It’s time for a crash course in Cannabinoids!
If you’re reading this article, chances are you’ve heard the word “cannabinoid” before. Maybe you’ve even heard it used in conjunction with “cannabis” or “marijuana.” But what exactly is a cannabinoid?
Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found in cannabis plants. These compounds interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) — a network of receptors throughout the body that respond to cannabinoids to help regulate things like pain, mood, memory, and appetite.
In this article, we’ll break down what all these terms mean — starting with some basics about cannabinoids themselves!
What Are Cannabinoids?
So, what exactly are cannabinoids?
Ever since the discovery of the body’s natural endocannabinoid system in the late 1980s, we’ve come to understand that the brain makes its own “endogenous” cannabinoids naturally and that these compounds play a critical role in regulating many of the body’s most basic functions. As you learn more about the potential therapeutic effects of cannabis (both in hemp and marijuana), and its most active constituents, the cannabinoids, one thing will become quickly evident: cannabis has a profound influence on the human body.
Dr. Dustin Sulak, a leading researcher, and practitioner of what some have dubbed cannabinopathic medicine wrote:
“Endocannabinoids and their receptors are found throughout the body: in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells. In each tissue, the cannabinoid system performs different tasks, but the goal is always the same: homeostasis, the maintenance of a stable internal environment despite fluctuations in the external environment”
These receptors not only work in the body’s natural endocannabinoids, but they also fit the pot plant’s cannabinoids. Much like a lock fits a key, which explains how one plant can provide so many seemingly unrelated health benefits.
Different Types of Cannabinoids
THC is by far the most known and most psychoactive of cannabis’ unique chemical compounds. There is also CBD, CBN, THC-A, and more! Each one has its distinct medical benefits.
Most retail cannabis shops display THC and CBD percentages for the strains they sell. Soon, a whole range of nutraceuticals will widely be available. These medical alternatives offer tailored cannabinoid blends designed to boost specific functions in the body.
For now, here’s a primer on the key compounds to keep in mind!
What is THC?
If you know only one cannabinoid, it’s probably THC.
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the most famous of the cannabinoids present in marijuana. It binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in our body and brain, causing a range of effects from relaxation to euphoria. Medical and recreational marijuana both have high THC content and are responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana (or “weed”, if you’re into that kind of thing). It also has medicinal properties that are being studied by scientists all over the world.
Other cannabinoids have therapeutic properties, but none of them make music sound better, and ice cream taste better, like THC. One of the safest therapeutic substances, it’s proven to help treat and prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s, and many other serious conditions.
Also, it can get you high as tits.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, has been on the radar of both the pharmaceutical industry and the medical-marijuana community for decades. It’s one of more than 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. The “CBD” part of the name comes from the fact that it’s a cannabinoid that doesn’t get you high. It’s also non-psychoactive, which means it doesn’t change how you feel or act! Even more, it’s a safe and highly effective treatment for pain, insomnia, nausea, MS, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and a host of other serious conditions. It’s also used as an alternative mental health treatment.
If you want to learn more about CBD, its history, benefits, and application you can find The ABCs of CBD in our store!
What is THCa?
A precursor, an acidic form of THC. THCa or TCH-A is non-psychoactive and found in abundance in uncured cannabis. THC-A must be heated to the point of decarboxylation (around 200 degrees Fahrenheit) before it converts to THC. Based on that fact, it is why you can’t just eat raw bud to get high. It’s a bit of an enigma, because it doesn’t get you high, but it does have some pretty cool health benefits.
THCa is one of the most abundant cannabinoids found in raw plant material, which means that if you’re eating cannabis or hemp products, you’ll be getting more THCa than anything else.
THC-A offers many of the same benefits as THC, including anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, and anti-spasmodic properties. The great thing about THCa is that it has anti-inflammatory properties and can help with things like arthritis and even cancer.
You can learn more about the difference between THC and THCa here!
What is CBN?
CBN, or Cannabichromene, is a cannabinoid that reduces pain and inflammation, and may even prevent cancer.
An oxidation product of THC, CBN is less psychoactive than its antecedent, with a strongly sedative effect. So if you’ve ever smoked weed that put you right to sleep, a high CBN profile was probably the reason. This is great if you are an insomniac, but terrible if you are at a networking event. Most of the time CBN forms when you let your herb sit around for a prolonged period with exposure to high heat, light, and an unsealed container.
It can also happen if you cook your edibles too long or at too high of a temperature.
So there you have it: cannabinoids.
With so many options out there, we hope this guide has helped you figure out which cannabinoid is right for you. They’re a super cool group of chemicals found in cannabis plants. They’re responsible for the effects of these plants on your body—and they’re pretty good for you!
Some people believe that cannabinoids work better when used together, so if you’re thinking about trying them out for medical purposes, make sure to do your research and talk to your doctor!
Come back to The Happy Campers for all your latest cannabis news and findings.