Earlier this year, a study by a research team in Italy was published in Molecules. In this study, the team isolated the cannabinoid CBM, or cannabimovone. This lesser-known, non-psychoactive cannabinoid comes from a specific landrace strain of hemp called Carmagnola. (Landrace strains are strains that were cultivated in their natural habitat and not cross-bred.) Although this strain is difficult to find and cultivate, researchers have been able to synthesize CBM in a lab setting.

Using a combination of techniques (first 3D modeling, followed by physical tests on human embryonic kidney cells), these researchers found that CBM successfully engages PPARs, or peroxisome proliferation-activated receptors. These receptors play a role in fat storage and metabolism in the body, making CBM a popular candidate to target metabolic disorders in humans. These receptors are also responsible for the creation of cells in many of our major organs, as well as assisting with inflammatory and immune responses.

With this knowledge, this study shows that CBM could help cells respond better to insulin. According to the study, “CBM increased the level of insulin-mediated glucose uptake. In conclusion, our combined computational and experimental approach led to the identification and a structural and functional characterization of a novel phytocannabinoid as a PPARγ agonist able to in vitro stimulate insulin signaling, paving the way for further in vivo studies to assess the suitability of CBM as anti-diabetic and insulin-sensitizing drug, thus opening new therapeutic alternatives for those patients still not receiving an effective and safe long-term treatment.”

This rare cannabinoid could replace more risky treatments, such as thiazolidinediones or TZDs, for type-2 diabetes. When a person has type-2 diabetes, their bodies don’t use insulin properly. While adjustments to diet and exercise can help some patients, others need medication to help with their insulin uptake, some of which have debilitating side effects such as weight gain and fluid retention.

Although CBM doesn’t activate the receptors with the same potency as other medications to increase insulin uptake, researchers say that might be a good thing. Cannabimovone could provide the therapeutic increase these patients need without the negative side effects caused by other medications.

This research is only the beginning of what could prove to be another cannabinoid capable of providing relief to patients without pharmaceuticals or other harmful drugs. With further research and development, Cannabimovone might prove to be the next cannabinoid powerhouse.