In recent years, the word cannabinoid has been trending on the internet. So far, researchers have identified over 85 different types of cannabinoids. However, most people are still wondering, what are cannabinoids and how do they work?
Our guide below explores the different types of cannabinoids and how they work in the body. It also covers all the key details about cannabinoids that you need to know. Read on to learn more.
What Is a Cannabinoid
A cannabinoid is a naturally-occurring chemical compound in the cannabis plant. These compounds account for the unique effects of the cannabis plant on the body.
The two common cannabinoids are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). Thanks to these compounds, many people today use cannabis for medicinal purposes. However, more studies are needed to fully understand how these compounds work in the body.
Marijuana flowers emit cannabinoids which aid in relieving several disease symptoms. These include anxiety, nausea, inflammation, and pain.
Cannabinoids compounds work by imitating neurotransmitters in the body. These neurotransmitters are known as endocannabinoids and are naturally generated by the body. They are also located in the body’s central and peripheral nervous systems.
Endocannabinoids work to maintain the body’s health and internal stability. However, the endocannabinoid system may develop a problem or a deficiency.
When this happens, physical symptoms and unpleasant complications occur. The endocannabinoids help facilitate communication between the affected cells, thus alleviating these symptoms.
How Do Cannabinoids Work in the Body?
Two different types of receptors receive communication from neurotransmitters. These receptors are CB1 and CB2. When activated, these receptors affect how the body system functions.
Proper communication between the receptors and the neurotransmitters affects the body. The endocannabinoid system controls physiological processes such as moods, appetite, pain, and memory. If it fails, the chemical compounds in cannabis can help the body regain this natural balance.
Most scientific studies on cannabis focus on how cannabinoids impact the body. When you ingest marijuana, cannabinoids often bind to the two receptor sites CB1 and CB2. Receptor CB1 binds the cannabinoids to the brain while CB2 binds them to the body.
Different cannabinoid types bind to different receptors. They also produce different effects on the body and brain. These effects depend on the binding receptor.
For example, CBN is attracted to the CB2 receptors located in the body. On the other hand, THC has an affinity to the CB1 receptors in the brain. This is why THC causes an intoxicating high feeling when consumed.
The cannabinoid’s profile of a cannabis plant determines the type of relief it offers in the body. Thanks to this concept, the cannabis plant is used for medicinal purposes.
Thanks to the promising research, cannabinoids are now legally sold for medicinal use. Some common synthesized cannabinoid treatments include Rimonabant, Nabilone, and Marinole. Fortunately, these synthesized forms are quite effective. However, the cannabis plant contains more medicinal value than its synthesized form.
Different cannabis strains have different percentages of cannabinoids. This also means that they treat different symptoms. Knowing which strain best relieves your symptoms is a valuable piece of information.
Why Are Cannabinoids Used as Medicine?
For thousands of years, our ancestors have used cannabinoids as a form of therapy. Many religions and cultures in the world have also embraced the cannabis plant. This is due to its therapeutic properties.
The legalization of marijuana led to more research about its medicinal capabilities. This research focuses on connecting the right cannabinoids with their receptors. This has helped heal symptoms such as anxiety and pain.
The legalization of marijuana led to more research about its medicinal capabilities. This research focuses on connecting the right cannabinoids with their receptors. Some cannabis consulting firms are helping the farmer with NHPS licensing, regulatory affairs consulting, and cosmetic product licensing in Canada. This helped decrease overhead costs and maximize profitability for licensed producers.
According to research, a lack of sufficient endocannabinoids in the body could have negative effects. This research has been the backbone of the theory of Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency. The main goal of using marijuana as a medicine is to achieve an internal balance in the body.
Some researchers believe that maintaining a balanced environment in the body could reduce the risk of developing certain health conditions. Thus, these scientists believe that the cannabis plant may have preventative qualities.
Evidence shows that proper nutrition, paired with cannabinoids and self-care, the body might strike an internal balance. This can also keep organs functioning at their best. However, more research is still needed to prove this belief.
The Chemical Composition of Cannabis
The cannabis plant has a very interesting chemical composition. Cannabinoids consist of an assortment of chemical compounds, enzymes, and acids. This assortment of compounds also differs depending on the strain.
CBD and THC are the highest chemical compounds in raw cannabis. However, some strains are exceptional to this rule. These strains consist of higher levels of obscure Cannabinoids such as CBC, CBN, and CBG.
However, it’s essential to note that some of these strains are genetically modified. This creates higher quantities of these rare cannabinoid chemical compounds.
However, there are other factors that affect the chemical composition of a strain. These factors include the cultivation method and the phenotype.
Different Varieties of Cannabinoids and How They Affect the Human Body
Different kinds of cannabinoids have different effects on the body. While some have anticonvulsant properties, others provide relief from pain.
While these compounds have numerous benefits, more research needs to be carried out to determine how diverse their therapeutic effects are. Below is a list of the main cannabinoid compounds in cannabis and how they affect the body:
- Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid
Also known as (THC-A), Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid is the most plentiful cannabinoid compound in raw and uncooked cannabis. It is also psychoactive.
When heated, it turns into THC in a process known as decarboxylation. This process can also occur when the fresh and raw cannabis plant dries. During decarboxylation, carbon dioxide from the plant is released into the air.
Some people also turn raw cannabis into juice to avoid consuming THC. This allows them to experience the medicinal benefits of marijuana without euphoria. THC-A is also converted into cannabinoid acid (CBN-A) when it loses its hydrogen atoms.
