Were you aware that CBD and THC once didn’t coexist in cannabis?
According to this research study, age-old viruses are responsible for potentially immigrating these two wildly known compounds into what we know today. These viruses accelerated an evolutionary process and changed it’s entire DNA. Pretty interesting.
Tim Hughes, a professor of molecular genetics at the University of Toronto states, “The proteins (for THC and CBD) are embedded in this huge mess of virus-like sequences. One thing that these sequences are known for is facilitating the rearrangement of the chromosome, and they’re actually a bit dangerous in that way.”
He believes these viruses are responsible for single-handedly changing a single enzyme gene in cannabis that evidently mutated the two, giving us THC and CBD. “It’s easy to imagine that, over a long timescale, this process has happened over and over again in this part of the chromosome where these two enzymes are,” he said.
This led to cannabis dividing itself into chemically distinct types, which then humans selected for the cannabinoids desired characteristics. THC which is known for its psychoactive effects offers many pain-relieving properties such as treating headaches to the pain of childbirth. CBD, on the other hand, has quickly become a hip ingredient used in everything from food to cosmetics.
We understandably aren’t sure what cannabis was like before these viruses took hold but according to Hugh, some of it’s closest relatives include plants like mulberry and hops.