Scientists Discover Cannabinoids in Common Plant in Brazil

  • Updated November 2, 2023

  • Published November 2, 2023

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Scientists Discover Cannabinoids in Common Plant in Brazil

Scientists at the University of Rio de Janeiro have found CBD (cannabidiol) in a common plant that grows across Brazil. The Trema micrantha blume plant is a shrub that people consider a weed. CBD was discovered in the plant, but researchers did not find THC.

THC is illegal in Brazil, but CBD use is allowed by the Brazilian government. CBD was found in the fruits and flowers of the Trema plant, so this discovery suggests that CBD may be found in other plants besides the cannabis plant. Since CBD is legal in many places, finding CBD in Trema and other plants means there are less likely to be legal challenges as long as the cannabinoid is not THC.

Molecular biologist Rodrigo Moura Neto has a 10-member team that won a $104,000 grant to expand his ongoing research on CBD. The expanded effort includes identifying the best way to extract CBD from the Trema micrantha blume plant, followed by studying the new source of CBD as a substitute for medical marijuana.

This is a 5-year project with enormous implications as the CBD global market grows. Vantage Market Research projects a global CBD market of $47 billion by 2028, a significant increase from the current $5 billion market.

CBD users say they are using the cannabinoid for a variety of reasons. Biologist Neto said,

“It’s a legal alternative to using cannabis. This is a plant that grows all over Brazil. It would be a simpler and cheaper source of cannabidiol.”

Neto noted that a previous research project found CBD in a plant in Thailand. The implication is that CBD is likely present in many plants. As a natural compound, this could support expanded CBD use and potentially lower product costs in the future. CBD producers could still see revenue growth through expanded markets.

Though much more research is needed, CBD potentially offers people suffering from a variety of health conditions and using the psychoactive THC as an alternative source of relief. There are also millions of people not using any cannabinoid for health reasons due to lack of access to products or because they are waiting for more research to be conducted. CBD is non-psychoactive, so many countries that consider THC illegal may allow CBD. This would give more people access to a natural compound that may provide them much-needed relief.


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