A 2011 research showed that THC-A could inhibit the COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes by up to 30%. These enzymes are a contributing factor to symptoms such as swelling, pain, and fever. Anti-inflammatory medications such as Aspirin are designed to target these enzymes.
Another 2018 research showed that THC-A led to apoptotic death of colon cancer cells. Researchers have taken this to suggest that THC-A can be used to cure cancer. However, more research is needed to understand its therapeutic capabilities regarding cancer cells.
- Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
THC is the most popular type of cannabinoid. It is also the main psychoactive compound in the marijuana plant. THC causes an intoxicating effect in the body, leaving you feeling high. More research has also found that THC has numerous medicinal benefits in the human body.
THC is a versatile cannabinoid with significant antiemetic effects. As a result, most cancer patients use it to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy treatment. These effects include vomiting and nausea.
THC is also used to stimulate appetite. This makes it an impeccable treatment for anorexia and wasting syndrome. It is also used for pain management, thanks to its analgesic properties.
TCH is also quite beneficial to people suffering from sleep-related issues. According to research, the THC compound is said to decrease rapid eye movement when sleeping. This helps PTSD patients reduce nightmares and get a more restful sleep.
Many people who use THC have stated that it helps them fall asleep easily. Other benefits of THC include stress relief, reducing muscle spasms, and a feeling of relaxation.
- Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THC-V)
THC-V is a potentially intoxicating psychoactive type of cannabinoid. Today, researchers are still studying its impacts on certain mental health conditions like PTSD. It is also believed to have anxiolytic properties.
THC-V is also an effective therapy for certain types of psychosis. According to limited experiments conducted in rodents, THC-V is also said to decrease appetite.
- Cannabidiol (CBD)
CBD is also another famous versatile cannabinoid with many healing benefits. It is also considered non-intoxicating. This makes it a better alternative for patients who want to remain clear-minded.
The most appealing quality of CBD is that it can mitigate the undesirable side effects of THC. These side effects include increased heartbeat and intoxication.
Cannabidiol has very powerful anti-inflammatory properties. It is also used to treat certain mental health issues. Research also shows that CBD is an antipsychotic and anxiolytic agent.
One of the most studied features of CBD is its anti-seizure properties. This is thanks to a young girl known as Charlotte, who suffered from a rare type of epilepsy known as Dravet’s syndrome. Charlotte used a high CBD cannabis strain called Charlotte’s Web to reduce seizures associated with her illness.
Charlotte’s Web strain helped to reduce the number of seizures she experienced from hundreds per week to only a few. Her story fueled the medical marijuana movement, which opened doors for more research. This is also a perfect example of how impactful cannabinoid’s healing powers can be.
- Cannabinol (CBN)
Cannabinol, also known as CBN, is a naturally occurring rare compound in marijuana. It is formed when cannabis is exposed to light and heat.
Its trace amounts are often less than 1% and have insignificant psychoactive properties. It is also the least researched cannabinoid compound to date.
- Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
Delta-8 THC is among the most trending cannabinoids now. It is also quite similar to Delta-9 THC. However, both compounds interact differently with the receptors.
Each compound is distinct and offers different effects. Delta-8 THC is less potent; thus, it’s more relaxing and clearer. It also lacks the typical psychoactive effects associated with THC, such as paranoia and anxiety.
- Cannabidivarin (CBD-V)
Cannabidivarin, also known as CBD-V, is a non-intoxicating chemical compound found in marijuana. It has shown anticonvulsant properties in several studies in rodents. Today, it’s being studied for its potential in the treatment of epilepsy.
- Cannabigerol (CBG)
CBG is a non-intoxicating chemical compound found in minimal quantities in cannabis. Cannabigerol is the chemical predecessor to Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol. Studies into CBG have also shown its potential as a pain management agent.
According to research, CBG has shown potential in obstructing the growth of colon cancer cells. This study also showed that CBG was able to block receptors that promoted the growth of cancer cells. However, this CBG’s effects on cancer cells still require additional research.
How Are Cannabinoids Used?
Medical marijuana comes in numerous product forms. These include raw cannabis, oils, oral sprays, and liquids. You can vaporize, eat or smoke synthetic and illicit cannabinoids.
Patients often smoke raw botanical marijuana for medicinal purposes. Gels have also been introduced into the market. To use this gel, you apply it directly to the skin for quick absorption.
What Are the Effects of Cannabinoids?
If you vaporize or smoke marijuana, you can experience its effects almost immediately. These effects include:
- Feeling relaxed
- Dry mouth
- A reflective and quiet mood
- Increased appetite
- A feeling of excitement and spontaneous laughter
The regular use of marijuana could have negative effects on human health. This is especially true when it’s started early in life. Users experience cognitive impairment and lasting dependence.
Prolonged use of cannabis leads to an increased risk of mental health disorders. It also leads to low satisfaction in life and poor educational outcomes.
How to Safely Use Cannabis for Medicinal Purposes
Are you considering cannabis for medicinal use? If you are, ensure you check each strain’s CBD:THC ratio. This will help you choose the right strain for your symptoms.
You should also avoid using cannabinoids with prescription drugs or alcohol. This is because the effects may be unpredictable. Mixing cannabinoids with other controlled substances may increase unpleasant side effects. Such side effects include paranoia, nausea, a sense of panic, and vomiting.
Now You Know What Cannabinoids Are and How They Work
Everyone today has heard about cannabinoids online. However, most people are still wondering, “What are cannabinoids, and how do they work?” Fortunately, our guide above has everything you need to know about cannabinoids.
Ensure you also check out other posts on our site for more educational materials.