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Chronic Effects and Biological Upshots of Cannabis Use

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Although there are over 300 cannabinoid or cannabinoid-related compounds reported as natural constituents of Cannabis (Turner, et al., 1980) most strains of marihuana are characterized by the production of a biogenetically related series of compounds (Figure 1). Cannabinoids are terpenophenolic compounds believed to originate in the plant from condensation of a terpene derivative (such as geranyl pyrophosphate) with the phenol olivetol (as olivetolic acid) to form the cannabinoid series which includes cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), cannabichromenic acid (CBCA), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (Δ9-THCA) (Mechoulam, 1970; Shoyama, et al., 1975). These cannabinoids occur naturally predominantly in their water-soluble acid forms but are readily decarboxylated to their water-insoluble neutral forms by mild heating or drying of plant tissues or extracts.

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