There’s A ‘Legal High’ You Can Buy Online, And It Isn’t Cannabis
A recent study by a group of scientists in Bern, Switzerland examining a cannabinoid extracted from a rare moss-like plant–a member of the liverwort family–growing only in Japan, New Zealand, and Costa Rica has revealed potentially useful properties that may be valuable for people suffering with inflammation and chronic pain.
Liverwort (Radula perrottetii)
University of Bern/Stefan Fischer
What’s even more interesting is that this moss is distantly related to a plant we are quite familiar with–Cannabis Sativa —which has more recently emerged as a potential approach for treating seizures, multiple sclerosis, inflammation, and many chronic medical conditions.
Thus far, the researchers do not understand why this specific liverwort–which has a different way of living and reproducing compared with Cannabis—would harbor a compound so similar to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component found in marijuana. (It was previously believed that the only plant that produces THC was Cannabis Sativa.)
What they do realize is that the cannabinoid isolated from this liverwort, and THC found in Cannabis are chemically similar , but also produce quite similar effects in the brains of mammals.
The study was recently published in the Journal, Science Advances.
PET was first described in 1994 by the Japanese phytochemist, Yoshinori Asakawa. But it wasn’t until Jürg Gertsch from the Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine at the University of Bern, evaluated the similarity of this compound in structure and activity to THC in the brains of mammals that the significance became more relevant.
Several years ago, Gertsch noticed that liverworts were being promoted online as “legal highs”, used by recreational and medicinal users in Switzerland, New Zealand, as well as other areas of the world. But no research had been done to evaluate the pharmacological properties of the cannabinoids contained in the plant. Gertsch joined forces with his colleague, Erick Carreira, from the Department of Chemistry at the ETH Zürich, and proceeded to compare THC and PET.
Using an animal model (mice), the team demonstrated that PET reaches the brain relatively easily, but activates cannabinoid receptors– CB1 and CB2 receptors–to a much weaker degree compared with THC. As a result, a key difference between the two compounds is that PET is much less psychoactive compared with THC, making it more attractive for medicinal as opposed to recreational purposes. But PET’s more potent anti-inflammatory effects, compared with THC, based on initial studies, certainly became a point of further interest.
Gertsch believes that PET’s more robust anti-inflammatory effect in the brain compared with THC, makes it noteworthy, especially if you consider its potential medical applications.
“It’s astonishing that only two species of plants, separated by 300 million years of evolution, produce psychoactive cannabinoids,” said Gertsch in a press release.
And it turns out that the Maori people, indigenous to New Zealand, have utilized the liverwort plant for centuries as a traditional medicine for treating abnormalities of the liver or digestive issues.
“The work of Jürg Gertsch and colleagues is a prominent advance in understanding the role of plants beyond cannabis on the endocannabinoid system,” said Ethan Russo M.D., a neurologist, and Director of Research and Development for International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute (ICCI). “Perrottetinene from the liverwort, Radula marginata, has proven to stimulate weakly the CB1 receptor where THC and the endocannabinoids, anandamide (ANA) and 2-arachidonyl glycerol (2-AG) also bind.
“Although this activity was proven via positive effects on the mouse tetrad of hypothermia (lowered temperature), catalepsy (frozen behavior), hypolocomotion (decreased movement) and analgesia (pain reduction), and was demonstrated to enter the brain, it is unlikely to become a major target of recreation users because of its relatively low potency and especially since liverworts are very slow growing and difficult to cultivate.” added Russo.
Russo also explained that “perrottetinene differs from THC in a key way that makes it potentially useful medically, in that it reduces levels of prostaglandins D2 and E2 in the brain without producing COX inhibition, and thus may provide an effective anti-inflammatory and pain killer with a low risk of intoxication, formation of ulcers, or production of heart attacks or strokes.
Russo explained that this finding should prompt additional biochemical prospecting in other liverwort species in this frequently overlooked group of “primitive” plants.
Jeffrey C. Raber, Ph.D., a chemist with expertise in cannabinoid physiology and CEO of The Werc Shop, an independent testing laboratory in Southern California, also sees the potential upside of perrottetinene from a clinical standpoint as well, but realizes that cultivating and extraction of the compound may be challenging, but could be overcome with creativity and ingenuity.
