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Conversion of Cannabidiol (CBD) into Psychotropic Cannabinoids Including Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): A Controversy in the Scientific Literature

Chemisches und Veterinäruntersuchungsamt (CVUA) Karlsruhe, Weissenburger Straße 3, 76187 Karlsruhe, Germany
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These two authors contributed equally to the manuscript.
Toxics 2020, 8(2), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics8020041
Received: 27 April 2020 / Revised: 26 May 2020 / Accepted: 29 May 2020 / Published: 3 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Risk Assessment and Management)
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring, non-psychotropic cannabinoid of the hemp plant Cannabis sativa L. and has been known to induce several physiological and pharmacological effects. While CBD is approved as a medicinal product subject to prescription, it is also widely sold over the counter (OTC) in the form of food supplements, cosmetics and electronic cigarette liquids. However, regulatory difficulties arise from its origin being a narcotic plant or its status as an unapproved novel food ingredient. Regarding the consumer safety of these OTC products, the question whether or not CBD might be degraded into psychotropic cannabinoids, most prominently tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), under in vivo conditions initiated an ongoing scientific debate. This feature review aims to summarize the current knowledge of CBD degradation processes, specifically the results of in vitro and in vivo studies. Additionally, the literature on psychotropic effects of cannabinoids was carefully studied with a focus on the degradants and metabolites of CBD, but data were found to be sparse. While the literature is contradictory, most studies suggest that CBD is not converted to psychotropic THC under in vivo conditions. Nevertheless, it is certain that CBD degrades to psychotropic products in acidic environments. Hence, the storage stability of commercial formulations requires more attention in the future. View Full-Text
Keywords: cannabidiol; tetrahydrocannabinol; degradation; psychotropic effects; Cannabis sativa cannabidiol; tetrahydrocannabinol; degradation; psychotropic effects; Cannabis sativa
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MDPI and ACS Style

Golombek, P.; Müller, M.; Barthlott, I.; Sproll, C.; Lachenmeier, D.W. Conversion of Cannabidiol (CBD) into Psychotropic Cannabinoids Including Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): A Controversy in the Scientific Literature. Toxics 2020, 8, 41. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics8020041

AMA Style

Golombek P, Müller M, Barthlott I, Sproll C, Lachenmeier DW. Conversion of Cannabidiol (CBD) into Psychotropic Cannabinoids Including Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): A Controversy in the Scientific Literature. Toxics. 2020; 8(2):41. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics8020041

Chicago/Turabian Style

Golombek, Patricia, Marco Müller, Ines Barthlott, Constanze Sproll, and Dirk W. Lachenmeier 2020. "Conversion of Cannabidiol (CBD) into Psychotropic Cannabinoids Including Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): A Controversy in the Scientific Literature" Toxics 8, no. 2: 41. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics8020041

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