The cannabis plant is known because one of over 400 chemicals it contains, THC, can have powerful effects on the brain. Until now this was thought to be the most psychoactive substance produced by this plant, but it seems that this is not the case. A team of Italian researchers announced the discovery of two new cannabinoid substances produced by cannabis, tetrahydrocannabiforol (THCP) and cannabidiforol (CBDP).
While the second substance can be considered very close to cannabidiol (CBD), a substance with relaxing and sleep-promoting effects, the first substance, according to the researchers themselves, is at least 30 times more potent than THC itself, according to an article in Vice which resumed the same study. This is what the researchers discovered by performing experiments on mice and injecting low doses of THCP into their bodies. The latter seemed much more active than THC, although this does not automatically mean that such a substance can have 30 times more psychoactive effect on humans than THC.
The study, published in Scientific Reports, could explain why different sensations are obtained when smoking different marijuana mixtures and in general could be useful to further clarify the medicinal use of the same THC. Researchers found relatively low amounts of THCP and CBDP in the plants they analysed but believe that there may be higher amounts of THCP and CBDP in other cannabis strains and this will need to be investigated in further studies.
If this is true, these new cannabinoids could be produced in high amounts but this is still far from reality because it is not even known if CBDP and THCP can be as medically useful as their counterparts. The necessary studies could take several years, much longer than would be necessary. Research into this plant could be slowed down by the fact that it is considered illegal and an illicit drug in many regions of the world.