A cannabis pharmaceutical consortium says it has discovered a strain of cannabis that produces useful levels of a rare cannabinoid that may help in the treatment of diabetes, Mercury News reports.
Tetrahydrocannabivarin, or THCV, is a cannabinoid found only in tiny amounts in most cannabis strains. The strain known as “Black Beauty,” however, appears to contain an abundance of the cannabinoid. Black Beauty is so named for its leaves, which are typically darker than other medical cannabis strains. There exists evidence, including a study published in the scientific journal Nature, demonstrating that THCV is uniquely powerful against the symptoms of diabetes.
The Black Beauty strain was discovered several years ago by Marin County medical cannabis expert George Bianchini and partner Ed Rosenthal. At first, the plant was nearly discarded when lab results showed it contained little THC and no CBD. However, Black Beauty contains approximately 3.5% THCV. Rosenthal and Bianchini have been working to roll back decades of THC-focused breeding of cannabis and Black Beauty is now part of that process.
Several biotech companies have been working on implanting the genes for THCV into industrial hemp, which would enable large-scale production of the cannabinoid while circumventing federal regulations against cannabis.
Marin County-based bio-pharmaceutical company Liposome Formulations Inc. announced it will soon release a product line of THCV pills, though the pills are expected to carry a high price until the biotech companies in Marin County can successfully produce THCV with industrial hemp.
With the 2018 Farm Bill set to legalize industrial hemp this year, breeding a strain of hemp that can be produced cheaply and in large amounts with a gene for THCV could be just the ticket for diabetics.
Either way, following the discovery of several previously unknown cannabinoids earlier this year, it’s clear that medical cannabis discussion and research should include further experiments into the lesser-known cannabinoids.