A group of researchers at the University of Guelph has uncovered how the cannabis plant synthesizes pain-relieving flavonoids- Cannflavin A and Cannflavin B.
The aforementioned flavonoids and its anti-inflammatory properties were first identified in the year 1985. It was found that the compounds were 30 times more effective gram-for-gram than acetylsalicylic acid, commonly known as Aspirin. However, further research couldn’t be carried out on the topic because of the cumbersome federal regulations.
The researchers used a combination of genomics and biochemistry to find out how these flavonoids are made. “Our objective was to better understand how these molecules are made, which is a relatively straightforward exercise in today’s time,” said Prof. Tariq Akhtar, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. “A number of sequenced genomes are publicly available these days, including the genome of Cannabis sativa, which can be mined for information. If you know what you’re looking for, one can bring genes to life, so to speak, and determine how compounds like Cannflavins A and B are assembled.”
Using modern-day biochemistry techniques and the genomic data at their disposal, the researchers found the genes required to make Cannaflavins A and B. You can read the complete findings at Journal Phytochemistry.
Quite positive that the findings can help develop non-psychoactive, safe and effective medicines — which will serve as a great alternative to addictive opioids — the researchers have teamed up with a Toronto-based pharmaceutical company named Anahit International.
“The issue with these molecules is that they are present in cannabis in minute quantities, so it’s not feasible to engineer the marijuana plant to create more of these substances,” said Rothstein. “We are now trying to develop a biological system to create these molecules, which could later be engineered into large quantities.”
Reportedly, Anahit would look to commercialize the application of Cannflavin A and B via a variety of medical and athletic products such as pills, creams, sports drinks and transdermal patches.