People have been drinking cannabis for thousands of years, but scientists are still mostly in the dark about the devil's green salad. Thanks to the new research, we now have a potential answer to one of the persistent mysteries of pottery science: why weeds have special chemical compounds that affect people and do not have other plants?
I am speaking, of course, for THC and CBD, compounds known as cannabinoids found in cannabis and have different effects on humans. THC is known as the main psychoactive component of cannabis (ie, Become High), and the CBD has recently become a modern ingredient in everything from drink to cosmetics.
According to a study published in the November issue Genome research, these two different compounds did not always exist in a plant that we now call cannabis. According to the study, millions of years ago, ancient viruses may have colonized the genome of plants and accelerated the evolutionary process that changed his DNA and gave us THC and CBD.
"Proteins [for THC and CBD] are embedded in this huge mess of viral sequences, "said Tim Hughes, a professor of molecular genetics at the University of Toronto, and a co-author of the study on the phone." One thing that these sequences are known to facilitate is the chromosome rearrangement, and in this way are actually a little dangerous ".
According to Husse, these viruses could accelerate the evolutionary process that resulted in the unit enzyme gene in cannabis mutating at two, possibly giving us THC and CBD. "It's easy to imagine that over the long period of time this process has occurred over and over again in this part of the chromosomes where these two enzymes are," he said.
This change led to the ancient cannabis being separated into chemically distinct species, and people were then selected for plants with desired characteristics, such as a high THC, according to a press release for the study.
It's hard to say what channel it was before ancient viruses helped develop the qualities we know today, but according to Husse, some of the closest relatives are harmless plants such as mulberry and hops.
Read more: Canadian researchers have advocated access to legal weed
The discovery that ancient viruses are likely to cause people to burn some cannabis to exhaust, is a byproduct of Hughes and his research colleagues, which represents the first complete map of cannabis genome that is published academically. In February, Sunrise Genetics released a map of the cannabis gene at the conference, but did not publish the newspaper, saying it would publicly share the job "in less than a year." Hughes and his colleagues published a draft of cannabis genome in 2011, but it was not detailed enough to detect the position of the gene on the chromosome.
Such maps are essential for improving our poor understanding of the cannabis plant. Hughes and the map of his colleagues are already paying dividends other than revealing the possible role of the virus in the production of THC and CBD. According to the research, they also identified a gene responsible for the production of a third cannabinoid called CBC.
And there is a lot of left to learn about a plant that many people consume regularly, but science has yet to fully understand. It is great, according to Hughes, to use THC and CBD for the hemp plant itself, assuming that these compounds developed long before humans passed the Earth. "It's only by chance that they have these effects on people," said Hughes.
We could soon see more studies studying the basic unknown ways of rope science thanks to a new wave of research that is due to the legalization of the plant in Canada. Earlier it was difficult for researchers to get their hands on the studying plant, and the money needed for their research. This changes, and in turn is our understanding of cannabis.
"It's a plant, and it's about these biochemical things, not like we do not have the ability to do all the same things we can in other plants, animals and microbes," Hughes said. "No one does it because we can not."
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