Researchers Find CBD-Like Compound in South American Shrub
Written by on June 19, 2023
Another active compound researchers are calling a cannabinoid has been discovered in another plant species that grows wild like a weed all over Brazil, further showing that cannabis compound properties are not entirely unique to one species.
After finding cannabinoid-like compounds in several other plants beyond cannabis, the most recent being a psychoactive THC-like compound in the liverwort genus Radula, or the CBG-like compound and five other cannabinoids found in Helichrysum umbraculigerum, or the woolly umbrella plant. Other common plants may have similar properties.
A new CBD-like compound has been found, but unlike many of the aforementioned plants, this time it’s an actual cousin of cannabis and hops, falling in the Cannabaceae family. And since THC restrictions make extracting CBD from hemp difficult, with the risk of hot hemp, this plant could eliminate that problem altogether.
Researchers associated with the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) announced that Trema micrantha—a species of plant native to Brazil and other South American countries—“can expand the use of cannabidiol (CBD) for medicinal purposes without legal barriers.”
Chemical analysis didn’t show any THC-like compounds in Trema micrantha. But as for CBD production, the plant could show promise as a game-changer, since hot hemp is a major headache for the hemp industry with traces of THC.
“It’s a legal alternative to using cannabis,” molecular biologist Rodrigo Moura Neto of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro told AFP. “This is a plant that grows all over Brazil. It would be a simpler and cheaper source of cannabidiol.”
What is Trema micrantha?
Experiencia seeds reports that Trema micrantha is also called the Florida trema—a species of flowering plant in the hemp and hops family, Cannabaceae. It’s a fast-growing, deciduous tree that can reach up to 10 meters in height. It grows across Brazil as a native plant, and can also be found in other tropical and subtropical regions throughout the globe.
Trema is known for its hardiness and ability to thrive in nearly any soil condition, making it a common weed found in urban landscapes. Most people consider it to be a weed.
In its native habitats, Trema micrantha plays an important ecological role, providing fruits as a food source for a variety of bird species. It also contributes to seed dispersal and biodiversity. The plant’s rapid growth and dense foliage provides shelter for wildlife, while its roots are believed to help to prevent soil erosion. In urban environments, Trema micrantha is often used in landscaping for its look and its ability to improve air quality by absorbing pollutants.
Science Alert reports that the results have not yet been published. Neto now plans to ramp up the study to better identify the best methods to extract “CBD” from the plant and analyze its effectiveness in patients with conditions currently treated with medical cannabis.
A New Source of CBD?
The plant could prove to be a new source of CBD in a massive global market.
Neto’s team recently won a 500,000 real ($104,000 USD) grant from the Brazilian government to fund the research, which he estimates will take a minimum of five years to complete.
Considering the explosion of the CBD market, it’s a new avenue worth exploring.
The global CBD market was valued at $4.9 billion USD in 2021 and is projected to reach a value of $47.22 billion USD by 2028 at a CAGR of 21.20% over the forecast period.
The CBD market is expected to grow tremendously as consumer awareness of health and fitness increases.
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