Letter: Cannabinoid phenotypes in Cannabis sativa

Author(s): Small E, Beckstead HD


IT has been suggested that “drug” strains and “non-drug” strains of Cannabis sativa L. comprise two comprehensive groups1,2, which can be identified on the basis of their relative content of two of the principal “cannabinoids”. Drug strains have been thought to contain an excess, usually substantial, of (—)-Δ9-trans-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) in comparison with the amount of cannabidiol (CBD), including carboxylate forms of both compounds, and non-drug strains have been held to have the reverse ratio. The former compound is considered psychotomimetic (psychosis-imitating), whereas the latter is not3. In examining the above cannabinoid ratio to decide in which phenotypic group a strain belongs, some investigators2 add the amount of cannabinol (CBN) to the amount of THC. The former seems to be an oxidation product of Δ9-THC (ref. 4) and is not considered to be psychoactive.

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