A review of delta 9 Tetra Hydro Cannabinol (THC) Accumulation in the Glands of Cannabaceae by Robert Hempaz, PhD Trichometry™
Paul G Mahlberg, from the Dept of Biology at Indiana University located in Bloomington, Indiana USA and Eun Soo Kim, from the Dept of Biology at Konkuk University located in Seoul, South Korea team'd up in the laboratory to bring us the following timeless elucidation of the classical pathway to bio synthesis of delta 9 Tetra Hydro Cannabinol (THC) (2001).
In this study we will examine two types of glands active in both male and female cannabinoid secretion on Cannabis plants above the abscission zone of the several glands emanating from the leaves, stalks, bracts and flowers, namely the 'Capitate sessile' and 'Capitate stalked' forms of the resident trichomes.
'Capitate sessile' glands are most common on stems, leaves and bracts while 'Capitate stalked' glands develops only after flower formation.
'Capitate stalked' glands are found especially on the bracts subtending a flower and the seed.
Both types of glands are present on the bracts subtending the seed, but some factor that stimulates the flowering process also stimulates development of the stalk related to this gland.
We hypothesize, therefore, that the 'Capitate stalked' glands have evolved from the 'Capitate sessile' glandular type.
And in our observations, we found the 'Capitate stalked' version of the gland to contain greater quantities of (THC) than the 'Capitate sessile' version of the gland.
Cannabinoids are dimers formed by the chemical condensation of terpene and phenol precursors.
Delta 9 tetra hydro cannabinol (THC) is one of the many cannabinoids of the Cannabis plant derived from canna bidiol (CBD) which in turn is derived from Canna bigerol (CBG) which in turn is derived from both the terpene and the phenol precursor components manufactured and then condensed from within the Cannabis plant.
In addition to canna bidiol (CBD), the cannabinoid genesis pathway also produces canna bichromene (CBC) and the 66 or so other minor cannabinoids, in various degrees of concentration, including nil.
For example, another cannabinoid, canna binol (CBN), is formed from the resultant (THC) molecule and can be detected in various degrees, including nil, in other Cannabaceae family strains.
To start the process, a phenol glucoside is transported into a resident disc cell primarily located in the bracts and flowers of the female bud.
The glucoside is then stored as a free phenol in the vacuole of the disc cell.
Terpene is next or simultaneously, or pre-synthesized by the specialized plastid lipo-plast in the same or other disc cell(s).
These two precursors compounds, terpene and phenol react with oxygen to form cannabinoids at either the plasma membrane surface loci or from within the cell wall loci.
Whereupon when finished, but not yet 'cured', the cannabinoids miraculously appear in the secretory cavity of the bulbous trichomes.
The abundant secretory activity of the disc cell plastids, and knowledge that this organelle does synthesize terpenes suggests that the disc cell plastids do indeed contribute the terpene components to the process.
Our detection in previous studies, of abundant levels of phenol in whole glands, and our knowledge that phenols accumulate in vacuoles of cells, suggests that this cell feature may contribute the phenol component.
Phenols are then transported in the plant as glycosides, and when becoming localized in a cell vacuole, they accumulate upon dissociation of the sugar moiety.
The sugar moiety then returns to the cell cytoplasm for future use via enzymatic degradation.
We hypothesize that terpenes and phenols, when released from their respective sources, accumulate at the plasma membrane and at the cell wall interphase where other enzyme(s) dimerize these compounds into cannabinoids.
It is, therefore, necessary to determine the enzyme, or enzymes involved in the cannabinoid synthesis process, as well.
Such an enzyme, when available, can be prepared as an antibody probe that can then be used to identify more precisely the loci of cannabinoid synthesis.
Trichome glands represent unique structures, and can be utilized to broaden our understanding of cannabinoid synthesis and to aid in our effort to reduce the cannabinoid content of certain strains of Cannabaceae for use in the production of industrial hemp.
The medicinal value of the plant, though controversial and currently regulated, is not needed to harvest the fibers from the exteriors of the long stalks of the Cannabis plant.
We note that (THC) does indeed accumulate in abundance in the secretory cavity where the cannabinoid is associated with a.) the cell walls, b.) the surface feature of secretory vesicles, c.) the fibrillar material released from disc cell wall, or d.) the cuticle.
However, in our study, (THC) was not associated with the cytoplasm of the secretory vesicles.
The association of (THC) with structural components, particularly the cell wall, the fibrillar matrix and the surface feature of vesicles suggests that (THC) may be chemically bound to the locations cited rather than being processed free within the cavity of the secretory vesicles.
If (THC) and the other cannabinoids are bound to components in the cavity, then the presence of (THC) and the other cannabinoids and their movement may require a source of energy in the cavity.
Additional studies are necessary to determine the bound or free status of the cannabinoids within the secretory vesicles.
Little or no (THC) was detected in the cytoplasm of the disc cells.
This fact suggests that the terpene and phenol precursors, which must occur in the disc cells at some interval, may actually form the cannabinoids at the surface of the plasma membrane, or in the cell wall facing the secretory cavity.
Also, from our study, we find some (THC) was also present in the cell walls of other cells.
Genes for cannabinoid synthesis are present in all of the cells of the plant, but tissues other than the two types of glands shown produce low levels to nil of all of the various cannabinoid compounds.
Therefore, a 'glandless' mutant would most likely serve our aim to reduce the (THC) concentration of the Cannabis plant for specialized utilization of such strains in the fiber production of the hemp industry.
Keywords and Keyword Phrases: Cannabaceae, delta 9 hydro cannabinol, thc, trichometry, hempaz, Paul Mahlberg, biology, Indiana University, Eun Soo Kim, Konkuk University, biosynthesis, capitate sessile, capitate stalked, trichomes, leaves, bracts, flowers, seeds, dimers, terpenes, phenols, cbd, cbg, cbc, cbn, glucosides, disc cells, vacuoles, lipoplasts, sugar moiety, cytoplasm, cannabinoid synthesis, industrial hemp, fibrillar matrix, plasma membrane, secretory cavities, genes, glandless mutants
Mahlberg, P. G., & Kim, E. S. (2001, December 31). delta 9 Tetra Hydro Cannabinol (THC) Accumulation in the Glands of Cannabaceae (canna-bah′-sea-hey). The Hemp Report. Retrieved September 11, 2012, from http://www.hempreport.com/issues/17/malbody17.html