Send to

Choose Destination
Adicciones. 2018 Apr 15;30(2):140-151. doi: 10.20882/adicciones.858.

Psychoactive constituents of cannabis and their clinical implications: a systematic review.

[Article in English, Spanish; Abstract available in Spanish from the publisher]

Author information

Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer / Hospital Clínic of Barcelona.


in English, Spanish

Objective This systematic review aims to summarize current evidence on which naturally present cannabinoids contribute to cannabis psychoactivity, considering their reported concentrations and pharmacodynamics in humans. Design Following PRISMA guidelines, papers published before March 2016 in Medline, Scopus-Elsevier, Scopus, ISI-Web of Knowledge and COCHRANE, and fulfilling established a-priori selection criteria have been included. Results In 40 original papers, three naturally present cannabinoids (∆-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, ∆-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabinol) and one human metabolite (11-OH-THC) had clinical relevance. Of these, the metabolite produces the greatest psychoactive effects. Cannabidiol (CBD) is not psychoactive but plays a modulating role on cannabis psychoactive effects. The proportion of 9-THC in plant material is higher (up to 40%) than in other cannabinoids (up to 9%). Pharmacodynamic reports vary due to differences in methodological aspects (doses, administration route and volunteers' previous experience with cannabis). Conclusions Findings reveal that 9-THC contributes the most to cannabis psychoactivity. Due to lower psychoactive potency and smaller proportions in plant material, other psychoactive cannabinoids have a weak influence on cannabis final effects. Current lack of standard methodology hinders homogenized research on cannabis health effects. Working on a standard cannabis unit considering 9-THC is recommended.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Socidrogalcohol
Loading ...
Support Center