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Italian Researchers Find Cannabinoid That May Be 30 Times Stronger Than THC

Inside the discovery of a potent new compound called THCP.

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Mama Mia! 

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Researchers in Italy say they have discovered a compound in cannabis that is even stronger than THC. This new natural phytocannabinoid has been called tetrahydrocannabiphorol or THCP.

The study was released in the Journal of Nature.

The cannabis plant is known to have over 150 different known phytocannabinoids, the most well-known being THC and CBD. But scientists continue to identify and isolate other cannabinoids including CBG and CBD, which may have other healing properties. The Italian researchers are the first to identify THCP, which they say has an even higher binding affinity for the CB1 receptor [the part of the brain responsible for weed's psychoactive effects] than THC itself.

“This means that these compounds have a higher affinity for the receptors in the human body,” Cinzia Citti, lead study author, told CNN. “In cannabis varieties where THC is present in very low concentrations, then we can think that the presence of another, more active cannabinoid can explain those effects.”

Research is still in its early stages. So far the THCP has only been tested on mice, and there's no evidence that it would have the same intoxicating effect on humans. 

But in an industry that keeps pushing the limits of potent THC, the discovery of a more powerful compound could be a major development.