When it comes to talking about cannabis, there are usually two cannabinoids which everyone knows about, THC and CBD. The most well known cannabinoids, the chemical compounds in marijuana, are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which gets you ‘high’ and the non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD). But did you know there are more available than just those two? And these also have some pretty good health boosting benefits. What is great about the field of cannabis is there has been an increasing amount of research done and it just keeps on growing. There have been biochemical studies of the plant as well as physiological and chemical studies of its pharmacology.
However the research specifically into cannabinoids and their benefits has been held back, in particular in the United States. The main reason is because of the regulations. This means information on the subject is a little patchy an often displays inconsistencies. Now with the changes in regulations, and the ongoing legalization it means cannabinoids can be researched in better detail. So here is a break down of some of the other cannabinoids and what they can do for you.
What Is A Cannabinoid?
Cannabinoids are naturally produced in cannabis and have the unique ability to interact with your bodies, more specifically, the receptors in your cells. These happen through a series of pathways and can alter releases in the brain. And they can cause effects in your bodies. So far scientists have identified 113 cannabinoids and some of them have very distinct effects. As it stands, THC, CBD and CBN have the most substantial body of research behind them. The first cannabinoids to be identified were CBD and CBN back in the 1940s. It wasn’t until 1964 THC was isolated and its structure identified.
What is The Endocannabinoid System?
The endogenous cannabinoids system (ECS), is the network of cell receptors which interacts with cannabinoids in your body. If you didn’t have this system, cannabis wouldn’t cause any reaction and would essentially be irrelevant except for its crop value. Your body actually produces its own cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids. This is an area which there is still a lot of research to be done. In fact, as human beings, our cannabis receptors weren’t discovered until 1988. This is what prompted more investigation for endocannabinoids in our bodies. Up until this point, scientists believed the reactions with cannabis was down to an interaction between our cells and the plant cannabinoids.
But now it is understood there are chemical mechanisms which make this happen. There is still a lot of mystery surrounding how our bodies actually create cannabinoids. Your network of receptors, which comprise the ECS is all over the human body. The receptors are located principally in the brain and include cannabinoid receptor type 1, or CB1 receptors. There are also receptors in parts of your eye and retina and in both the male and female reproductive systems. The other set of receptors, which are cannabinoid receptors type 2, and are mainly in the immune system. The highest amount of CB2 receptors, exist in the spleen. These are the ones, which according to recent research, help with inflammation. While these are the two receptors which we have most information about, there is more and more evidence there are more types
Types Of Cannabinoids And What They Can Do For You
The cannabis plant produces its own cannabinoids. These are called “phytocannabinoids” and are completely natural. They are similar in structure to our own endocannabinoids and can bind with CB1 and CB2 receptors. However they are not the same, which means they can create unique effects. This is what people are looking for when they are using cannabis for either pain relief or recreational.
These cannabinoids are produced in the highest concentrations in the resin. This is the product of a gland-like structure called trichomes. These appear on the flowering buds of cannabis plants and look like tiny crystal mushrooms and are very delicate. If there are a lot of trichomes which are larger in size this means more cannabinoid-rich resin. Cannabinoids can also be found in varying concentrations throughout the leafy structures of the plant. They appear in the highest concentrations in the flowering parts of female marijuana plants.
There aren’t actually that many cannibinoids which are psychoactive. THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is one of them. It’s the only psychoactive cannabinoid that exists in the biggst amount in dried marijuana flower. This is what makes smoking or ingesting the plant have the ‘high’ effect on you. THC binds to the CB1 receptors in the brain can creates an alteration in the release of chemicals in the brain. You get a dopamine release, as well as changes in memory, movement, mood, perception and cognition. This has led to the other therapeutic effects it can have.
One of the first cannabinoids to be discovered, CBD, or cannabidiol, is non-psychotropic. This means that cannabidiol does not have the psychoactive effects of THC. It can also counteract the cognitive effects of THC. CBD is what has allowed cannabis to be legal in CBD-based medicines and supplements. Medical patients often don’t like THC and find the psychoactive effects unpleasant. So CBD-only products can offer the medical and therapeutic benefits of cannabis, without the high. CBD is primarily extracted from hemp plants, which have a trace amount of THC.
This cannabinoid is similar to THCA and THC. Also known as cannabidiolic acid, it’s converted to CBD after being exposed to heat or after time. Like CBD, CBDA is also non-psychotropic, and has so far been seen as doing a great job at fighting nausea.
CBGA, is also known as cannabigerolic acid. It is another prevalent cannabinoid and is produced by the cannabis plant after THCA and CBDA. Where it comes into play is it is an antibiotic, as well as antibacterial, anti-tumor, and antiseptic. There are also evidence from recent studies it can help to treat cachexia which is something people suffer from when they have chemotherapy.
When cannabis becomes heated, Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, or THCA starts having some magic happen. This non-psychoactive component has a number of reported numerous health benefits. These include anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, antitumor, and immunomodulatory properties.
THCV is also known as tetrahydrocannabivarin acid. It has very similar chemical makeup to THC, and is also psychoactive. There are also numerous medicinal benefits, which include the potential to regulate blood sugar and treat Type 2 Diabetes. Other benefits are its propensity to stimulate bone health, and it is also thoght to be able to have an impact on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
CBDVA or cannabidivarinic acid is also a non-psychoactive cannabinoid. It has recently shown great promise as an anticonvulsant . This means it can really help epilepsy sufferers.
This is a chemical result of aged cannabis. When marijuana gets old, CBN, or cannabinol, is what was THC. This converts to CBN with age. CBN may help pain reduction as well as sleep problems. It can also fight MSRA bacteria and has anti-seizure characteristics.
Non psychoactive cannabichromenic has the possibility of helping to fighting cancer. It can also potentially assist with pain and inflammation which is caused by arthritis. If you liked this blog post, please check out our other post on how marijuana can help with stress and anxiety.