Researchers have discovered that a compound found in certain species of moss-like plants called liverworts has properties similar to THC from cannabis. Jürg Gertsch of the University of Bern in Switzerland and a team of researchers recently published their findings in the journal Scientific Advances.
Some species in the liverwort genus Radula produce a substance known as perrottetinene, or PET, a chemical first discovered in 1994. Gertsch and his team have determined that PET is very similar in both structure and effect to THC.
‘Legal High’ Available Online
In their report on the study, the researchers noted that one species of the plant native to New Zealand and Tasmania, R. marginata, was being collected in the wild and dried for sale on the internet as a legal high. The team was able to obtain samples of the plant for their research from incense sellers, Gertsch reported.
Daniele Piomelli is a professor of anatomy and neurobiology at the University of California, Irvine, who was not involved in the study. He applauded the team’s work in an interview with Scientific American.
“Curiosity-driven research can lead to interesting results,” said Piomelli. “This is solid work, very credible, showing that this type of liverwort contains compounds that are akin both in