a question that led a group of researchers to study the humble bryophyteknows as moss. They say that they ’ve discovered plants that produce a compound that looks and behaves a lot like tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. In other words, scientists say that this moss-like plant could lead to breakthroughs in its medical application and mimics THC.

A study that grew out of a simple fascination has identified an alternative source of THC-like cannabinoids. Plants that are liverwort are a relative of a family of plants we all know as mosses. And one genus of liverwort, Radula, includes a few of species that produce a chemical called perrottetinene. Named after the liverwort species that generates it, Radula perrottetii, perrottetinene, or PET, seems to be somewhat much like the THC produced by Cannabis sativa.

Researchers identified the similarities in a 2002 study between THC and PET. Japanese and New Zealand scientists called PET a “new cannabinoid” from the New Zealand liverwort plant Radula marginata, another species that makes it. And they noted that PET was similar to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the isomer of THC that makes cannabis consumers high.

Picking up from where that 2002 study left off, researchers at the University of Bern in Switzerland published a new study this week that not only affirms the chemical similarities between THC and PET, but also indicates that PET produces similar effects on the brains of mammals. In actuality, researchers concluded THC and PET share structural and pharmaceutical likeness. And that could make PET a viable alternative.

THC-Like PET Show Potential as an Alternative Medical Cannabinoid

Cannabis is socially culturally and economically vital for humans due to the relevance of the compounds it produces. We know that there are other plants out there using the same potential. And that has researchers buzzing about the possibility of using PET as an alternative cannabinoid.

At the University of Bern, lead writer Jürg Gertsch and his staff wanted to see how, especially, PET compared to THC. They synthesized PET in their laboratory, using the pure liverwort chemical as a template. Then, using cell preparations from mice brains, they looked to see if PET bound to cell receptors in the endocannabinoid system, just like the cannabinoids in cannabis do. Because that ’ s what allows THC and other cannabinoids to produce their effects binding to cell receptors is key. And according to Gertsch and his group, PET binds to the same cell receptors as THC. Additional PET doesn’t bind to some cell receptors THC doesn’t.

Thus far so good. Researchers looked at what the effects of PET binding to cell receptors were. Were they similar to THC? Researchers focused in on a effect of cannabis. Cannabis’ anti-inflammatory effects are a major part of what make it so valuable as a medication. And according to the week PET did that. PET reduced the amount of molecules associated with nerve inflammation in the brain. And it did so while being psychoactively potent than THC.  Co-author Michael Schafroth says PET is so “highly interesting for medicinal uses, as we can expect fewer negative effects while still having pharmacologically important outcomes. ”

Anticipate Further study on PET’s Medicinal Uses

In short, these liverwort plants produce a chemical that provides one of the advantages of THC without as much potency. Similar to CBD, which offers its medicinal and therapeutic benefits with no psychoactivity, PET could soon become a viable, naturally-occurring medication. Researchers at Bern are calling for studies of PET’s effects on inflammatory diseases.

Published at Thu, 25 Oct 2018 21:01:37 +0000

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