By Vanessa Salvia

Scientists have found cannabis compounds inside a plant, called Trema micrantha blume, a shrub which is so widespread across Brazil that it is often considered a weed. Cannabidiol, the compound that we commonly call CBD, has been identified in this common plant. Molecular biologist Rodrigo Moura Neto of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro said that the plant also contains THC. The discovery means that cannabis may no longer be the only source for CBD, which has become so popular it is used in numerous products. A new source of THC could mean a new frontier without the legal and regulatory obstacles faced by cannabis, which is still outlawed in Brazil as well as many other countries around the world. “It’s a legal alternative to using cannabis,” Neto said on the website ScienceAlert. “This is a plant that grows all over Brazil. It would be a simpler and cheaper source of cannabidiol.” CBD was also found in a related plant in Thailand, the Trema orientalis (L.) blume. Neto now plans to study how to extract CBD from the Trema as well as study how its effectiveness compares to medical issues currently being treated with medical cannabis.