Table 1

Some natural cannabinoids and their properties

Δ 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC)
Natural plant cannabinoid Main psychoactive cannabinoid in Cannabis sativa; largely responsible for psychological and physical effects
Available in synthetic form as dronabinol (THC in sesame oil)
Δ 8-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ8-THC)
Natural plant cannabinoid Slightly less potent than Δ9-THC but otherwise similar. Only small amounts present in plant.
Also available in synthetic form Appears to have few psychoactive effects in children
Natural plant cannabinoid Less potent than Δ9-THC
Natural plant cannabinoid Does not interact with cannabinoid receptors. Lacks psychotropic and most other effects of Δ9-THC, but has anticonvulsant activity. May attenuate some unwanted psychological effects of THC
Natural plant cannabinoid Does not interact with cannabinoid receptors. Not psychoactive but may enhance some effects of THC
Natural metabolite of Δ9-THC in the body Psychoactive; may be responsible for some of the psychological effects of cannabis
(—)-Δ8-THC-II-oic acid
Natural metabolite of Δ8-THC in the body Does not interact with cannabinoid receptors; not psychoactive but has analgesic activity
Anandamide (arachidonyl ethanolamide)
Endogenous ligand for mammalian cannabinoid receptors Not structurally similar to cannabinoids; related to prostaglandins. Appears to mimic actions of THC and other cannabinoids that interact with cannabinoid receptors