A new cannabinoid has been discovered, and the ramifications could be massive. Scientists funded by the UNIHEMP research project have discovered a new psychoactive molecule: Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabiphorol, or THCP; and they believe that there are great scientific implications for the phytocannabinoid.
Phytocannabinoids are cannabinoid molecules that are specifically produced by plants. There are several types of cannabinoids, including endocannabinoids, synthetic cannabinoids, and phytocannabinoids.
Endocannabinoids are compounds that are produced within the body by an organism’s endocannabinoid system; and synthetic cannabinoids are man-made chemicals that cannot be found in nature. Phytocannabinoids, on the other hand, are a different beast altogether. They are those that naturally occur in plants and are found in a variety, including echinacea. However, the plant species in which phytocannabinoids are most prominent is cannabis.
Because of cannabis’ status as a Schedule I controlled substance in the US, there are several barriers that prohibit the scientific study of the plant and its constituents. Thus, a considerable portion of cannabis research takes place abroad. Many clinical and laboratory studies of cannabis take place in Israel and Canada, where there is federal research funding to support this work; but, the newly discovered THCP was characterized by a group of Italian scientists.
Unlike the US, government funding for cannabis research is relatively commonplace in Europe. The discovery of THCP was enabled by the UNIHEMP project, which is sponsored by the European Regional Development Fund. A multi-disciplinary team of Italian scientists was responsible for the discovery of this novel cannabinoid, led by Giuseppe Cannazza of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia.
The researchers’ findings were published in late 2019 in the journal Nature.
THCP is 33-times more active than THC
Throughout the duration of the project, the group studied a medicinal cannabis cultivar, dubbed FM2, which was supplied by the Military Chemical Pharmaceutical Institute in Florence. Using a variety of scientific characterization techniques, the researchers observed two novel cannabinoids, THCP and CBDP, and isolated them from other cannabinoids that were present. Following this discovery, the group artificially synthesized THCP and CBDP to create reference materials, and the synthesized versions were successfully used to verify the natural expression of the two cannabinoids in the FM2 cultivar.
After the confirmation of the identity of the two cannabinoids, the group turned its focus to THCP. To study the compound, they pursued an in vitro experiment with cultured cells. This experiment tested the binding affinity of THCP with CB1 and CB2 receptors, using synthetic cannabinoids as reference materials. It was shown that, when comparing THCP-related results to the previously reported data of other cannabinoids against the CB1 receptor, THCP is 33-times more active than delta-9 THC.
This finding is critical because the group also found that the chemical was present in FM2 at 0.0029%, whereas THC was found to be expressed at 3.9%; so, even in smaller amounts, THCP is more active than THC.
They also tested the cannabimimetic activity of the molecule. Cannabimimetic activity is a measure of how well a substance replicates the effects of more well-characterized cannabinoids which bind to the CB1 receptor. An in vivo experiment involving mice was performed. Herein, the influence of THCP on body temperature, spontaneous activity, immobility, and pain was determined — the results of these tests confirmed that THCP acts similarly to other cannabinoids like delta-9 THC.
Will THCP be important?
According to the study, even at lower doses, THCP has more cannabimimetic activity than THC. Further, the group posits that THCP could account for the wide variability of patient responses in cannabis-based therapies, even amongst cultivars with equal THC doses. This means that cannabis’ psychotropic effects, which the scientific community attributes to THC, may actually be due to the presence of THCP.
Unfortunately, none of the original researchers could be reached for comment. However, experts in the field do have varying opinions regarding the study. Dr. Cecilia J. Hillard of the Medical College of Wisconsin said, “I think it is well designed.” She goes on, “[The study] has two important gaps, in my opinion. First, they should have compared the in vivo effects of THCP to that of THC ‘head to head’ so that relative potencies could be assessed. Second, I would like to know whether THCP has greater efficacy to activate the [CB1 receptor] in particular. THC is relatively safe because it has low efficacy at the receptor. If THCP has high efficacy (like the synthetic analogs that have also increased the tail length), it is a more concerning finding, as it would suggest that strains making a lot of THCP could be more dangerous to use than those that do not.”
Expanding on how THCP could be more dangerous, Hillard continued, “The so-called ‘spice’ compounds are synthetic agonists of the CB1 receptor. They are full agonists, meaning that they are very strong activators of the CB1 receptor. Compared to THC, these drugs have significant adverse effects and produce significant dependence (addiction). So, my issue is that we do not know yet whether THCP is like THC, a partial agonist, or like the synthetic compounds, a full agonist. And my concern is that, if it is the latter, cannabis strains high in THCP will have more adverse effects than those that are low.”
Dr. Samuel Banister of The University of Sydney states, “[The study] was well designed and executed,” concurring with Dr. Hillard. However, he goes on to disagree with the group’s assessment that THCP may account for the variability of psychotropic effects across various cannabis cultivars: “While this possibility cannot be ruled out, the known potency differences for THC and THCP at cannabinoid receptors is relatively small, while the difference in abundance of each in cannabis is enormous. The same is true of CBD and CBDP, although CBD requires even higher doses to achieve many of its pharmacological effects. For this reason, I do not feel that minor or trace phytocannabinoids like THCP or CBDP contribute significantly to the psychoactive effects of different cannabis strains.”
