Chemical Found In Cannabis Is 30 x Stronger Than Aspirin



Once dismissed by DEA and Lawmakers as a purely recreational drug, marijuana, and hemp starting to show it’s real medical potential, especially when it comes to helping patients get pain relief. New research in the journal Phytochemistry suggests that this chemical comes from some lesser-known chemicals in cannabis and has great potential to form the basis for nonaddictive pain relievers in the near future.

In a research paper published in the journal’s August issue, researchers at the University of Guelph located in Ontario Canada showed how the Cannabis sativa L plant produces two molecules, cannflavin A and cannflavin B, that was shown in 1985 to be approximately 30 times more effective than aspirin by weight at reducing inflammation in cell models.

“There is a great a need to develop different alternatives for relief of acute and chronic pain that go above and beyond opioids,” Tariq Akhtar, Ph.D., the study’s corresponding author and an assistant professor of cellular and molecular cellular biology, said. “These chemicals  are non-psychoactive just like CBD and they target the inflammation at the target source, making them ideal for use as  painkillers.”

CBD Products

Even for those who are well acquainted with the landscape of cannabis science including CBD Cream and CBD, cannflavin A and cannflavin B, which belong to the flavonoid family, maybe unfamiliar names. This is the reason why many medical patients prefer Full Spectrum CBD products because they contain both the flavonoids and the terpenoids of the hemp plant.

In the research study, the team scientifically examined the biochemistry and genome of marijuana to identify the genes responsible for producing the two cannflavins as well as the chain of chemical reactions that produce them. This is the first time that this biological process has been documented for these supporting actors in the cannabis repertoire.

Akhtar and his research team hope this will help scientists develop alternatives to opioids for patients living with either acute or chronic pain, not by interacting with the brain’s opioid receptors but by minimizing inflammation at the site of pain.

CBD and THC get a lot of attention, but cannflavin A and cannflavin B may be the next big steps for medical cannabis research.
“What’s interesting about the molecules in marijuana is that they actually stop inflammation at the source,” Akhtar told The Toronto Star on Tuesday. “And most organic products don’t have the toxicity that is linked with over-the-counter pain relief drugs, which, even though they are considered very effective, do come with health risks. So, looking at natural products as an alternative is a very attractive research model.”

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For the current time, most scientific and popular attention goes to Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), two of the more abundant active molecules in marijuana by volume. Known for its psychoactive high properties, THC can help treat chronic pain. CBD, meanwhile, is the active ingredient in Epidiolex, the first FDA-approved Hemp-based medicine for childhood seizure disorders, but its long-term side effects have not been mapped out yet.

If they can figure out how synthesized in large enough quantities, cannflavin A and B could become just as well known as THC and CBD. Akhtar and several of his co-authors have applied for a US patent for the eventual results of this research, so given the thorny regulatory landscape of CBD, they may eventually cash in on a new class of cannabis-derived products that aren’t hampered by federal laws associated with the drug.

Abstract: In addition to the psychoactive ingredient that is typically associated with Cannabis Sativa L., there exist a number of other specialized metabolites in this plant that are believed to contribute to its medicinal versatility. This particular research study focused on two such compounds, known as cannflavin A and cannflavin B. These prenylated flavonoids specifically accumulate in Sativa and are known to produce potent anti-inflammatory activity in various animal cell molecules. However, almost nothing is known about the biosynthesis properties of the compound. Using a combination of biochemical and phylogenomic approaches, an aromatic prenyltransferase from Sativa (CsPT3) was identified that catalyzes the regiospecific addition of both geranyl diphosphate (GPP) or dimethylallyl diphosphate (DMAPP) to the methylated flavone, chrysoberyl, to produce cannflavins A and B. Further research evidence is presented for an O-methyltransferase (CsOMT21) encoded within the Sativa genome that specifically converts the widespread plant flavone known as luteolin to chrysoberyl, both of which accumulate in Sativa. These results, therefore, imply the following reaction sequence for cannflavins A and B biosynthesis: luteolin ► chrysoberyl ► cannflavin A and cannflavin B. Taken together, the identification of these two unique enzymes represents a branch point from the general flavonoid pathway in C. Sativa and offer a tractable route towards metabolic engineering strategies that are designed to produce these two medicinally relevant Cannabis compounds.
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