Pharmacological and Toxicological effects of Cannabis

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Sarayut Radapong
Praw Suppajariyawat
Methin Phadungkit


      Cannabis sativa L. is a plant with several varieties, which have different physical characteristics. The main phyto-chemical compounds in cannabis are cannabinoids; the two well-known groups of constituents are Δ9-tetrahydro-cannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The THC/CBD proportion can cause the drug addiction and be used as a criteria for identification of cannabis strains. From the literature reviews, cannabis and its active compounds presented various interesting pharmacological effects. THC and its derivatives showed analgesic effects, especially pain from neurological disorders, enhancing appetite and reducing nausea from chemotherapy, protecting and stimulating the production of brain cells. CBD, on the other hand, was found to relieve epilepsy, reducing anxiety in children with autism or patients with a history of cannabis use. Both THC and CBD were also shown anti-cancer activity. However, its toxicity was reported, especially THC, causing acute and chronic toxicity in laboratory animals received high doses and prolonged period. Abnormalities were also found in long-term cannabis use including lung, coronary artery disorders and bone loss. Whereas, CBD has not been reported any toxicity or serious side effects in clinical trial.


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