Drugs derived from Cannabis sativa (Cannabinceae) were used until the 1940’s for their stimulant and depressant effects for treating somatic and psychiatric illnesses. Renewed interest in marihuana research began in the 1970’s and again pointed to the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids. Safer and more useful therapeutic agents may be generated from cannabinoids similarly to morphine, lysergic acid diethylamide, and cocaine which have structurally related analgesics, oxytoxics, and local anesthetics respectively. It has been shown that the C-ring in cannabinoids can be substituted with a variety of nitrogen and sulfur-containing rings without loss of CNS (central nervous system) activity. Cannabinoids have been shown to inhibit prostaglandin synthesis, intensify pressor effects of endogenous amines like norepinephrine, and enhance the stimulant effects of amphetamine. Cannabinoids’ therapeutic potential lies in the areas of analgesics and anticonvulsants, and for use as a sedative-hypnotic, an antiglaucoma agent, an antiasthmatic agent, an antidiarrheal agent, and possibly as an anticancer and immunosuppressant agent.
- PMID: 24325