Small Molecules from Nature Targeting G-Protein Coupled Cannabinoid Receptors: Potential Leads for Drug Discovery and Development

Charu Sharma, Bassem Sadek, Sameer N. Goyal, Satyesh Sinha, Mohammad Amjad Kamal, Shreesh Ojha

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


The cannabinoid molecules are derived from Cannabis sativa plant which acts on the cannabinoid receptors types 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2) which have been explored as potential therapeutic targets for drug discovery and development. Currently, there are numerous cannabinoid based synthetic drugs used in clinical practice like the popular ones such as nabilone, dronabinol, and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol mediates its action through CB1/CB2 receptors. However, these synthetic based Cannabis derived compounds are known to exert adverse psychiatric effect and have also been exploited for drug abuse. This encourages us to find out an alternative and safe drug with the least psychiatric adverse effects. In recent years, many phytocannabinoids have been isolated from plants other than Cannabis. Several studies have shown that these phytocannabinoids show affinity, potency, selectivity, and efficacy towards cannabinoid receptors and inhibit endocannabinoid metabolizing enzymes, thus reducing hyperactivity of endocannabinoid systems. Also, these naturally derived molecules possess the least adverse effects opposed to the synthetically derived cannabinoids. Therefore, the plant based cannabinoid molecules proved to be promising and emerging therapeutic alternative. The present review provides an overview of therapeutic potential of ligands and plants modulating cannabinoid receptors that may be of interest to pharmaceutical industry in search of new and safer drug discovery and development for future therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number238482
JournalEvidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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