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Handbook of Cannabis$
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Roger Pertwee

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199662685

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199662685.001.0001

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Known Pharmacological Actions of Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and of Four Other Chemical Constituents of Cannabis that Activate Cannabinoid Receptors

Known Pharmacological Actions of Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and of Four Other Chemical Constituents of Cannabis that Activate Cannabinoid Receptors

Chapter:
(p.115) Chapter 6 Known Pharmacological Actions of Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and of Four Other Chemical Constituents of Cannabis that Activate Cannabinoid Receptors
Source:
Handbook of Cannabis
Author(s):

Roger G. Pertwee

Maria Grazia Cascio

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199662685.003.0006

Cannabis is the source of a large set of compounds known collectively as phytocannabinoids. One of these, (−)-trans-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ‎9-THC), is the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis. It can activate cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors, both of which are G protein-coupled and expressed within and outside the brain. It is now generally accepted that Δ‎9-THC produces its psychoactive effects mainly by activating CB1 receptors within the brain. Certain other compounds present in growing and/or harvested cannabis can also activate CB1 and/or CB2 receptors. These are three phytocannabinoids, (−)-trans-Δ‎8-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabinol and (-)-trans-Δ‎9-tetrahydrocannabivarin, and the sesquiterpene, (E)-β‎-caryophyllene. This review considers evidence that has led to the conclusion that Δ‎9-THC and these other compounds can activate CB1 and/or CB2 receptors, in vivo and in vitro. It also describes the principal bioassays that have been used to investigate the ability of these compounds to target cannabinoid receptors, and presents known information about their other pharmacological actions.

Keywords:   phytocannabinoids, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, Δ8-tetrahydrocannabinol, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarin, cannabinol, (E)-β-caryophyllene, cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors, cannabinoid receptor agonists

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