- PET is a psychoactive cannabinoid that’s extremely similar to THC.
- The compound has been found in liverwort Radula plant, native to Tasmania and neighbouring New Zealand.
- PET’s psychoactive properties make it attractive to recreational users.
- With medicinal properties identical to THC, PET is a great medical cannabis alternative.
- Because liverworts are legal, PET is also legal in Australia.
- Liverwort Radula can serve as a legal cannabis alternative, purchased over the counter or online without a prescription.
What is Liverwort Cannabis?
Cannabis remains illegal for recreational use in Australia, but was legalised for medical use in 2016. However, even those seeking the drug for medical purposes find it hard to get their hands on it. Recent months have seen some improvement in the Therapeutic Goods Administration though, but the prescription process is still unnecessarily slow.
For recreational users, there simply is no legal cannabis option. Synthetic alternatives have cropped up here and there, but they generally contain some unknown, harmful additives, and have some harmful effects. In fact, synthetic cannabis overdoses and deaths have become so rampant in recent years that you have to wonder why governments aren’t fighting their existence as hard as they did marijuana for decades.
That aside, there’s a fortunate alternative to cannabis now -- liverwort cannabis. The best part is that liverwort Radula is legal. The second best part is that the moss-like plant is native to Australia -- Tasmania, to be exact. In fact, there are many best parts, including the fact that liverworts contain a cannabinoid that can get you high, and also has medical benefits identical to cannabis, or even better.
Scientists choose liverwort cannabis over actual cannabis
The liverwort cannabinoid of interest is Perrottetinene (PET), a psychoactive compound that scientists describe as extremely similar to THC. PET’s molecular structure is identical to THC, albeit a minor difference at the tail end.
THC and PET molecular structures are extremely similar, and so are their effects. src
The similarities aren’t just structural -- PET can also get you high. The compound has psychoactive effects, but not as strong as THC. The PET concentration in a typical liverwort Radula dose won’t do much to knock you off your feet. You’d have to consume or smoke a whole lot of liverworts to get high.
However, the weaker psychoactive properties make liverwort a very attractive alternative to cannabis, where medical users are concerned. THC excels in four key effects when bound to the body’s CB1 receptors -- it decreases sensitivity to pain, reduces movement, reduces body temperature, as well as muscle rigidity. According to scientists, PET was found to have the same exact effects, but in even bigger amounts.
Further, where THC has been found to increase prostaglandins, causing inflammation in the brain, PET actually reduces it. This fact alone makes liverwort cannabis a better medical substance.
But if its psychoactive effects are weak, how can it be compared to cannabis?
Yes, you’d have to smoke a whole lot of liverwort Radula to get high, but that doesn’t change the fact that PET is psychoactive. In other words, enough PET can be extracted to create a potent PET concentrate with will, in fact, get you just as high as a THC-laced cannabis product.
Scientists did just this when they studies the liverwort Radula against cannabis. They gathered enough liverworts to extract and create a synthetic PET concentrate that they referred to as trans-PET. This particular compound packed a harder punch than the cis-PET found in liverworts in small amounts.
So, perhaps, we might see some highly concentrated PET products for the recreational user. However, keep in mind that such products will likely get the government involved with a slew of regulatory policies on the liverwort plan. Hence, maybe keeping liverwort cannabis as it currently is might be a great idea.
How does Liverwort Cannabis fit in with other non-cannabis derived products?
The legal landscape surrounding cannabis has sparked the recent search for alternatives. Liverwort cannabis isn’t the only cannabis alternative -- Citrus CBD and Lichen CBD have also been uncovered.
While liverwort Radula contain PET as a THC alternative, citrus and lichen contain CBD (cannabidiol) that is identical to the cannabis-based CBD.
Citrus CBD is extracted from citrus by-products such as orange peels, along with an invasive evergreen species found in South Asia. Lichen CBD is extracted from lichen, that fungi-algae plant you see growing on trees and walls in damp, shaded places.
Both citrus and lichen CBD have some positives over cannabis-based CBD. For example:
- They are 100% THC-free
- Their extracted compounds contain a consistent amount of CBD, at least 99.7%.
- The extraction process isn’t as complicated as cannabis-based CBD, generally requiring only time, pressure, and heat to isolate the compound.
- They are water-soluble, making them ideal for beverage companies targeting the CBD market.
- Because their source and extraction process are cheaper, these products cost less than cannabis-based CBD.
Adding liverwort cannabis to the mix of citrus and lichen CBD, we now have some great cannabis alternatives that are actually legal.
How much does this product cost?
Cannabis products face a lot of regulation, which makes them generally pricey. The barriers in the legal cannabis market are high, again resulting in higher prices. The cannabinoid extraction processes are also complicated, and a lot of quality and consistency depends on the quality of the crop, again boosting up prices.
These cannabis alternatives -- liverwort cannabis, citrus CBD, and lichen CBD -- don’t face the same legal complications and extraction hurdles, generally leading to cheaper prices.
Lichen and citrus CBD cost up to a third of cannabis-based CBD products. For example, the United States’ only federally legal cannabis-based medicine, Epidolex, costs around US$32,000 per annual dosage. That’s a whopping US$96 per daily dosage. A citrus CBD patch, on the other hand, costs around $16, and bottle of liverwort Radula extract costs around $24.
Liverwort cannabis is similar to low THC cannabis -- it’s psychoactive effects are minimal, while its medicinal effects are plentiful. For those looking for a legal, natural alternative to cannabis, liverwort Radula is a great place to start.