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Beyond CBD and THC: Kynurenine, Kynurenic Acid and More

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If there’s one lesson from cannabis science that has influenced the popular perception of marijuana over the past decade, it’s: THC Not alone. Of course there is Convention on Biological Diversity, the ex-boyfriend is now starring in his own show. There are also terpenes which impart flavor, aroma and therapeutic effectsis increasingly used for classification and marketing Hemp flower. There are so-called “micro-cannabinoids” such as cannabitrol (CBGand cannabinolCBN), less studied and less abundant than either THC or Convention on Biological Diversity But they are increasingly common on product labels in legal markets with advanced testing requirements.

But wait, there is a lot. It seems that the longer researchers search for and urge this productive plant, the more interesting compounds they find in it. For example, a cannabis company in California and Vancouver, Canada called Juva Life recently announced its interest – and filed patent applications – in a pair of non-cannabis small molecules that it calls hollow-019 and hollow-014. Internal research suggests that these compounds may be effective as anti-inflammatory, the company has claimed press releases Since August 2021.

This work has not yet been published or peer-reviewed, but in a statement to Project Convention on Biological Diversity“Preclinical development studies to understand the pharmacology in animal models of related human diseases have begun,” a company spokesperson said, and that “once [its] IP position is safe, [the company] It will be submitted for peer review.

kynurenine & kynurenic acid

Meanwhile, researchers in Italy have reported for the first time the presence of three other interesting compounds in cannabis: tryptophan, kynurenine, and kynurenic acid. In mammals, including humans, the neuromodulator kynurenine is a metabolite of the essential amino acid tryptophan, which we cannot manufacture and must acquire through our diet. Tryptophan is also our source of serotonin, which in itself is a precursor to melatonin.

But only a small part of the tryptophan is converted into serotonin. As the researchers wrote in their paper in March 2022 in Journal of Pharmaceutical Analysis and BiomedicineAnd1 About 95 percent of it is metabolized to kynurenine. And some of this breaks down into kynurenic acid, which has gained special attention for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective activities.

Both kynurenine and kynurenic acid have previously been discovered in other plants, including pumpkin, sesame, potatoes, broccoli, honey, herbs and spices — but it is not yet known for certain how they got there, the authors wrote. While plants can synthesize tryptophan, they do not metabolize it in the same way as animals. Plants may be able to biosynthesize kynurenine and kynurenic acid in other ways, or perhaps absorb them from the soil through their roots. It is also not yet known exactly why these compounds are present in plants, but some evidence suggests that they can play a role in regulating plant growth.

Using high-performance liquid chromatography and high-resolution mass spectrometry, the study authors found tryptophan, kynurenine, and kynurenic acid throughout the cannabis plant, although usually in higher concentrations in the leaves than in the roots or stem. It is noteworthy that kynurenic acid has been detected at higher levels in cannabis in general than it has been so far in other plants, the authors wrote. Since this compound also has interesting pharmacological properties and has been proposed as a functional food additive to treat obesity and to modify the gut microbiota, these findings together put cannabis as a new and potentially ‘alternative’ source for this metabolite.

The authors concluded that, “Given the important role kynurenic acid plays in animals and humans, its accumulation in the leaves opens a new branch of cannabis chemistry that makes this plant even more attractive than it already is.”

Minor cannabis

Also using liquid chromatography coupled with high-resolution mass spectrometry, researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland have presented a new analytical method for characterizing the cannabis flower in the presence of non-called cannabinoids. THC or Convention on Biological Diversitythere may be more than 150.

“The general purpose of this study was to examine the ability of [these] Techniques for distinguishing cannabis species from one another by the small cannabis fingerprint,” the authors wrote in their April 2022 paper in the journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry.2

In other words, they sought to expand the traditional cannabis classification system based on THCConvention on Biological Diversity balance (THC– Dominant as type 1 mixed with type SecondlyAnd Convention on Biological Diversity-dominant as a species Third) to calculate the presence and relative levels of a whole host of other cannabinoids – more specifically their acidic precursors – such as Cannabielsoin Acid (CBEA), hemp acid (CBNVA), and tetrahydrocannabibutolic acid (THCBA).

To do this, they studied the chemical signatures of flower samples from 45 individual plants representing 18 different cannabinoids. They identified similarities and differences between cultivars and evaluated intra-cultivar differences in cannabis contents of plants grown and stored under similar conditions.

The paper is more a proof of concept than an attempt to codify any new categories, but the authors clearly hope it will lay the groundwork for more advanced “cannabis fingerprints” in the future. “In-depth knowledge at the product level is key to product standardization, and is key to ensuring replicable effects in humans,” they wrote.


Nate Seltenrich, a freelance science journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area, covers a wide range of topics including environmental health, neuroscience, and pharmacology.

Copyright, Project Convention on Biological Diversity. It may not be reprinted without So.


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