A group of Italian researchers, led by Professor Giuseppe Cannazza of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (UniMore), has discovered a new cannabinoid more than 30 times more potent than THC. Upon discovery, they named it tetrohydrocannabiforol (Δ9-THCP) and isolated it along with a corresponding cannabidiol (CBD) homolog with a seven-term side alkyl chain, cannabidiforol (CBDP).
Their study, published on December 30th, 2019, in Scientific Reports, shows that THCP binds to both human CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system—and was 33 times more active than THC, 63 times more active than THCV, and 13 times more active than the newly discovered THCB against CB1 receptor. The suffix “-phorol” comes from “sphaerophorol”, common name for 5-heptyl-benzen-1,3-diol.
The research of the new cannabinoids started by studying industrial hemp. As marijuana is illegal in Italy, researchers needed to ask permission to study the plant from Italy’s Ministry of Health. Right now, the Military Pharmaceutical Chemical Plant in Florence is the only state agency authorized to cultivate medical cannabis strains provided by the Council for Agricultural Research and Agricultural Economy Analysis (CREA).
“We have discovered these new cannabis compounds because no one was looking for them”, Dr Cannazza explained.