During a recent study, scientists found a chemical compound within liverwort that has the same pain and inflammation relieving properties that marijuana has. And all that comes without the high that accompanies consuming THC-rich marijuana.
The chemical compound in question is called perrotetinene. This molecule has a very similar molecular structure to tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC. The interesting part is that the perrotetinene also attaches itself to the same receptors in the human brain as THC. These receptors are known as cannabinoid receptors, and when attached to either perrotetinene or tetrahydrocannabinol, they dampen the effects of pain signals.
The perrotetinene had been previously discovered by Japanese researchers back in 1994, but the revelation that they contain a psychoactive cannabinoid compound came only recently. Until this discovery, scientists were convinced that the only plant that produces these compounds is cannabis.
Of all the species around the world, only three have been found to contain/produce this compound. These three species can be located in Costa Rica, Japan, New Zealand, and Tasmania. Due to the fact that liverwort plants produce so little of the compound is probably why scientists made this discovery just now.
As soon as they mapped the molecular structure of perrotetinene, scientists were able to produce a synthetic version. When this was done, testing on mice commenced. During testing, perrotetinene showed lower levels of psychoactivity than THC. Scientists concluded that the compound from liverwort also had fewer adverse effects on the brain and body of the mice, in contrast to THC.
As we all know, cannabinoids have a wide range of uses. Medicinal marijuana is becoming more and more popular. The scientists hope that with the discovery of perrotetinene, pharmaceutical companies may be able to create substances that could replace marijuana which is still considered an illegal narcotic in America.