Getting High on Liverwort

Discoveries come from the oddest places. Having noted a growing number of internet claims for a legal high from liverwort, researchers overturn a long held belief that only marijuana produced a THC type substance that would trigger CB receptors and psychoactive effects.  Don’t get too excited as the effect is less than your usual THC and many internet reports downplay the euphoria experienced with this newly discovered substance called perrottetinene (cis-Pet).  But do get excited that like THC, cis-PET, lowers inflammation in the brain.

With all the recent studies implicating brain inflammation in various diseases from Alzheimer’s to depression and anxiety, finding a brain active anti-inflammatory agent would be a boon to treating these debilitating diseases.  While the psychoactive effect falters in strength compared to THC, the anti-inflammatory effect may surpass THC. By downregulating prostaglandain D2 and E2 production (key chemical messengers participating in the inflammatory cascade) without shutting off COX-2 (involved with pain, but when completely de-activated, leads to negative cardiovascular consequences), cis-PET may serve as at least a starting point for new brain anti-inflammatory therapies.

This new chemical initially appears very structurally similar to THC, yet how the atoms are folded and the addition of an extra ring structure make it both structurally and functionally different.  Coinciding with these findings, researchers developed means of producing these types of chemicals and modulating how they are folded.  With further research, the potential for clinical applications should follow this cis-PET or modifications of it.

As we at Sanctuary wait for further advances, we target brain inflammation with an armamentarium of other anti-inflammatories in patients with brain related disorders.  Helping patients live healthier more abundant lives can’t wait on the next big research finding.  Low inflammatory diets, fish oils, anti-oxidants and natural anti-inflammatories like curcumin already benefit our patients on a daily basis.  These already have studies and clinical experience supporting their use.


Chicca, M. A. Schafroth, I. Reynoso-Moreno, R. Erni, V. Petrucci, E. M. Carreira, J. Gertsch. Uncovering the psychoactivity of a cannabinoid from liverworts associated with a legal high. Science Advances, 2018; 4 (10): eaat2166 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat2166

Thanks to Science Daily

University of Bern. “Liverwort could prove to be more medically effective than cannabis, research suggests.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 October 2018. <>.


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