What Are Cannabinoids?

The Cannabinoid System

Cannabis plants produce a group of chemicals that are known to produce mental and physical effects when consumed. These chemicals are compounds called cannabinoids. As they are produced within the cannabis plant, cannabinoids can also be referred to as ‘phytocannabinoids’.

The cannabinoid system is a major system of neuro-chemicals whose functional significance has only recently been explored. It took 30 years after discovering the first cannabinoid for us to realise that within our bodies and brain was an interconnected system of receptors specifically set up for these cannabinoids to relay messages for medicinal purposes. Right now we are in the process of a revolution in cannabinoid research globally.

There are currently around 85 discovered cannabinoids with the number growing as legal regulations are loosened to allow for further scientific research. In 2005 research from the University of Mississippi, USA showed us that cannabis contains 489 identifiable chemical compounds. At least 200 of these are cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. These are found in a wide range of concentration within the cannabis flower, leaf, and stem. Cannabinoids are becoming well known for their therapeutic potential and are the basis for the medical and scientific use of cannabis. Cannabinoids have the ability to act as antiemetics, antispasmodics, work well as appetite stimulants and also are known to have some analgesic effects.

Cannabinoids and Their Effects

The main effects from cannabis use are produced in the human body by the specific, membrane-bound cannabinoid receptors called CB1 (found mostly in the brain) and CB2 (mainly in the immune system), to which many of these cannabinoids bind. THC as an example is used by both the CB1 and CB2 receptors, and its neuroprotective qualities ease pain in most medical cannabis users.

The benefits of cannabinoids have been studied for a considerable number of years, the most popular of which have been found to have significant medicinal value are listed below.

THC – (∆9-Tetrahydrocannabinol)
Psychoactive component producing euphoria
Demonstrates promise in treating pain, nausea, appetite loss, sleep and stress disorders

THCV – Tetrahydrocannabivarin
Strongly psychoactive. In fact, more than THC, but the duration of effects is half as long. Found effective in treating anxiety, stress and panic disorders without suppressing emotion. Reduces tremors with Parkinsons Disease, Alzheimers and other neurological disorders

CBD – (Cannabidiol)
CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, therefore, does not enduce a euphoric high. It has been found to stimulate brain cell and bone growth. Treatment for insomnia and cancer cells.

CBC – (Cannabichromene)
CBC is also a non-psychoactive component of which has been found to be 10 x more effective than CBD in treating stress and anxiety. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. Anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties

CBN – (Cannabinol)
CBN has a mild non-psychoactive effect, though it does not induce a euphoric high. It occurs as a result of THC degradation. The most sedating of all the cannabinoids, it is able to treat insomnia, glaucoma and pain.

CBL (Cannabicyclol)
Non-psychoactive (does not induce a euphoric high)Light converts CBC to CBL


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