How this novel cannabinoid plays out in both medical and recreational use is yet to be determined, as much more research is needed. Nonetheless, this new evidence suggests that analytical laboratories in US regulated markets may need to expand their testing panel to include THCP.
Featured graphic by David Lozada/Weedmaps
8 of the best strains for focus
It’s 12:47 p.m. and you’ve got a whole heap of work that you’ve been avoiding. You know none of the tasks are too hard, but for some reason, you just can’t sit still and concentrate for long enough to do them. Still, sunlight is ticking, stress is mounting, and you know you’ll feel like hot garbage if you end the day with nothing to show for your time. You think to yourself, “All I need to do is smoke a little weed and I can zone in.”
Which strains are you picking?
There are plenty of cannabis strains that can help you focus. And with so many constant distractions in the world, I wouldn’t blame you for wanting to try them all. While I could never name every single one, here are eight that might help you block out the noise for long enough to get shit done.
White Fire OG
White Fire OG, also called WiFi OG, is a cross of Fire OG and The White. The nugs are light green and frosty with trichomes, and the smoke tastes like gassy pine needles — which is perfect for anyone that loves chemmy diesel flavors. On the high side, WiFi OG is great for people whose thoughts are always moving at 744 mph. It’s potent yet manageable high can help clear your mind of anything that’s not immediately in front of you.
Most strains with Thai genetics are good for a clear-headed high that can help you defeat procrastination. Lemon Thai is no different. A cross of a Thai landrace and a Hawaiian sativa, this citrusy strain is great for anyone who’s been caught with that middle-of-the-day lag that makes even simple tasks feel the most daunting. If you’re the type of consumer that likes to puff on a vape pen throughout the day, Lemon Thai is a great cart to have handy.
When you’re talking strains that help you focus, it’s only right that we bring Jack to the table. A cross of the famed Jack Herer, Northern Lights #5, and White Widow, Jack Frost is for those who need to get dumb stoned to focus. It hits you with a potent high that’ll have you knocking out the day’s to-do list without issue. Like most strains with Jack genetics, it usually has a citrusy and earthy aroma, however some people report that it may also have a somewhat fruity smell to it.
Believed to be a cross of Northern Lights and Haze genetics, Dutch Treat pushes out strong piney terpenes that alert your senses in the same way walking through the forest on a hike does.
The delicious flavor is followed by a potent, clear-headed cerebral stimulation that many describe as the “hybrid high.” Old school and tasty, , Dutch Treat is a perfect suggestion for the dabbers.
As your cannabis knowledge bag gets deeper, you’ll learn that not every desired effect comes from THC. There are plenty of CBD strains out there that can help you focus too.
Canna-Tsu is a CBD-dominant cross of Cannatonic and Sour Tsunami. It has sweet, earthy flavors, and the effect is relaxing in the body. I get a little anxious sometimes, and anything with Cannatonic genetics usually chills me out in a way that smoking too much THC doesn’t. If you’re looking for something light and manageable, this (or either of its parents), are solid options.
A lot of times, being able to focus isn’t about energizing yourself or clearing out your mind, it’s about relaxing your body. Jah Goo is a great strain for doing just that.
This cross of Goo and Purple Jasmine produces colorful flowers with purple hues and pink hairs, and a somewhat sweet and woody flavor. Its stoney high may be a little much for inexperienced consumers, but the vets may find it just right for that 10 am smoke before flipping the Go switch.
If you love Granddaddy Purple then you might love Bay Dream too — it comes from the same breeders. Bay Dream, or GDP Bay Dream, is a cross of the beloved Blue Dream and a Bay 11 hybrid. Like Blue Dream, it has a sweet flavor profile, but also features woody and piney attributes. The cerebral high provides a nice, long-lasting euphoria that helps people get active for everything that needs to get done before 5 p.m.
Harle-Tsu is another CBD strain for consumers that don’t want to get high, but still want the benefits that come with smoking weed. As its name suggests, it is a cross of Harlequin and Sour Tsunami, two of the most well-known CBD flowers. If you’re here for taste, look elsewhere, as Harle-Tsu is pretty earthy and bland; but if you’re here for effects, this strain usually makes people feel relaxed in the body and focused in the mind.
Find thousands of strains on Weedmaps
Featured image by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
I’m a cannabis media expert specializing in writing engaging articles and creating entertaining video content around strains, products, and information. Basically, if you want to teach people about cannabis: what to buy, what/how to consume, why, and general FAQs on any level, I’m your guy.
Racial Bias In Pots Arrests Still Prevalent In D.C. Despite Legalization
Five years after the legalization of cannabis in Washington, D.C., racial bias is still prevalent in arrests for marijuana-related offenses in the nation’s capital, according to an analysis of police records by the Washington Post. Between 2015 and 2019, nearly 90% of those arrested for cannabis-related crimes in Washington, D.C. were Black, although African-Americans make up only 45% of the city’s population and multiple studies have shown comparable rates of marijuana use among white people and Black people.
