Describe what cannabinoids are, how they work, and what some of the most common ones are, along with their medicinal benefits.
Research into cannabis and the molecular compounds it produces, called cannabinoids, has resulted in the discovery of hundreds of different cannabinoids. Several of their medicinal benefits overlap, but each of them have their own unique effect on the body through their interaction with our natural ECS (endocannbinoid system). THC and CBD are the most frequently studied and are found high quantities. THC and CBD are major cannabinoids.
Other minor cannabinoids, like CBG, CBN, and THCV for example, are typically found in small percentages. Just because they are minor, doesn’t mean they are useless. Research has shown that both major and minor cannabinoids have their own benefits as medicine.
There are two types of cannabinoids. exogenous and endogenous. Exogenous cannabinoids, or exocannabinoids, are found outside the body. These are the ones we find in cannabis plants, like THC and CBD. Endogenous cannabinoids, also called endocannabinoids, are made inside our own bodies. These are ones our body naturally produces on its own, like anandamide, and another commonly talked about endocannabinoid, called 2AG.
Anandamide is sometimes referred to as the bliss molecule. We’ve discovered anandamide causes the blissful feeling of euphoria known as a runner’s high, reported after running and exercise. This is in part because the molecular structure of anandamide is very similar to the THC molecule, making it have similar effects as THC.
CBG, which starts out as CBGA, is the mother cannabinoid. It is one of the first cannabinoids to develop, and over time, it converts itself into one of the three major cannabinoids in their initial acid form, THCA, CBDA, and CBCA. The medicinal benefits of CBG by itself are being an anti-inflammatory, neuroprotectant, appetite stimulant, antibacterial, and a potential tool in fighting certain cancers.
This is the initial acid form of THC. Non-intoxicating in it’s acid form, THCA converts to the psychoactive cannabinoid THC when heat is applied.
A major cannabinoids, and one of the most famous, THC is psychoactive and is responsible for causing the high effect commonly associated with cannabis. It’s known to help with pain and muscle issues, reducing inflammation, increasing appetite, reducing nausea, and providing consumers with better quality sleep.
The initial acid form of CBD. CBDA converts to CBD when it is heated.
Another major cannabinoid, and one of the most famous, CBD is non-psychoactive. It’s known to be helpful in treating neurological disorders like epilepsy, reducing pain and inflammation, reducing anxiety and depression, reducing nausea, regulating blood pressure, and more is being research.
The initial acid form of CBC. CBCA converts to CBC when it is heated.
CBC shows signs of helping with pain relief, reducing inflammation, protecting neurons and brain cells, and improved gut health.
Known for helping reduce anxiety, stimulating bone growth, and working as a neuroprotectant, the benefits of THCV are often linked to weight loss. Studies have found THCV to suppress appetite and even regulate blood sugar levels.
Commonly talked about as causing drowsiness, but the research on this inconclusive. Research suggests CBN has a relationship with THC, potentially working to amplify the effects of THC when the two cannabinoids are consumed to together. CBN has been suggested as an antibacterial agent, a neuroprotectant, an appetite stimulant, and anti-inflammatory.