Chemical constituents of marijuana: the complex mixture of natural cannabinoids

Life Sci. 2005 Dec 22;78(5):539-48. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2005.09.011. Epub 2005 Sep 30.


The cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa L.) and products thereof (such as marijuana, hashish and hash oil) have a long history of use both as a medicinal agent and intoxicant. Over the last few years there have been an active debate regarding the medicinal aspects of cannabis. Currently cannabis products are classified as Schedule I drugs under the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Controlled Substances act, which means that the drug is only available for human use as an investigational drug. In addition to the social aspects of the use of the drug and its abuse potential, the issue of approving it as a medicine is further complicated by the complexity of the chemical make up of the plant. This manuscript discusses the chemical constituents of the plant with particular emphasis on the cannabinoids as the class of compounds responsible for the drug's psychological properties.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cannabinoids / chemistry*
  • Cannabis / chemistry*
  • Complex Mixtures


  • Cannabinoids
  • Complex Mixtures