A new study revealed that a chemical in cannabis, called cannabimovone or CBM, could pave the way for new therapies to treat metabolic disorders, eating disorders and diabetes. CBM is found in hemp, especially in a variety known as “Carmagnola”. This is the name of a small Italian village in Piedmont, near Turin, historically specialized in weaving hemp for the manufacture of ropes, sails, nets or marine clothing.
First of all, you’ve probably never heard of it. It’s not as well-known as, for example, THC or CBD, but it may prove as medically valuable as the most popular compounds in cannabis. CBM shares some chemical similarities with CBD and THC. However, since the first published studies on it appeared only in the 2000s, scientists now are just barely starting to unveil its mysteries.
The latest research, published in the March 2020 edition of Molecules, carried out two series of tests on this cannabinoid. The first used 3D-modeling to see if CBM has the capacity to connect to receptors in the human body. And, in fact, it does: CBM binds to two important types of receptors known as PPARα and PPARγ (PPAR stands for “peroxisome proliferator- activated receptor”) and partially activates them. These two receptors control the genes responsible for creating cells in our major organs – such as the heart, liver, kidneys, muscles, colon, pancreas and spleen – as well as our hormone-regulating fatty tissue. These receptors also regulate our metabolism and are involved in the formation of certain cancers. The second part of the molecular study aimed to see if methylmercury really does bind to these receptors. 3D-modeling can often predict chemical bonding, but it cannot really show whether the bonding occurs in the real world. And guess what? The researchers found that, yes, CBM can bind PPARα and PPARγ and partially activate both types of receptors, not only in a 3D-modeled experiment, but also in the real world!
For the time being, it seems that CBM comes mainly from the hemp variety Carmagnole, although it is very likely that this cannabinoid is also produced in other cultivars. Growing Carmagnola is probably not profitable, especially considering hemp naturally produces this cannabinoid in small amounts. Instead, breeders could perform line breeding or back-crossing processes with Carmagnola, in order to create new strains that contain larger amounts of CBM.
“Overall, these findings support CBM as a new bioactive compound potentially useful for the treatment of insulin resistance disorders,” the researchers wrote. They continue to say that CBM can “increase insulin signaling, paving the way for other… studies to assess the suitability of CBM as an anti-diabetic and an insulin-sensitizing drug, opening up new therapeutic alternatives for patients who are not yet receiving effective and safe long-term treatment. Basically, researchers suggest that diseases such as diabetes could be treated with new cannabinoid formulations such as CBM, THC, CBD, THCV or other cannabinoids that regulate the metabolism or activity of insulin.