Cannabinoids are compounds that are found within the Cannabis sativa plant. They are integral for allowing compounds within the plant to interact with the human nervous system. Just as the Cannabis plant is made up of cannabinoids, so our own bodies produce their own type. These are referred to as endocannabinoids and they are produced on demand by our bodies.
While there are over 480 different compounds present in the Cannabis plant, only 66 of them are considered to be cannabinoids. CBD makes up for around 40% of the plant resin extract making cannabinoids an important addition to CBD.
Cannabinoids and the Endocannabinoid System
The cannabinoids that are naturally occurring in plants are known as phytocannabinoids. Like cannabinoids, they interact with receptors known as CB1 and CB2 in the body. They operate as a network of binding sites along with cannabinoids which interact as chemical messengers. Together, these make the Endocannabinoid System or the ECS.
Sometimes it is easier to understand exactly what these receptors' roles are to be able to comprehend their function fully. CB1 receptors are primarily found in your brain and central nervous system. They can be found in other tissues but they aren’t as prominent. They affect things like your appetite, immune cells, thinking, pain perception, short term memory, and motor activity and coordination.
CB2 receptors are found in organs and cells that are usually associated with the immune system. This includes places like the skin, muscle, liver, kidneys, cardiovascular system, adipose tissue, bone, eyes, immune system, pancreas, reproductive system, and the respiratory tract.
These incredible receptors reach many parts of the body and it is unsurprising that cannabinoids found in CBD are able to interact with our systems to target areas that we may need pain management with.
The Different Types of Cannabinoids
There are a huge variety of cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant - over a hundred to be exact. Each is defined by its different type of psychoactivity which differs in each cannabinoid. For example, CBD isn’t psychoactive whereas THC is. Different types of cannabinoids include:
While there are a myriad of different cannabinoids, they are most prevalent in CBD which helps treat conditions such as chronic pain and anxiety.
The Effects of Cannabinoids
Scientists have found that cannabinoids do provide beneficial effects to users in many different ways. Understanding what each cannabinoid does though what type of CBD oil might be right for you.
CBD is becoming popular as a health supplement for many trying to cope with anxiety or managing chronic pain. It can be found in high levels within hemp plants and can be taken without worrying about psychoactive effects.
CBD is a versatile cannabinoid with incredible opportunities for different applications and treatments. It has been proven to be neuroprotective, anti-nausea, anti-anxiety, anti-convulsant, and analgesic. With a myriad of methods to ingest it from CBD oil to pastes, users are spoilt for choice with products.
Arguably the most famous cannabinoid, even after CBD, THC is what most people associate with the Cannabis sativa plant often, incorrectly, using the terms interchangeably. THC has a range of effects on the CB1 and CB2 receptors which interact with its psychoactive properties.
While many people consider THC to just be a recreational cannabinoid to use to inebriate users giving them the sensation of feeling ‘high’, this is not the case. THC has been shown to have plenty of therapeutic applications that are used regularly as medical treatment, particularly in the United States.
Similar to THC and THCA, CBDA is the precursor of CBD. Converted to CBD once going through the decarboxylation, one study has found that it has anti-inflammatory and anti-hyperalgesia effects.
CBDA is incredibly hard to study in a lab due to its low stability. This means that the chemical structure changes easily. Studies continue though to assess its benefits in humans and other animals.
While you may have heard of THC, you might not have heard of THCA. THCA or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid is the precursor of THC. The best place to find this component is from a fresh Cannabis sativa plant.
THCA is converted into THC during the drying process but doesn’t fully become THC until it is exposed to heat. This can be done through smoking or vaping. The process that occurs to allow for this is known as decarboxylation.
One study has shown that THCA shows potent neuroprotective activity meaning that it could be used as an alternative to THC in treatment. While THC is more popular for now, it certainly has plenty of potential with further research.
CBG or CBGA
Referred to as the parent of cannabinoids, CBGA or cannabigerolic acid is known as this due to all other cannabinoids deriving from it. When the Cannabis sativa plant is flowering, the highest amounts of CBGA can be found.
Very little of the cannabinoid is left after it has been exposed to heating through vaping or smoking, though when the process of decarboxylation occurs it transforms what is left of the CBGA into CBG. It has been found to have antifungal properties.
Through the oxidation process of THC, CBN or cannabinol is produced. This process can happen through exposing dried cannabis to oxygen or light over a particular time frame. This is a good thing to know if you want to boost the CBN content over your cannabis.
Proven to deliver anticonvulsant and anti-inflammatory effects, it also appears to be a natural treatment for those who suffer from insomnia.
CBCA or CBC
CBCA or cannabichromenic acid is a cannabinoid worth knowing about for its unusual properties. It has been found to produce cell death in the Cannabis plant’s leaves. This is thought to be a defence mechanism, used to create more energy for healthy leaves and buds. When CBCA goes through the decarboxylation process, it is transformed into CBC or cannabichromene.
CBCA is considered a cannabinoid worth researching as it has been found to exhibit anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity, its ability to reduce THC intoxication in mice, antibiotic and antifungal effects, and observed cytotoxicity in cancer cells. This could provide a wide range of potential medical treatments.
Finally, THCV, otherwise known as tetrahydrocannabivarin, has a similar structure to THC but a different precursor. THCV’s precursor is known as THCVA or tetrahydrocannabivarinic acid.
Having initially been tested on mice, THCV has been shown to produce weight loss, decreased body fat and serum leptin concentrations with increased energy expenditure in obese mice. This provides a lot of hope for those who struggle with obesity and possible treatments in the near future.
The Science of Cannabinoids
As stated, cannabinoids have plenty of potential for transforming modern medicine. With continuous research, cannabinoids may be able to be utilised to continue to treat minor conditions and some that are more serious like cancer. These effects are very promising for continued studies, particularly as they expand to human trials.
Impressed by the incredible effects of cannabinoids and want to know more about CBD oil? Get in touch with us at CBD Farmacy to see how we can help you. With a wide range of CBD products from pastes and topicals to oils and capsules, we have something for every user.