“The stereochemistry of this compound suggests it may possess interesting clinical potential with minimized psychoactive side effect,” explained Raber. “Obtaining significant quantities of pure compound may be challenging initially, but viable natural based or synthetic routes may both be developed should it prove of interest to do so.”
PET less psychoactive compared with THC
It’s well known that low doses of THC may offer therapeutic potential when it comes to treating various chronic illnesses. But THC is limited from a therapeutic standpoint due to a strong psychoactive effect at higher doses, other than being illegal at this time.
As previously mentioned, in contrast to THC, PET inhibits the production of inflammatory prostaglandins in the brain. As a result, PET likely has an effect on cannabinoid receptors which interact with our endogenous endocannabinoids. Certainly more preclinical studies of various models of chronic and inflammatory pain will be necessary to better understand its role in this setting.
To obtain adequate amounts of PET from the liverwort plant, Gertsch collaborated with his colleague, Erick Carreira, whose team developed a new synthetic way to preserve the 3-D structure of the compound on a molecular level.
“The present study is a prime example of how new synthetic concepts can make a contribution towards enriching our pharmacological knowledge of biologically-active natural substances”, said Michael Schafroth, PhD, who studied and worked under the direction of Dr. Carreira, in a press release.
“Both solid fundamental research in the field of biochemical and pharmacological mechanisms as well as controlled clinical studies are required to carry out cannabinoid research”, added Gertsch.
With recent legalization of Cannabis in Canada helping to support ongoing support for research and patient interest in using combinations of CBD and THC to treat common conditions such as endometriosis, fibromyalgia and IBS, it’s becoming more apparent that the endocannabinoid system and its associated deficiencies may hold the key to relieving pain and alleviating bothersome symptoms that are difficult to treat.
Use of CBD (Epidiolex, GW Pharmaceuticals) to treat intractable seizures associated with Dravet syndrome and Lennox Gastaut Syndrome, along with THC (2.7 mg) and CBD (2.5 mg) per spray (nabiximols, Sativex, GW Pharmaceuticals) to treat spasticity associated with MS is supported by published research and has emerged as a viable way to manage these difficult-to-treat conditions when available and standard approaches yield minimal improvement.
Market aspects of cannabinoids
As clinicians seek less harmful modalities than opioids for treating chronic pain, PTSD, gastrointestinal, and autoimmune disorders, liverwort and its derivatives may hold promise as a safer therapy. The road to get there will involve not only refining methods of extraction and purification, but a significant amount of preclinical studies in animal models, before it’s ever tested in humans.
“2018 has seen the phenomenal rise of Cannabis and hemp (CBD) as an alternative therapy to alleviate the symptoms of pain, epilepsy, PTSD, MS, fibromyalgia, endometriosis, GI disorders, and many other chronic conditions,”said Rich Able, a medical device consultant based in Seattle.
“This is a very exciting time as big liquor and big pharma companies have invested billions of dollars into Cannabis ventures and clinical labs throughout the year,” offered Able. “This trend will continue as clinicians potentially investigate safer plant-based alternative therapies such as liverwort.”
“Known plant-based compounds like this one [PET] can be challenging to protect with patents, which is one reason why they may not be prioritized by industry,” said Greg Wesner, Chair of Lane Powell’s Intellectual Property Litigation Team, based in Seattle. “Nevertheless, even if the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) itself is not patentable as a chemical entity, it may be possible to obtain patent protection for a drug candidate that combines the API with an effective, patentable drug delivery technology.”
“Moreover, the API could be the subject of a method of treatment patent if the API is discovered to be a novel treatment for a disease indication,” added Wesner.
A recent study revealed that a moss-like plant known as a liverwort harbors a cannabinoid with remarkable chemical similarities to THC found in Cannabis, and also yields quite similar effects in the brains of mammals.
Marijuana Alternatives: Legal Substitutes To Smoking Weed
One of the main uses for medical marijuana is for pain relief, and with so many factors that can cause us pain in the world, using medical marijuana is a welcome alternative to some. It’s safer than the most commonly used options, which are either highly addictive opioids or anti-inflammatory medication that can cause problems if used long term. Fortunately, there are effective and safe marijuana alternatives that allow you to experience the medical benefits of cannabis without smoking or getting “high”. Here are the best marijuana alternatives.
