A quick guide to Cannabinoids
Weed is everywhere right now, well not literally, but it’s getting pretty close! There’s a lot to learn about cannabis and we continue to discover more about this amazing plant everyday. Here are some basics to jump start your cannabis knowledge.
When I moved to Colorado all I knew was that weed is a plant and you smoke it… sometimes you can eat it, and that’s about it. After being immersed in the industry my mind is pretty much blown with cannabis' complexity and how much MORE there is to discover about the benefits of this versatile plant. Cannabis was once thought of as alternative health, but is becoming a mainstream treatment option in our country and we are loving it! Look forward to more posts in this series that dive deeper into our personal experiences with the plant and provide education and product recommendations.
Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant that have the ability to effect neurotransmitters in the brain. Throughout our body we have CB receptors that cannabinoids can bind to and work their magic on. These receptors are in our brain, digestive tract, immune system and many organs that we attribute to vital functions throughout our body. Our bodies actually have an endogenous cannabinoid system which consists of these receptors and contributes physiologically to processes in the body including mood, pain, memory, appetite and regulating the psychoactive effects of cannabis. The most frequently discussed cannabinoids are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) descriptions of each below along with the most commonly referenced cannabinoids:
THC: The most abundant and talked about cannabinoid. THC is the primary contributor to the psychoactive effects of cannabis- what makes you feel high, but can also help manage headaches, stress and mood. THC is so widespread because it's bred that way. When growers cross pollinate strains they are usually trying to increase the THC content.
THCV: A psychoactive cannabinoid that contributes to a more clear headed, euphoric high.
THCA: This is the acidic form of THC that is converted in the presence of heat ie when you smoke it. Aka THCA is the raw form primarily found in the living plant and THC is the activated form of THCA coming to fruition after the plant has been heated. Research suggests that THCA has potential as a powerful anti-cancer agent. I am getting access to raw cannabis soon and will be able to cold press the leaves (Cold pressed juice=the most nutrient dense thing on the planet + the raw form of cannabis with all of these awesome cannabinoids, basically it will be one of the healthiest things you can consume and I can't wait!)
CBD: Cannbidiol the hot cannabinoid that everyone wants and you can currently get nationwide, but the DEA is currently limiting the access to it (which is ffffed up). This is the most abundant cannabinoid found in hemp. This is most commonly associated with healing benefits such as pain relief, anti-seizure, anti-anxiety, etc. This can help regulate the psycho-active effect of THC.
CBN: This is a degradation compound of THC which is known to aid with sleep. Leave your bud on the windowsill for a few months then smoke it and you'll know what I mean. Luckily they can isolate CBN and have capsule forms of it so no need to "age" the bud to get these effects.
CBG: Another cannabinoid on the healing side, CBG helps with glaucoma, pain and is the “new CBD” as it is isolated and more health benefits are attributed to its presence.
CBC: Contributes to anti-inflammatory and anti-viral effects of cannabis. Research suggests when CBC is present along with CBD and THC it acts as an anti-depressant.
These are a few of the 113 cannabinoids that scientists have been able to isolate thus far. These cannabinoids hold considerable therapeutic value on their own, but when combined with other compounds found in the cannabis plant the benefits are much greater than they are alone. This is the Entourage Effect which I will be talking a lot more about in a later post.
Smoking, vaping and edibles are only a few of the many MANY ways to consume cannabis. Living in Colorado we are very fortunate to have the access to tons of innovative products. I will follow up with more posts about cannabis and all of the fun ways to experience it. Please let us know your questions and what you want to see next in the cannabis series.
If you would like to read more about cannabinoids Medical Jane is a great resource.