What are Cannabinoids?

medical cannabis uk

Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that are processed in the cannabinoid receptors. There are several types of cannabinoids; including, phytocannabinoids (found in the plant Cannabis sativa L.), endogenous or endocannabinoids (produced in animals and in the human body) and finally, synthetic cannabinoids, (which do not occur naturally, but rather are designed in laboratories).




Phytocannabinoids appear within the cannabis plant. So far, about 70 different types of phytocannabinoids have been discovered. The main cannabinoids are 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (‘9-THC or THC),’ 8-tetrahydrocannabinol (‘8-THC), cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN).

Each one of these natural cannabinoids causes specific effects in the human body. However, experts say that the most interesting aspect is its interaction with other active components of Cannabis Sativa L. For example, a study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology indicates that phytocannabinoid-terpenoid interactions could produce synergy with respect to the treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal and bacterial infections (including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Dr. Mariano Garcia de Palau also notes that phytocannabinoids exert a systemic role in the endocannabinoid system.


Endocannabinoids are synthesized inside animals with the help of endogenous ligands of cannabinoid receptors. Currently, some of the endocannabinoids have been identified as anandamide (N-arachidonyl ethanolamide, AEA), 2-arachidonyl the glycerol (2-AG), ether 2- arachidonyl glycerol (noladin ether), the O-arachidonylethanolamine (virodhamina), and N-arachidonoyl-dopamine (NADA).

According to a study by Franjo Grotenhermen, the endogenous cannabinoids are generated “from its predecessors” and released on demand “(only when necessary)”. Doctor Mariano Garcia Palau highlights that endocannabinoids “are synthesized and exert their effects locally, only where it is necessary.”


Knowledge about the relationships and structures of different types of cannabinoids has allowed researchers to design synthetic cannabinoids in laboratories. Nabilone and naboctate are two examples of these types of cannabinoids, which have therapeutic properties. However, the most potent of the current synthetic cannabinoids is 11-hydroxy is’ 8 -THC-DMH (HU-210).

In terms of medical uses, synthetic cannabinoids and cannabinoids from plants are useful in the treatment of tics and obsessive-compulsive behavior in patients with Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (Muller-Vahl et al. , 1998). However, the US NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) has a warning that synthetic cannabinoids can affect the brain in a very powerful way and can be dangerous because besides belonging to what is known as “new psychoactive substances” ( NPS, for its acronym in English), they are activated in a stronger way than cannabinoid receptors.

Did you like the post? Give us some feedback! This post has been done based on existent research to the date of publication of the article. Due to the increase in studies based on medical cannabis, the information provided can vary over time and we’ll keep informing in further writings.

About Kalapa Clinic

Información creada y revisada por expertos en Cannabis Medicinal. Todas las publicaciones se basan en investigaciones médicas y con referencias clínicas.

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