Cannabinoids, Phenolics, Terpenes and Alkaloids of Cannabis

Molecules. 2021 May 8;26(9):2774. doi: 10.3390/molecules26092774.


Cannabis sativa is one of the oldest medicinal plants in the world. It was introduced into western medicine during the early 19th century. It contains a complex mixture of secondary metabolites, including cannabinoids and non-cannabinoid-type constituents. More than 500 compounds have been reported from C. sativa, of which 125 cannabinoids have been isolated and/or identified as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are C21 terpeno-phenolic compounds specific to Cannabis. The non-cannabinoid constituents include: non-cannabinoid phenols, flavonoids, terpenes, alkaloids and others. This review discusses the chemistry of the cannabinoids and major non-cannabinoid constituents (terpenes, non-cannabinoid phenolics, and alkaloids) with special emphasis on their chemical structures, methods of isolation, and identification.

Keywords: Cannabis sativa; alkaloids; cannabinoids; flavonoids; non-cannabinoid phenols; terpenes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / chemistry*
  • Alkaloids / isolation & purification
  • Cannabinoids / chemistry*
  • Cannabinoids / isolation & purification
  • Cannabis / chemistry*
  • Flavonoids / chemistry
  • Flavonoids / isolation & purification
  • Phenols / chemistry*
  • Phenols / isolation & purification
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry


  • Alkaloids
  • Cannabinoids
  • Flavonoids
  • Phenols