Cannabis sativa L. is a genus of flowering plants in the Cannabaceae family1

It has been used therapeutically for thousands of years, while also being notorious for its "high”-inducing psychotropic effects.2 But now with the discovery of cannabinoids, we are able to better understand the cause of these effects.

Let's begin by breaking down these cannabinoids into 3 main classes:
endocannabinoids, phytocannabinoids, and synthetic cannabinoids. 

Endocannabinoids Chemicals Attaching to Cannabinoid Receptors

Endocannabinoids

Flowering Cannabis Plant

Phytocannabinoids

Chemistry Lab Equipment for Synthetic Cannabinoids

Synthetic Cannabinoids

Test your knowledge

THC and CBD are 2 different cannabinoids that both cause the high that is commonly associated with marijuana.23-25

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4. Zou S, Kumar U. Cannabinoid receptors and the endocannabinoid system: signaling and function in the central nervous system. Int J Mol Sci. 2018;19(3):1-23. 
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13. Marinol [package insert]. North Chicago, IL: AbbVie Inc; 2017. 
14. Cesamet [package insert]. Somerset, NJ: Meda Pharmaceuticals Inc; 2015. 
15. Syndros [package insert]. Chandler, AZ: Insys Therapeutics, Inc; 2017. 
16. Ruthirakuhan M, Herrmann N, Gallagher D, et al. Investigating the safety and efficacy of nabilone for the treatment of agitation in patients with moderate-to-severe Alzheimer's disease: study protocol for a cross-over randomized controlled trial. Contemp Clin Trials Commun. 2019;15:1-7. 
17. Peball M, Werkmann M, Ellmerer P, et al. Nabilone for non‑motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease: a randomized placebo‑controlled, double‑blind, parallel‑group, enriched enrolment randomized withdrawal study (The NMS‑Nab Study). J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2019;126(8):1061-1072. 
18. Mascal M, Hafezi N, Wang D, et al. Synthetic, non-intoxicating 8,9-dihydrocannabidiol for the mitigation of seizures. Sci Rep. 2019;9(1):1-6. 
19. National Institutes of Health. Search results: synthetic cannabinoids. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04001010. Accessed August 20, 2019.
20. National Institutes of Health. Search results: dronabinol. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/results. Accessed August 20, 2019.
21. National Institutes of Health. Search results: nabilone. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/results. Accessed August 20, 2019.