Cannabidiol, a Compound with Multiple Benefits
Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, is widely recognised for its potential to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. It’s currently used as a dietary supplement and as an ingredient in various wellness products. Its effects are also recognised in the potential treatment of epileptic seizures associated with Lennox Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome.
- Relaxation: CBD may aid relaxing muscles and soothe nervous tension.
- Reduction of anxiety: Several studies have shown that CBD could potentially be effective in the treatment of anxiety disorders.
- Anticonvulsant: CBD has been approved by the FDA (U.S Food and Drug Administration) to treat certain forms of epilepsy that are resistant to treatment.
Discovery of CBD in a South American Plant
Until now, CBD was mainly extracted from the cannabis or hemp plant. However, Brazilian researchers have recently discovered CBD in the flowers and fruits of Trema micrantha blume, a tropical broadleaf species that is particularly widespread in South America. This discovery could pave the way for new sources of CBD and even more diverse applications.
Trema micrantha, an Alternative to Cannabis?
The Trema micrantha plant is a tropical species whose fruits and flowers contain CBD in quantities similar to those found in cannabis. Researchers have also identified other non-intoxicating cannabinoids in this plant, such as cannabinol (CBN), which naturally appears when cannabis plants age and THC breaks down.
- Alternative source of CBD: The presence of CBD in Trema micrantha could help to diversify the sources of production of this compound.
- Therapeutic potential: The presence of other cannabinoids in this plant raises questions about their therapeutic potential and their interactions with CBD.
- THC-free: Unlike cannabis, Trema micrantha does not contain THC, the psychoactive substance responsible for the "high" effect of cannabis. This characteristic could make this plant more interesting for some medical applications.
What are the implications for the CBD industry in the UK?
The discovery of CBD in Trema micrantha could have a significant impact on the CBD industry in the UK, where the cultivation of cannabis is regulated. This new source of CBD could help to meet the growing demand for this compound and to explore new therapeutic applications.
A more ecological and sustainable production?
The cultivation of Trema micrantha could offer a more ecological and sustainable alternative to the production of cannabis, which generally requires a lot of water and energy resources. In comparison, this tropical plant grows quickly and is resistant to pests, which could reduce the costs and environmental impact of its cultivation.
- Reduction of carbon footprint: The cultivation of Trema micrantha could reduce the need for energy and water compared to the cultivation of cannabis.
- Diversification of sources: Exploiting this new source of CBD could also reduce dependence on a single plant species and contribute to the diversification of supplies.
- Agronomic potential: Given its rapid growth and pest resistance, Trema micrantha could be cultivated in a variety of conditions and on different types of soil.
Regulatory issues to be clarified
The discovery of CBD in Trema micrantha also raises regulatory issues, including the classification of this plant and the authorisations required for its cultivation and exploitation. In the UK, CBD is legal to cultivate under license as long as it contains less than 0.2% THC. However, the regulation surrounding its production and marketing remains complex and varies from country to country.
In addition, the presence of other cannabinoids such as CBN in this plant could also require further studies to evaluate their therapeutic potential and their interactions with CBD. However, these regulatory and scientific challenges could be offset by the potential benefits of this new source of CBD and the prospects it opens up for the wellness and medicine industries.