In 2014, voters in Washington, D.C. approved Initiative 71, a ballot measure that permitted possession of up to two ounces of marijuana by adults 21 and older. The initiative also allowed adults to gift up to one ounce of weed to other adults and for the home cultivation of up to six cannabis plants. Support for the measure was bolstered by a 2013 report from the American Civil Liberties Union that showed starkly disparate enforcement of the nation’s marijuana laws, including in Washington, D.C. where Black people were eight times as likely as white people to be arrested for possession.
But Republicans in Congress, flexing their power over the city’s budget, blocked Washington from eliminating penalties on public consumption and cannabis sales. That led police in the city to continue “buy and bust” operations and other law enforcement actions aimed at marijuana.
“The goal was to not only eliminate the criminality associated with cannabis but to establish a regulatory system for distribution,” G. Malik Burnett, a leader of the effort to reform Washington’s cannabis policy, told the Post. “When there’s a gray area, police are able to enforce what they feel they should enforce.”
Between 2015 and 2019, D.C. Metro Police made 3,631 arrests for marijuana-related offenses.
While arrests have declined significantly since the passage of Initiative 71, 89% of those arrested during that time were Black. That figure mirrors the 89% of arrestees who were Black during the three years prior to legalization. To conduct the analysis, the Washington Post reviewed the records of more than 11,500 marijuana arrests by Metro Police between 2012 and 2019. The data was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the newspaper.
Black Neighborhoods Targeted
Georgetown University law professor Vida Johnson said that police in Washington, D.C. make a deliberate effort to focus their drug enforcement activities in the city’s Black neighborhoods.
“Rather than go to American University or George Washington’s campus, where we know there are marijuana sales, they’re focusing on poor communities of color that are mostly African-American,” Johnson said.
“And to what end?” she continued. “We have already decided as a community that marijuana isn’t dangerous.”
Metro Police declined to comment on the racial disparity in marijuana arrests revealed by the Washington Post analysis. But spokesperson Kristen Metzger said in an email statement that the department “respects the intent” of Initiative 71 and “makes very few arrests” for cannabis-related offenses. Metzger added, however, that the police department “takes illegal distribution, especially where it is linked to violent crime, very seriously and we will continue to protect our residents by enforcing these laws.”
Liberty Health Sciences Partners with VCC Brands for Florida Distribution
TORONTO – Liberty Health Sciences Inc. (CSE: LHS) (OTCQX: LHSIF) (“Liberty” or the “Company”), a provider of high-quality cannabis, announced today that it has entered into a licensing agreement with VCC Brands (VCC). Also known as Venice Cookie Company, VCC is a leading manufacturer and distributor of CBD and cannabis infused beverage and edible products in the US. The agreement will bring VCC’s extensive line of edible products to Liberty’s network of dispensaries, once the products receive approval from the Florida Department of Health and the Florida Department of Agriculture.
VCC’s portfolio of products includes some of the industries most recognized consumer brands, including cookies, pretzels, lozenges, beverages (Cannabis Quenchers), teas, and tinctures.
“We continue to look for great companies and partners and we are thrilled to enter into this licensing agreement with VCC Brands so we can provide our customers with these one-of-a-kind award-winning products,” said Victor Mancebo, Chief Executive Officer of Liberty. “VCC’s portfolio brands, such as Venice Cookie Company, Cannabis Quencher, Subtle Tea, and One Tincture are extremely popular, and we are excited to be part of their expansion across Florida.”
VCC Brands prides itself on producing a consistent product that follows strict business standards and quality assurance initiatives. With an eye towards growing nationally recognizable brands that are relied upon for taste and potency, just like other packaged foods, the company created an in-house art and design team that develops all of its product line packaging to maintain branding consistency.
“VCC Brands looks forward to expanding the availability of its most sought-after THC products to the state as well,” said Kenny Morrison, Founder and CEO of VCC Brands. “Our heritage medical cannabis brands, Venice Cookie Company, and Cannabis Quencher should be a welcome addition to the Liberty lineup. From gummies to beverages, to baked goods and chocolate, VCC Brands makes cannabis health and wellness easy to drink and eat safely.”
VCC Brands products will be available, pending approvals, in October at all of the following Liberty locations:
- Boca Raton
- Bonita Springs
- Cape Coral
- Dania Beach
- Jacksonville Beach
- Merritt Island
- North Miami
- Orange Park
- Palm Harbor
- Panama City
- Port St. Lucie
- St. Petersburg
- Tampa (Hyde Parke
- Tampa (Tetra)
- West Palm Beach
- Winter Haven
About Liberty Health Sciences Inc.
Liberty is the cannabis provider committed to providing a high-quality cannabis experience based on our genuine care for all cannabis users and a focus on operational excellence from seed to sale. For more information, please visit: www.libertyhealthsciences.com
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