Medical marijuana has no risk of addiction or any overdose effects, it is safe and now a relativity legal way to remove your chronic pain. Cannabis as a natural remedy has been used throughout the world and its history. Starting out in 2700 BC, the pain-relieving nature of the plant was documented, and it’s been praised and studied ever since (1). We at Hypothesis Journal see the benefits of using strains of marijuana to relieve chronic pain.
Using Weed For Pain, Stress, etc
Using the entire cannabis plant and getting all of the natural chemicals and strains (including CBD and THC) can allow for the most benefit. Using either pure CBD or THC separately can give different results when relieving your pain. THC can contribute to the feeling of being high, but taking CBD along with it can help to lessen the effect.
In addition, the CBD strain helps the THC last longer, to further extend the effects of your pain relief. Who doesn’t want that?
Medical marijuana can also help ease stress, pain, anxiety and so much more, but only in the correct dosage. The proper dosage is important to receive the full benefit.
But at Hypothesis Journal, we can already see the question forming in your head. You know about all this and the benefits, but you still have to ask: “what if I don’t want to smoke weed?”
The best marijuana alternative: CBD
If you don’t want to run the risk of ingesting THC and getting high, then you can use CBD oil extracted from hemp. Hemp is a close cousin to marijuana but doesn’t produce the psychoactive THC inherent in marijuana. This means you won’t get high, won’t feel lazy and won’t have bloodshot red eyes like you do when smoking marijuana.
What are the alternatives to smoking medical marijuana?
CBD oil can stop both chronic pains as well as nerve pain when taken in the correct dosage (and it also comes with many other benefits), and there are various oils and lotions available that still give that natural remedy. While the oil on its own hasn’t had the same level of scientific research as medical marijuana to support claims that it defeats pain, many tests are showing the benefit, which is highly promising.
CBD is especially beneficial for people needing pain relief, which is very hard to treat because it is not treated by traditional painkillers. CBD oil attaches to the receptors in your brain and then activates its painkilling effects, and can be used as a nerve pain treatment.
If you aren’t a big fan of smoking or vaping and want to get some effective pain relief, then the Hypothesis Journal team can assure you that taking CBD oil is the way to go. It’s safe, effective and doesn’t come with any worrying negative side effects.
Our recommended CBD brand: cbdMD
If you like transparency and effective pain relief then cbdMD’s CBD oil is the product for you.
The company uses the effective CO2 extraction process to get the CBD oil out of the hemp plant without any by-products or contaminates, and their hemp is clean and well grown to produce a fine organic product. Each compound is full spectrum, with high-quality oil to give the complete entourage effect and further reduce your pain.
You don’t have to worry about any chemicals or fertilizers getting into the plant or the product, it’s all completely pure.
Whether you are dealing with headaches, muscle pain, inflammation or stress, taking cbdMD’s CBD oil may help you relieve the pain with no smoking required.
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It’s affordable because high quality doesn’t translate to high pricing. It’s full spectrum, organically grown, and totally transparent. Yet, you can still afford the oil and get all the benefits for a very competitive price. If you end up not liking it after all, then you have a 30-day money back guarantee, so there’s nothing holding you back from getting the results that you need.
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Why CBD Oils?
For those who don’t want to smoke medical marijuana, CBD oil is one of several alternatives that can provide the same medicinal effects as smoking weed, as well as treat other health problems including anxiety and depression. The oil can also reduce the side effects of cancer treatments such as nausea and vomiting that come from chemotherapy (although, we have to be clear: CBD does not guarantee to cure, prevent or diagnose medical conditions).
Using CBD oil can also reduce an old teenage woe – acne. CBD oil stops your face from producing the excess oils that eventually cause acne, and it also works as an anti-inflammatory agent on your skin. It can even work to prevent seizures in both adults/young children and help treat addiction.
If you want to reap all the painkilling benefits and stress relief of marijuana without ever lifting a smoke to your lips, then using CBD oil is the right call. And if you want to get the most high-quality oils and have total transparency in what it is made out of, then the CBD oil offered by cbdMD will always have your back.
Not everyone likes the idea of smoking weed. However, there are now alternatives to smoking marijuana that are completely safe and allow you to experience the medical benefits of cannabis.