Marijuana and the Cannabinoids

Part of the series Forensic Science And Medicine pp 17-49

Chemistry and Analysis of Phytocannabinoids and Other Cannabis Constituents

  • Rudolf BrenneisenAffiliated withDepartment of Clinical Research, Laboratory for Phytopharmacology, Bioanalytics and Pharmacokinetics, University of Bern

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The Cannabis plant and its products consist of an enormous variety of chemicals. Some of the 483 compounds identified are unique to Cannabis, for example, the more than 60 cannabinoids, whereas the terpenes, with about 140 members forming the most abundant class, are widespread in the plant kingdom. The term “cannabinoids” [note: “ ” represents a group of C21 terpenophenolic compounds found until now uniquely in Cannabis sativa L. (1). As a consequence of the development of synthetic cannabinoids (e.g., nabilone [2], HU-211 [dexanabinol; ref. (3), or ajulemic acid [CT-3; ref. 4]) and the discovery of the chemically different endogenous cannabinoid receptor ligands (“endocannabinoids,” e.g., anandamide, 2-arachidonoylglycerol) (5,6), the term ’“phytocannabinoids’” was proposed for these particular Cannabis constituents (7).