Popular cannabinoids and their effects
Cannabinoids are a structural group of compounds found in the cannabis plant. In this article we will look at them
Popular cannabinoids – Cannabis is a complex plant that works through the interactions of various chemical components. Although we are still discovering more of the compounds that make the herb work – including things like terpenes, flavonoids and cannasulfurs – the most important elements of the plant’s therapeutic uses are the cannabinoids. Humans have receptor sites in our bodies that are configured to respond to cannabinoids. The ultimate goal of this interaction is to create stability and promote wellbeing. Here is a breakdown of common cannabinoids and their effects:
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the most well-known cannabinoid, as it is primarily responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis, or the ‘high’. Once the sole measure of the quality of a given cannabis flower, the brilliance of this cannabinoid over all others is only now beginning to dim slightly with the advent of CBD. THC can alter the functioning of the hippocampus, the area of the brain that stores memories. THC also affects areas of the brain associated with pleasure, concentration, movement, coordination and perception of time. It is the most prevalent of the active ingredients in cannabis. The presence of THC, or more specifically 0.3% THC, is an arbitrary measure that defines a plant as cannabis as opposed to marijuana.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the second most common cannabinoid found in cannabis. This cannabinoid does not make people feel ‘stoned’ or intoxicated, and can alleviate some of the negative effects of too much. Scientists and researchers are investigating CBD to treat a wide range of conditions related to anxiety, chronic pain, depression and inflammation.
THCA & CBDA
Acid precursors of what becomes THC and CBD, these cannabinoids need heat to become ‘active’ in the traditional sense. In their raw form, these cannabinoids benefit the body by reducing inflammation and regulating the immune system.
Cannabinol (CBN) is what THC turns into as it ages. This cannabinoid has a synergistic effect with THC, leading to enhanced sedative effects, meaning it is useful in treating insomnia. The easiest way to find CBN is on ripe flowers.
“The ‘mother’ of all cannabinoids, cannabigerol (CBG), is the main building block for the later THC and CBD. As the plant matures, enzymes break down the acidic form of CBG, CBGA, into THCA, CBDA and CBCA (cannabichromene). The amount of CBDA that remains after this process becomes CBG through heat. CBG is gaining increasing attention for its potential in the treatment of, for example, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic pain and epilepsy.
Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is a rare cannabinoid that acts as an appetite suppressant. This cannabinoid has shown the ability to treat diabetes and several other conditions, including anxiety and osteoporosis.
Cannabichromene (CBC) has strong anti-inflammatory effects and treats pain.
Memory and depression
Cannabinoids can suppress memories, but can also act to preserve them. The mood-altering abilities of cannabinoids are promising in the treatment of anxiety and depression.
Cannabinoids can increase appetite, which is good for conditions that cause nausea, but they can also reduce the desire to eat and treat diseases such as diabetes.
The primary function of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is to maintain a constant set of conditions in our bodies. Thus, the ECS is key in regulating metabolic risk factors associated with obesity. Cannabinoids control glucose metabolism in several organs.
A negative response to stressful stimuli can cause physical damage. The fact that cannabinoid receptors are highly accumulated in the hippocampus, an area associated with memory, learning and emotional processes, suggests that ECS signalling prevents stress and worry.
Cannabinoids modulate the response of our immune system to inflammation and infection. Modulation of the endocannabinoid system interferes with cancer cell proliferation in two ways: either by inhibiting cell signalling or by inducing cancer cell death.
It is well known that cannabis can help with sleep. Studies suggest that cannabinoids improve sleep quality, reduce disturbance and reduce the amount of time it takes to go from fully awake to asleep.
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Published by Blood31/01/2023