An intriguing discovery has been made by researchers who found cannabidiol (CBD), a compound traditionally associated with cannabis, in a common plant from Brazil, suggests a new pathway to mass-produce this increasingly sought-after substance, announced the project’s lead investigator.
The compound CBD was located within the fruits and blossoms of Trema micrantha blume, a type of shrub widespread throughout a significant portion of Brazil.
Often dismissed as a weed, this plant was the focus of a study led by molecular biologist Rodrigo Moura Neto from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, as reported to AFP.
CBD, frequently utilized for the management of conditions such as epilepsy, chronic pain, and anxiety, is a primary active constituent of cannabis.
It shares this status with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the component responsible for inducing a high in users.
The potential for CBD as a medical treatment is an ongoing topic of research.
Neto revealed that chemical tests indicated that Trema houses CBD but lacks THC. This indicates a promising, plentiful new source of CBD, one devoid of the legal and regulatory obstacles associated with cannabis, which is still illegal in numerous regions, including Brazil.
Neto commented, “This provides a lawful alternative to cannabis use.” He added, “This is a plant that thrives across Brazil, presenting a more straightforward and cost-effective means of obtaining cannabidiol.”
Neto mentioned that CBD had been previously identified in a similar plant native to Thailand.
Not having published his findings yet, Neto aims to expand his research to determine optimal CBD extraction methods from Trema and assess its effectiveness in patients currently receiving medical cannabis treatment.
His research group was recently awarded a 500,000-real (US$104,000) grant by the Brazilian government to support this investigation, which Neto anticipates will need at least half a decade to finalize.
Vantage Market Research, a market analysis company, conducted a study last year estimating the worldwide market for CBD to be almost US$5 billion.
Their projections suggest that by 2028, this market could expand to over US$47 billion, primarily driven by health and wellness applications.