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Cannabinoid and Terpene Biosynthesis in Cannabis
Per Booth & Bohlmann, 2019 (University of British Columbia) in Terpenes in Cannabis sativa from Plant Genome to Humans the majority of terpenes found in Cannabis are simple hydrocarbons that are the direct products of Terpene synthase (TPS) enzymes.
The genus Cannabaceae encompasses a very large pool of genetic diversity within the Rosales family of flowering plants and trees. As a result, very few of the modern strains resulting from breeding crosses within the Cannabis sativa L. species are homozygous. The reader may, therefore, expect a high level of heterozygosity and genetic admixture when studying the Cannabis plant empirically.
Schematic of Terpene and Cannabinoid Biosynthesis in Cannabis from Booth & Bohlmann, 2019.
Follow along with the above diagram ...
- Two, five-carbon, or 5-Carbon (5-C) isoprenoid type biological building blocks are condensed to form Geranyl diphosphate (GPP, Carbon 10) and Farnesyl diphosphate (FPP, Carbon 15) in unequal amounts.
Note. The two, five-carbon, or 5-Carbon (5-C) isoprenoid type biological building blocks are:
- dimethylallyl diphosphate (DMAPP), and
- isopententyl diphosphate (IPP)
- Geranyl diphosphate (GPP) and Farnesyl diphosphate (FPP) in unequal amounts are then separately converted by Terpene synthases (TPS-mono, TPS-sesqui) into several types of terpenes, mainly Mono-terpenes (M) and Sesqui-terpenes (S) respectively as shown here.
- Further, Aromatic prenyltransferases (aPTs) then condense Olivetolic acid (Oa) along with whatever Geranyl diphosphate (GPP) remains from the above Terpene synthesis to form Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) which is then cyclized (1) by several Cannabinoid synthases to produce the Cannabinoids (C) of the plant.
- For example, Tetra-hydro-cannabinolic acid synthase (THCAS) produces carboxylated Tetra-hydro-cannabinolic acid (THCA).
- Then, when a molecule of Tetra-hydro-cannabinolic acid (THCA) is heated or smoked as part of your plant matter ritual, a carbon atom is de-carboxylated from the molecule to form Delta-9 Tetra-hydro-cannabinol (THC), the main ingredient of your "highness" along with its accompanying entourage of Terpenes and other Cannabinoids.
- Cannabinoids produced by the plant are:
- Canna-bi-gerolic acid (C1),
- Canna-bi-chromenic acid (C2),
- Canna-bi-diolic acid (C3), and
- Tetra-hydro-cannabinolic acid (C4).
- Mono-terpenes produced by the plant are:
- Beta-β-pinene (M1),
- Alpha-α-pinene (M2),
- Beta-β-thujone (M3),
- Three-3-carene (M4),
- Terpinolene (M5),
- Limonene (M6),
- Terpineol (M7),
- One and/or eight-1,8-cineole (M8),
- Alpha-α-terpinene (M9),
- Linalool (M10),
- Myrcene (M11), and
- (Z)-Beta-β-ocimene (M12).
- Sesqui-terpenes produced by the plant are:
- Alpha-α-elemol (S1),
- (E)-Beta-β-farnesol (S2),
- (E)-Beta-β-farnesene (S3),
- Bisabolol (S4),
- (+)-Alpha-α-bergamotene (S5),
- Delta-δ-cadinene (S6),
- Gamma-γ-eudesmol (S7),
- Valencene (S8),
- Eremophilene (S9),
- Beta-β-himachalene (S10),
- Alpha-α-guaiene (S11),
- Germacrene-D (S12),
- Alloaromadendrene (S13), and
- Beta-β-caryophyllene (S14),
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