Cannabis contains 483 compounds. At least 80 of these are cannabinoids, which are the basis for medical and scientific use of cannabis. This presents the research problem of isolating the effect of specific compounds and taking account of the interaction of these compounds. Cannabinoids can serve as appetite stimulants, antiemetics, antispasmodics, and have some analgesic effects. Six important cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant are tetrahydrocannabinol, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, cannabidiol, cannabinol, ?-caryophyllene, and cannabigerol.
Chemical structure oftetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary compound responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. The compound is a mild analgesic, and cellular research has shown the compound has antioxidant activity. THC is believed to interact with parts of the brain normally controlled by the endogenous cannabinoidneurotransmitter, anandamide. Anandamide is believed to play a role in pain sensation, memory, and sleep.
Cannabidiol has been shown to relieveconvulsions, inflammation, anxiety, cough, congestion and nausea, and it inhibitscancer cell growth.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a major constituent of medical cannabis. CBD represents up to 40% of extracts of medical cannabis. Cannabidiol has been shown to relieveconvulsion, inflammation, anxiety, cough, congestion and nausea, and it inhibits cancer cell growth. Recent studies have shown cannabidiol to be as effective asatypical antipsychotics in treating schizophrenia. Because cannabidiol relieves the aforementioned symptoms, cannabis strains with a high amount of CBD may benefit people with multiple sclerosis, frequent anxiety attacks and Tourette syndrome.
Structure of Cannabinol
Cannabinol (CBN) is a therapeutic cannabinoid found in Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. It is also produced as a metabolite, or a breakdown product, oftetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBN acts as a weak agonist of the CB1 and CB2 receptors, with lower affinity in comparison to THC.
Chemical structure of ?-caryophyllene
Part of the mechanism by which medical cannabis has been shown to reduce tissue inflammation is via the compound ?-caryophyllene. A cannabinoid receptorcalled CB2 plays a vital part in reducing inflammation in humans and other animals. ?-Caryophyllene has been shown to be a selective activator of the CB2 receptor. ?-Caryophyllene is especially concentrated in cannabis essential oil, which contains about 12–35% ?-caryophyllene.
Like cannabidiol, cannabigerol is not psychoactive. Cannabigerol has been shown to relieve intraoccular pressure, which may be of benefit in the treatment of glaucoma.