Study finds marijuana-like properties in a sub-species of moss

October 26, 2018

Research fellows at the University of Bern, Switzerland recently published a study that, if proven and accepted, would change how cannabis or marijuana are classified as a psychoactive substance. The study is centered on moss-like plant liverworts and concludes that this botanical species contains some characteristics similar to THC, the major psychoactive cannabinoid present in the cannabis plant.

According to the research study, the sub-species of liverwort, Radula, produces a compound called perrottetinene (PET) which is very similar to THC with its molecular structure and effects. It is important to mention here that PET was first discovered in 1994.

To carry out their study, the researchers synthesized PET molecules from the sample key and then ran tests to find the similarities between THC and PET. It has been found out that PET also binds to the same receptors on the brain membrane and also remains inactive on the same receptors as THC.

It is already available online

Available online

Available online – Image powered by Thekindland.com

Stoners find new ways to satisfy their penchant of getting high. This enthusiasm is demonstrated by the fact that liverworts are already available online and branded as ‘legal high’. According to some reports, a specific strain of liverworts grown in New Zealand and Tasmania are sold on the internet. Like cannabis, liverworts are also dried before being used as a psychoactive substance. Since moss is not a scheduled substance, therefore its high is being called legal.

Effects on lab mice

Apart from studying the structure of the compound PET by studying its neuronal activity, the researchers have also tried to analyze its physical effects in the lab mice given the dose of liverworts. They have found that administration of PET slows down the movement of mice. Moreover, the body temperature of the mice also dropped after PET administration.

Both of these effects are pretty similar to how THC affects the body. The potency of PET, however, is lower than THC’s. Moreover, PET has also been studied to the effect the production of prostaglandins, the hormone-like lipid-based compounds. As per the study, the administration of PET in mice has resulted in attenuating the production of prostaglandins. On the other hand, the presence of THC in the system hasn’t shown any noticeable effect on how these lipid molecules react or produced.

The medicinal significance of the study

The medicinal significance of the study

The medicinal significance of the study – Image powered by Everydayhealth.com

By proving the effects of Radula’s administration on the production of prostaglandins, it is being said that the study has the potential to become a basis of further medical development. The existing body of research indicates that this active lipid and the hormone-like molecule is involved in many physiological processes like vasoconstriction and neuroinflammation.

So, this sub-species of moss has the potential to be used as a raw ingredient in the manufacturing of pharmacological products. With its lower psychoactive potency, there are good chances that it won’t face the apprehensions what THC-based medical products face. Lastly, amid the ongoing legalization movement and mainstreaming of cannabis, it will be difficult for Radula to be recognized for its psychoactive and psychedelic attributes.

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