What is a Cannabinoid?
One word that every marijuana patient needs to know is cannabinoid. Cannabinoids like THC and CBD are the chemical compounds produced by cannabis flowers that provide the relief for the various symptoms and conditions that have made medical marijuana so useful. These active ingredients work by imitating compounds our bodies naturally produce, called endocannabinoids, which activate to maintain internal stability and health. To put it simply, they mediate communication between cells, and when there is a deficiency or problem with our endocannabinoid system, unpleasant symptoms and physical complications occur. We hope this brief introduction to the cannabinoids THC and CBD sheds some light on the often confusing terminology used in medical marijuana marketing and will help you make a more informed decision when choosing the medicine that’s right for you.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) activates two different receptors in the body. One type of receptors are generally located in the nervous system and they are responsible for the psychoactive effect that THC can cause. The other type of receptors are more located in the immune and gastrointestinal systems. They play a major role in minimizing inflammation. THC can help minimize the negative effects of stress. THC receptor activation promotes a process called Long Term Potentiation, which improves the ability to learn. It also can help protect spatial memories, due to it’s effect in the hippocampus. Protection from stress isn’t the only psychological benefit of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The psychological field have found it useful in the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and exposure-based phobia therapy. These are just two of the many forms of anxiety, and cannabis is often used to counteract the other types as well. Psychology has also pointed to THC as a regulator of adult brain development.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the second most abundant cannabinoid in cannabis and is what gives cannabis its sedative effect. There has actually been a substantial amount of experiments done on cannabidiol that has proved its healing powers. Research suggests that CBD could be used for treating symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases, diabetes, cancer, nausea, bowel disorders, and many other hard-to-control side effects. CBD has even demonstrated neuroprotective effects, and its anti-cancer potential is currently being explored. The compound has medicinal benefits without the “high” that some patients do not desire. This makes CBD appealing to patients who are looking for an alternative to their current meds, which often have opiate-like effects.
In total there are 66 compounds in cannabis classified as cannabinoids. In addition to THC and CBD other classes of cannabinoids are Cannabigerols (CBG), Cannabichromenes (CBC), Cannabinol (CBN), Cannabinodiol (CBDL), cannabicyclol (CBL), cannabielsoin (CBE) and cannabitriol (CBT). The main way in which all of the cannabinoids are differentiated is based on their degree of psychoactivity. For example, CBG, CBC and CBD are not known to be psycholgically active agents whereas THC, CBN and CBDL along with some other cannabinoids are known to have varying degrees of psychoactivity.