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Chapter 14

PHAR 100 Chapter Notes - Chapter 14: Cannabis Sativa, Orthostatic Hypotension, Anandamide

Pharmacology and Toxicology
Course Code
PHAR 100
Bill Racz

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Lesson B.9 Cannabis
- Describe the history of cannabis use
- State the mechanisms of cannabinoid action
- State the time of onset and duration of response to smoking marijuana
- List the accepted medical and proposed medical uses of the cannabinoids
- Describe the effects of short-term, low dose and high dose use
- Describe the effects of chronic high dose use
- Describe the degree and type of tolerance and dependence associated with cannabis
Cannabis refers to the drug-containing forms of the plant hemp, Cannabis sativa
- Two variety types: resin-producing and fibre-producing
- 420 chemical compounds are within
- 60 compounds found in Cannabis sativa are referred to as cannabinoids
- 1-trans-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the most psychoactive agent; it accounts for most, but
not all of the psychoactive effects
- Common names include: marijuana, hashish, hashish oil, charas, bhang, ganja and dagga
- 2700 BC to 1800 plant was used to manufacture rope, mild intoxicating effects, considered less
harmful than alcohol
- 1920’s to 1930’s public concern, outlaw of marijuana use, considered to be a narcotic
- 1960’s to 1970’s Increased use
- 1978 U SA-sponsored project to destroy cannabis crops in Mexico; failed
- 1980’s use of marijuana began to stabilize
- 1990’s Increased use again
- 1996 Arizona and California approved the legal use of marijuana for medical purposes
- 1997 Ontario court dismissed charges related to possession and cultivation of cannabis on the
basis that the individuals was using the drug to control epilepsy; Canada allowed for small amounts
of THC to be used to manufacture rope, clothing and other hem products (a special license is
- 2002 to 2005 health Canada supported trials on the medical use of marijuana
- 2012 US votes to legalize recreational use of marijuana
- Current marijuana is the third most popular psychoactive drug after alcohol and tobacco (fourth
is caffeine)
- Marijuana is classified as a narcotic and controlled under the narcotic control act
- Pharmacologically it is classified as a central nervous system depressant, euphoriant and
hallucinogen (high doses)
- Mechanism of action not fully understood
o Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabinoids bind specifically to receptors
located in the cerebral cortex, cerebellum, hippocampus, hypothalamus and other areas
within the brain and spinal cord. These are referred to as CB1 or Type 1 cannabinoid
o CB2 receptors are found in the peripheral system; they do not appear to be involved in the
psychotomimetic effects of THC but bind lymphocytes possibly mediating/influencing the
immune system response (immunosuppressant property)
o Anandamide, the designated endogenous ligand, may be involved in learning and memory
o CB1 receptor, when activated by anandamide or THC inhibits the release of excitatory
neurotransmitters this would explain why there is a reduction in the cognitive function
of those who use THC and why CNS depressant properties of the drug exist
o THC inhibits the release of transmitters (greatest influence)
o THC is rapidly absorbed and slowly metabolized; half life is approx.. 30 hours
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