Marijuana: interaction with the estrogen receptor

J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1983 Feb;224(2):404-7.


Crude marijuana extract competed with estradiol for binding to the estrogen receptor of rat uterine cytosol. Condensed marijuana smoke also competed with estradiol for its receptor. Pure delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol, however, did not interact with the estrogen receptor. Ten delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol metabolites also failed to compete with estradiol for its receptor. Of several other common cannabinoids tested, only cannabidiol showed any estrogen receptor binding. This was evident only at very high concentrations of cannabidiol. Apigenin, the aglycone of a flavinoid phytoestrogen found in cannabis, displayed high affinity for the estrogen receptor. To assess the biological significance of these receptor data, estrogen activity was measured in vivo with the uterine growth bioassay, using immature rats. Cannabis extract in large doses exhibited neither estrogenic nor antiestrogenic effects. Thus, although estrogen receptor binding activity was observed in crude marijuana extract, marijuana smoke condensate and several known components of cannabis, direct estrogenic activity of cannabis extract could not be demonstrated in vivo.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding, Competitive / drug effects
  • Cytosol / metabolism*
  • Dronabinol / analogs & derivatives
  • Dronabinol / metabolism*
  • Dronabinol / pharmacology
  • Estradiol / metabolism
  • Female
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Receptors, Estrogen / drug effects
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism*


  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Estradiol
  • Dronabinol