Sheng Wu Gong Cheng Xue Bao. 2021 Jun 25;37(6):1968-1985. doi: 10.13345/j.cjb.200453.
Phytocannabinoids are bioactive terpenoids that are exclusive to Cannabis sativa L. The main pharmacologically active phytocannabinoids are Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol, both target endogenous cannabinoid receptors. Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol have extensive therapeutic potential due to their participation in many physiological and pathological processes in human body by activating the endocannabinoid system. At present, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol and their analogues or combination preparations are used to treat epilepsy, vomiting in patients with cancer chemotherapy, spasticity in multiple sclerosis and relieve neuropathic pain and pain in patients with advanced cancer. With the further exploration of the application value of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol as well as the increasing demand for standardization of pharmaceutical preparations, it is imminent to achieve large-scale production of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol in the pharmaceutical industry. In this article, pharmacological research progress of phytocannabinoids in recent years, biosynthetic pathways of phytocannabinoids and the mechanism of key enzymes as well as various product development strategies of cannabinoids in pharmaceutical industry are reviewed. By exploring the potential of synthetic biology as an alternative strategy for the source of phytocannabinoids, it will provide a theoretical basis for the research and development of microbial engineering for cannabinoids synthesis, and promote the large-scale production of medicinal cannabinoids.