Cannabinoids are a class of diverse chemical compounds that act on cannabinoid receptors on cells that repress neurotransmitter release in the brain. Ligands for these receptor proteins include the endocannabinoids (produced naturally in the body by humans and animals), the phytocannabinoids (found in cannabis and some other plants), and synthetic cannabinoids (manufactured artificially). The most notable cannabinoid is the phytocannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound of cannabis. Cannabidiol (CBD) is another major constituent of the plant. There are at least 85 different cannabinoids isolated from cannabis, exhibiting varied effects. Synthetic cannabinoids encompass a variety of distinct chemical classes: the classical cannabinoids structurally related to THC, the nonclassical cannabinoids (cannabimimetics) including the aminoalkylindoles, 1,5-diarylpyrazoles, quinolines, and arylsulfonamides, as well as eicosanoids related to the endocannabinoids.
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