Scientists Discover CBD in Jamaican Nettletree

  • Updated December 6, 2023

  • Published December 6, 2023

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Scientists Discover CBD in Jamaican Nettletree

Scientists have once again discovered CBD in a plant that is not the marijuana plant. Brazilian scientists found cannabidiol (CBD) in Trema micranthum, the common name being Jamaican nettletree. The evergreen shrub belongs to the Cannabaceae plant family which has 170 species and 11 genera. Cannabis sativa, which is the marijuana plant, is one genus. The new discovery of CBD in the evergreen shrub’s fruits and flowers is important because T. micranthum does not contain THC, meaning it could become a new and significant CBD source.

First reported by the Agence France-Presse, Moura Neto and his team have not published their findings yet, but they have received a public grant to continue the project. The grant money will support research into the best way to extract CBD from T. micranthum and testing of the CBD extraction to determine if it could be substituted for medical marijuana. Questions remain about the amount of CBD that can be obtained from the Jamaican nettletree.

Rodrigo Moura Neto, a molecular biologist at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro who led the recent research, said,

“It was wonderful to find a plant (with CBD but) without THC because you avoid all the mess around psychotropic [psychoactive] substances.”

The reaction of the scientific community is cautious excitement.

Dr. Simon Erridge, the head of research at Sapphire Medical Clinics in the U.K., who was not involved in the new discovery, said in an email, “As we continue to see more patients prescribed medical cannabis for chronic health problems in the U.K. and internationally, it is promising to see novel approaches to the production of cannabidiol and other cannabinoids.”

If the Trema micranthum plant has CBD and no THC, many other plants in the Cannabaceae plant family could become a source of CBD. Though CBD is legal, there is still the issue of how much THC is in the plant used for CBD extraction. The presence of THC in the CBD source plants adds complexity to the CBD extraction process since it cannot exceed 0.3% in the hemp plant and final CBD products.

Sourcing CBD from plants without THC could eventually have a ripple effect. They include lowering prices and encouraging more research into the potential benefits of CBD as a therapeutic compound.


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