Beyond THC and CBD -Promising Molecules of Medical Cannabis

Ethan Russo, MD
Director of Research and Development
International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute (ICCI)
Prague, Czech Republic


The golden age of cannabis chemistry began in the 1960s as Raphael Mechoulam
and colleagues in Israel isolated and synthesized cannabidiol, tetrahydrocannabinol,
and other phytocannabinoids. Initially, THC garnered most research interest with sporadic
attention to cannabidiol, which has only rekindled in the last 15 years through a
demonstration of its remarkably versatile pharmacology and synergy with THC. 
Contemporaneously, a recognition of the therapeutic potential of other phytocannabinoids has 
developed, as well as that of the cannabis terpenoids and even compounds the plant produces 
beyond those in its flowers. This lecture will focus on select cannabis phytochemicals of 
pharmacological interest: the acid cannabinoids tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), 
cannabidiolic acid (CBD), “minor cannabinoids” cannabigerol (CBG), tetrahydrocannabivarin 
(THCV) and examine their roles in treating pain, inflammation, epilepsy, cancer and dementia. 
Synergistic relationships of the terpenoids (myrcene, pinene, limonene, caryophyllene) to 
cannabinoids will be examined to explore their complementary roles to boost therapeutic
efficacy in treatment of pain, psychiatric disorders, cancer, and numerous other
areas. Other parts of the cannabis plant provide additional compounds of interest: the triterpenoid 
friedelin, from the roots, canniprene from the fan leaves, cannabisin from seed coats, and 
cannflavin A from seed sprouts, demonstrating how cannabis fulfils its potential as Mechoulam’s 
professed “pharmacological treasure trove.”

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