Erik Keimpema, Vincenzo Di Marzo AND Tibor Harkany

Published in Science

December 2021



Since its first mention ∼4000 BCE, Cannabis sativa has evolved through selective cultivation from being a source of durable fiber (hemp) to a plant enriched in bioactive ingredients. Currently, >100 potentially bioactive phytocannabinoids from Cannabis spp. have been cataloged, yet their precise structure-function relationships are mostly unclear (1). Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are primarily studied, particularly because high-grade Cannabis subspecies can produce over 20% yield of either compound. The variety of bioactive constituents in C. sativa, together with their defined ratios, suggests that they have potential application in many illnesses (1). Possibly due to many phytocannabinoids producing similar pharmacological effects through different mechanisms, selecting which to study for a disease remains a formidable challenge.


DOI: DOI: 10.1126/science.abf6099



Keimpema, E., Di Marzo, V., & Harkany, T. (2021). Biological basis of cannabinoid medicines. Science, 374(6574), 1449-1450.