Cannabis Chemistry: Exploring the Entourage

Cannabis Chemistry: Exploring the Entourage

It has been known for many centuries that the psychoactive chemicals in the cannabis plant are produced mainly in the resin of the female buds. In this blog we explore the chemical compounds in cannabis now known to have either a psychoactive or a potentially medicinal effect. In the last few years, several of these “minor” cannabinoids have become the increasing focus of research and marketing in the cannabis world. Table of contentsThe Compounds in Cannabis ∆9-THC (Delta-9-trans-tetrahydocannabinol)∆8-THC (Delta-8-trans-tetrahydrocannabinol)THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin)CBC (Cannabichromene)CBD (Cannabidiol)CBDA and CBDVCBE (Cannabielsoin)CBG (Cannabigerol)CBL (Cannabicyclol)CBN (Cannabinol)CBND (Cannabinodiol)CBT (Cannabitriol)Terpenes/TerpenoidsBeta-caryophylleneLimoneneMyrcenePineneConclusionReferences The Compounds in Cannabis Since the 1960s, every few years chemical compounds are newly being discovered in the cannabis plant. By 2014, the number of constituent compounds identified in cannabis had risen to 545. Of these, 104 are what is known as phytocannabinoids (“phyto” means “plant”), which are chemicals deriving specifically from the cannabis plant. These phytocannabinoids have been classified into eleven types (ElSohly and Gul 2016:3–4). Chemical ClassNumber of CompoundsDelta-9-trans-tetrahydocannabinol (∆9-THC)18Delta-8-trans-tetrahydrocannabinol (∆8-THC)2Cannabichromene (CBC)8Cannabidiol (CBD)    8Cannabielsoin (CBE) 5Cannabigerol (CBG)17Cannabicyclol (CBL)3Cannabinol (CBN)     10Cannabitriol (CBT)9Total cannabinoids     104Total non-cannabinoids441Total compounds       545 Most people who are interested in cannabis are nowadays aware of the different effects of THC and CBD. However, the additional effects of many other compounds in cannabis, which are sometimes subtle, and often referred to as the “entourage effect,” are increasingly being understood. The “entourage effect”— a phrase coined by Raphael Mechoulam in the 1960s—of various cannabinoids has been scientifically demonstrated (McPartland and Russo 2016). The chemical compounds in different strains of cannabis vary widely. Nowadays it is possible, through companies like Seedsman, to obtain seeds of various strains of cannabis that have higher proportions of particular chemical compounds. ∆9-THC (Delta-9-trans-tetrahydocannabinol) In 1963, Raphael Mechoulam and his colleagues at Hebrew University first published their discovery of ∆9-THC in cannabis, this compound now well known for being…

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