A cannabinoid is one of a class of diverse chemical compounds that acts on cannabinoid receptors in cells that alter neurotransmitter release in the brain. Ligands for these receptor proteins include the endocannabinoids (produced naturally in the body by animals), the phytocannabinoids (found in cannabis and some other plants), and synthetic cannabinoids (manufactured artificially). The most notable cannabinoid is the phytocannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis. Cannabidiol (CBD) is another major constituent of the plant. There are at least 113 different cannabinoids isolated from cannabis, exhibiting varied effects.
The classical cannabinoids are concentrated in a viscous resin produced in structures known as glandular trichomes. At least 113 different cannabinoids have been isolated from the Cannabis plant. To the right, the main classes of cannabinoids from Cannabis are shown. The best studied cannabinoids include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN).
All classes derive from cannabigerol-type compounds and differ mainly in the way this precursor is cyclized. The classical cannabinoids are derived from their respective 2-carboxylic acids (2-COOH) by decarboxylation (catalyzed by heat, light, or alkaline conditions).
CBGM (Cannabigerol Monomethyl Ether)
THCA (Tetrahydrocannbinolic acid)
CBDA (Cannabidiolic Acid)
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