Researchers Discover Woolly Umbrella Plant Has Cannabinoids

Researchers Discover Woolly Umbrella Plant Has Cannabinoids

Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel have found that the woolly umbrella plant (Helichrysum umbraculigerum) has six of the same cannabinoids found in cannabis plants and dozens of other cannabinoids not previously identified. Only a few angiosperms, a type of flowering plant, produce cannabinoids. The researchers believe this discovery could lead to new pathways for drug discovery. The study results are published in the scientific journal Nature Plants.

The cannabis plant has over 100 cannabinoids, including the major cannabinoids THC and CBD and minor cannabinoids like CBG and CBN. The woolly umbrella plant has over 40 cannabinoids, but only six are identical to cannabis plant cannabinoids. The plant does not have THC or CBD like cannabis, but it does have CBG. CBG is called “The Mother of all Cannabinoids” because it is the precursor to all other cannabinoids. There are more than 30 new cannabinoids discovered in the woolly umbrella plant that need further research.

The woolly umbrella plant is native to South Africa and is classified as an herb. The cannabinoids are located in the herb’s leaves. This would make extracting CBG and other cannabinoids less expensive than extracting cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. This is important because it makes production more commercially viable. CBG is non-psychoactive, and various studies have found it may be therapeutic with anti-microbial properties.

Team lead Dr. Shirley Berman said,

“We have found a major new source of cannabinoids and developed tools for their sustained production, which can help explore their enormous therapeutic potential.”

The more than 30 new cannabinoids discovered in the woolly umbrella plant will be studied further for their potential therapeutic properties.

The researchers identified the biochemical process of the woolly umbrella plant that produces the cannabinoids in its leaves. They believe the process can be replicated in the lab setting. Extracting cannabinoids from the cannabis plant is an expensive process requiring many resources. Replicating and manipulating the cannabinoid biosynthesis process of the woolly umbrella plant could lead to new drug discoveries.

The ongoing research on cannabinoids demonstrates the medical community’s belief in their enormous potential for developing new therapies. Cannabinoids are natural compounds which is an added benefit.


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