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Letters to Nature
Nature 253, 365 - 366 (31 January 1975); doi:10.1038/253365a0

Marijuana, absinthe and the central nervous system

J. DEL CASTILLO*, M. ANDERSON* & G. M. RUBOTTOM

*Laboratory of Neurobiology School of Medicine, UPR, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00905
Department of Chemistry, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho 83843

THERE are striking similarities between the psychological actions of the liqueur absinthe1 and the experiences frequently reported by users of marijuana2. We have therefore compared the properties of thujone and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which are believed to be the active principles of Artemisia absinthium and Cannabis sativa, respectively. Both substances are terpenoid, derived from the essential oils absinthol and cannabinol, and are formed by similar biosynthetic mechanisms3,4.

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References

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3. Geissman, T. A., and Crout, D. H. G., Organic Chemistry of Secondary Plant Metabolism, 246 (Freeman, San Francisco, 1969).
4. Mechoulam, R., in Progress in the Chemistry of Organic Natural Products (edit. by Zechmeister, L.), 25, 173–213 (Springer, Vienna, 1967).
5. Goodman, L. S., and Gilman, A., The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, second ed., 335–337 (Macmillan, New York, 1958).
6. Wall, M. E., Brine, D. R., Brine, G. A., Pitt, C. G., Freudenthal, R. I., and Christensen, H. D., J. Am. chem. Soc., 92, 3466–3468 (1970).
7. Ben-Zvi, Z., Mechoulam, R., and Burstein, S., J. Am. chem. Soc., 92, 3468–3469 (1970).
8. Walling, C., Free Radicals in Solution, 375, 384 (Wiley, New York, 1953).
9. Stewart, R., in Oxidation in Organic Chemistry (edit. by Wiberg, K. B.), (Academic, New York and London, 1965).
10. Simonsen, J. L., The Terpenes, 2, 36 (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1949).
11. Kosower, E. M., Molecular Biochemistry, 45, 91, 105 (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1962).



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