Comparative pharmacology of the cannabinoids THC and CBD

Several cannabinoids are known to bind to multiple targets in the CNS and exert effects at low micromolar and nanomolar concentrations. Both Δ9-THC and CBD have shown anticonvulsant effects in preclinical models of epilepsy, as well as production of other actions such as acting as an anti-inflammatory or neuroprotective agent. The nonspecific actions of cannabinoids present a potential issue when used as a therapeutic option, as many questions about the safety and efficacy of these compounds remain unanswered.

Cannabinoid TypeChemical StructurePharmacological ActionsPotential TargetsReferences
9-Tetrahydrocannbinol (∆9-THC)Embedded ImageAnticonvulsantCB1 partial agonistCascio and Pertwee (2014); Pertwee and Cascio (2014); Friedman and Devinsky (2014);
EuphoriaCB2 partial agonistBlair et al. (2015)
PsychoactiveTRPA1 agonist
AnalgesicTRPV2 agonist
Cognitive modulationTRPM8 antagonist
Reduces muscle spasmsα1βGly enhancer
Reduces nausea5-HT3A antagonist
Stimulates appetitePPAR-γ activator
GPR18 agonist
GPR55 agonist
Cannabidiol (CBD)Embedded ImageAnticonvulsantCB1 ligandCascio and Pertwee, 2014; Pertwee and Cascio, 2014; Friedman and Devinsky, 2014);
AnalgesicCB2 ligandBlair et al. (2015)
Anti-inflammatoryTRPA1 agonist
AntitumorigenicTRPV1-3 agonist
NeuroprotectiveTRPV4 agonist
Reduces nauseaTRPM8 antagonist
Immune modulation5-HT3A antagonist
α3Gly enhancer
GPR55 antagonist
5-HT1A enhancer
PPAR-γ activator
Adenosine reuptake inhibitor