This article is about cannabis compounds and cannabis chemotypes, and covers the following topics:
The cannabis plant is widely distributed in various parts or the world. For centuries people have used cannabis for a variety of purposes, including medical uses and also as a source of textile fiber. The scientific classification of cannabis has been difficult because of its genetic diversity. Therefore, the current classification of the plant is based on the cannabis compounds and cannabis chemotypes.
The three main taxonomical groups or species of cannabis are:
These species, however, crossbreed and create hybrids easily. Therefore, scientists now recognize one species, Cannabis sativa.
Over 100 phytocannabinoids (cannabidonids naturally occurring in the Cannabis plant) have been identified and isolated. Consequently, a chemical approach provides a better classification system of the Cannabis plants.
The most abundant cannabinoids are:
Watch this 2:47 minute video by the Fundacion CANNA: “Cannabis Plant Components: Cannabinoids”
Five chemotypes have been identified based on the plant’s cannabinoid profiles.
Currently, the generally accepted grouping of cannabis – for legal purposes – is:
However, it would be appropriate – for legal and pharmaceutical purposes – to categorize cannabis into three groups:
While the psychoactive effects of THC are well known, many of the other cannabinoid compounds possess non-psychoactive pharmacological effects as well. For example,
Besides the cannabinoids, the cannabis plant is also rich in a large number of other chemical compositions. These include terpenes, fatty acids, phytosterols, and phenolic compounds such as flavonoids, just to name a few.
Scientists have observed that cannabis compounds interact with each other. This interaction is also called the “entourage effect”. For instance, CBD reduces the side effects of THC. In addition, terpenes affect the pharmacokinetics of THC by increasing the permeability of the blood-brain barrier. Moreover, flavonoids decrease the activity of certain liver enzymes and thereby support the effect of THC.
Synthetic cannabinoids are human-made chemicals that are, both in structure and in acting mechanism, similar to THC. They are part of a group of drugs called new psychoactive substances. They are:
Read more here about synthetic cannabinoids.
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