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New Plant Source of CBD Found

Karyn Maier

Scientists have discovered the presence of cannabidiol, the cannabis compound dubbed CBD, in the fruits and flowers of Trema micrantha blume, a small perennial shrub native to the tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas. Also known as capulin and Jamaican nettletree, the bark of the tree has been historically used by the Otomi of Mexico to make a traditional bark paper called amate. The find offers a promising alternative to CBD derived from cannabis because the plant is void of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the compound responsible for the euphoric effects.

Although the actions of CBD continue to be studies, the use of this substance in treating anxiety, chronic pain, epilepsy and other conditions, has become a popular alternative to pharmaceutical drugs, which can produce adverse side effects. However, the lack of THC suggests that CBD extracts obtained from "Trema" would not face the same legal and regulatory restrictions that cannabis does in many countries. It's also more economical to process CBD from this plant than it is from cannabis, and it grows readily in nature throughout South America, especially in Brazil. The plant is also found in central and southern Florida and the Florida Keys.

The research team has been awarded a grant from the government of Brazil to further study the optimal extraction methods of CBD from this plant and compare its efficacy in countering conditions patients currently treat with CBD from cannabis. The scientists expect to publish the results when the study is complete, which they estimate will take five years.


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