Liverwort is a moss with several genera, and recently, one such genus, Radula, was discovered to produce a chemical called perrottetinene (PET) that is similar to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
This isn’t the first discovery of PET—that goes to Japanese phytochemist Yoshinori Asakawa in 1994. However, this is the first time that the similarities between PET and THC have been studied and explored.
Similarities of PET and THC
Researchers found that synthesized forms of PET bound to the same brain receptors as THC and activated cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. However, PET was observed to be less potent than THC with much weaker psychoactive potential. Regardless, researchers noted similar effects to THC when tested on mice, such as lowered body temperature and slower movements.
They also found that PET helped reduce inflammation on molecules known as prostaglandins (which THC does not affect). In fact, researchers see potential for PET to be more effective at combating inflammation than the cannabinoids in cannabis.
In an article for Scientific American, researcher Michael Schafroth stated, “These prostaglandins are involved in many processes (such as) memory loss, neuroinflammation, hair loss and vasoconstriction. [PET is] highly interesting for medicinal applications, as we can expect fewer adverse effects while still having pharmacologically important effects.”
As a result, current research suggests the moss will be far more popular with medicinal users than recreational.
The Future of Plant Based Medicine
Director of Research and Development for International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute (ICCI) and neurologist, Ethan Russo, explained in an article for Forbes that, “perrottetinene differs from THC in a key way that makes it potentially useful medically, in that it reduces levels of prostaglandins D2 and E2 in the brain without producing COX inhibition, and thus may provide an effective anti-inflammatory and pain killer with a low risk