By Abigail O’Rourke
THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the most commonly known ingredient in marijuana. It is also one of the most complex biochemical compounds known to man. As such, we would hardly expect to find it anywhere other than planet Earth. The last place we would ever expect it is inside a meteorite fragment that had been flying through space for who knows how long until it crash landed here.
A team of researchers in Hawaii were studying a meteorite that had been found in Nevada several years ago in 2010. It was a huge surprise to them to find trace amounts of THC in the fragment. The implications are staggering on closer examination.
The THC-Human Connection
The cannabinoid compound family can be found in many plants, predominantly marijuana. Cannabinoids are pshycoatives, meaning they interact with and can alter the state of a person’s mind. Human bodies have what is called the endocannabinoid system, the biological messaging apparatus that assists the body in healing and overall automatic self-maintenance. Medical science is proving that cannabinoid-based products can do a lot to assist our bodies to self-treat seizures, cancer, depression, skin disorders and many other illnesses.
What is Astrobiology?
The team of researchers in Hawaii are astrobiologists. These scientists work to study hundreds of meteorite fragments and other space debris and various types of data in order to find evidence of life, even if it is the tiniest particle of organic matter. THC may be commonly found in plants here on Earth, but it can potentially form out of totally inorganic materials. However, that is an infinitely more difficult process. It is nearly impossible for the necessary compounds to come together with no organic assistance.
Interestingly enough, trace amounts of Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) were also found in a meteorite fragment in 2009 by a research team from the University of Mexico but the findings were dismissed at the time because of the “controversial nature of the discovery" and a wave of skepticism from the scientific community. It is truly sad that scientists, who should be the vanguard of accepting evidence and changing their beliefs, are some of the first to doubt a discovery simply because it does not fit into the cookie cutter system of thought they have laid out and been taught to teach others.
What does all of this imply? It is possible that much of what we view as life unique to Earth was brought here in molecular form by meteors very early in Earth’s formational history. To further add to that idea, it has been noted that all the amino acids essential to life can be found on any meteorite fragment. It is important to note as a caveat that amino acids do not require life to be able to form, rather they are the building blocks of DNA from which life is born.
It is also possible that the materials needed for life are abundant and common to every part of the universe. What do you think? Let us know.