Endocannabinoids, or cannabinoids produced inside the body that bind to our receptors, are a chemical component found in cannabis and created by the body. The endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is primarily concerned with maintaining internal balance, features endocannabinoids, or internally produced cannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids, often known as marijuana cannabinoids since they are made by the cannabis plant, mimic the actions of our endocannabinoids and contribute to the pleasant effects associated with THC.
Classes of cannabinoids
The cannabinoids are separated into the following subclasses:
- Cannabigerols (CBG)
- Cannabichromenes (CBC)
- Cannabidiol (CBD)
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
- Cannabinol (CBN)
- Cannabinodiol (CBDL)
- Other cannabinoids including cannabicyclol (CBL), cannabielsoin (CBE) and cannabitriol (CBT)
Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that can be found in raw cannabis. THC-A is the most common cannabinoid in uncooked, unheated raw cannabis. When THC-A is heated to a specific temperature, it changes into THC immediately. When fresh cannabis dries and cures naturally, decarboxylation occurs naturally without the help of people. Carbon dioxide is released from the plant as a result of decarboxylation. To get the benefits of medical marijuana without ingesting THC, some patients juice raw cannabis. Air exposure for lengthy durations can also cause THC-A to lose hydrogen atoms, resulting in THC-A changing to cannabinol acid (CBN-A). CBN is formed via the same chemical processes as THC.
THC-A was found to block two enzymes, COX-1 and COX-2, which contribute to symptoms such as fever, pain, and edema in a 2011 study. Anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin are used to target these proteins. THC-A was found to inhibit these enzymes by up to 30%, suggesting considerable anti-inflammatory effects. The cannabinoid chemical, which is found in marijuana, has antiemetic and neuroprotective effects in numerous research studies. THC-A was discovered to induce apoptotic cell death in colon cancer and polyp cells in a 2018 study, suggesting potential future therapeutic value as an anti-tumor medication.
Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THC-V) is a psychoactive cannabinoid that has a high concentration of the psychoactive component THC. It’s under study’s impact on mental illness, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to early findings, it appears to have anti-anxiety effects and may be used to treat a range of psychoses. THC-V, according to a few rat tests, appeared to reduce hunger in rats.
The most well-known cannabinoid is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which makes up 60 to 80 percent of all cannabis compounds. While THC’s intoxication effect was the first recognized advantage of marijuana, extensive study have revealed several medical benefits. It is a versatile cannabinoid that has a variety of uses. THC has strong antiemetic effects, to cite just one example. Many cancer patients use it to combat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy treatments. It can also be used to improve appetite, making it an important medical tool for cachexia and anorexia nervosa.
THC, especially in combination with other cannabis compounds, has been shown to have strong anti-inflammatory effects. For example, research suggests that THC might be particularly beneficial for pain management. THC’s pain relieving qualities are thought to help relieve suffering associated with a variety of ailments. THC has shown to help people who have trouble sleeping. THC is believed to reduce rapid eye movement during sleep, which may assist individuals suffering from PTSD nightmares in falling asleep faster and sleeping more soundly. Many patients claim that it makes it simpler to nod off. Other well-known uses include preserving the nervous system, controlling muscular spasms, and providing a sense of calmness and stress relief.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid present in marijuana that has no psychotropic qualities. Cannabidiol does not have any psychoactive effects. Cannabidiol can reduce the impact of THC. Scientists are currently researching its therapeutic benefits as a result of this. Up to now, there’s evidence suggesting it may be utilized to lower inflammation, ease muscular spasms, relieve certain psychotic disorders, and control epileptic seizures. It also has antioxidant features.
In some countries, including the United States, CBD is manufactured as an oil and topical applications (lotions, creams, and ointments). As long as it has a concentration of 0.3%, it is legal to have and acquire since it produces no psychoactive effects.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-intoxicating chemical found in cannabis. It’s most often present at trace amounts. It has been shown to have little to no psychotropic effects. CBN currently has limited study.
Cannabigerol (CBG) is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid present in trace amounts (less than 1%) in medical marijuana. CBG is the chemical precursor to THC and CBD. According to one research, CBG has anti-cancer properties. CBG has been shown to slow the growth of colorectal cancer cells in mice, which reduced tumor development. It was also able to block cell proliferation receptors that cause cancer cell development. This is very early research, but medical trials are still a long way from proving CBG’s efficacy as an anticancer drug in people.
What foods contain cannabinoids?
Cacao is high in anandamide, a cannabinoid produced naturally by the brain. Italian researchers have also confirmed that black truffles are high in anandamide. Kavalactones, which are found in kava, a medicinal tea from the Pacific islands, interact directly with CB1 receptors and enhance mood and memory. Kava has a long history as a natural cure for anxiety and pain, which may be attributed to this chemical’s capacity to mimic the body’s own endocannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids (or other chemicals that interact with cannabinoid receptors) or both are present in several blooms, such as helichrysum, coneflower, electric daisy, and Japanese liverwort.
What do cannabinoids do to the body?
Cannabinoids act on cannabinoid receptors in the body to produce a variety of effects. Cannabinoids that are used for medical and recreational purposes have physiological as well as regulatory influences on several bodily processes. Every function in the body has its own set of criteria for functioning effectively. Homeostasis is when the body’s equilibrium is achieved. Cannabinoids act upon receptors to elicit homeostatic responses throughout the entire body in order to achieve homeostasis.
Effects on the nervous system
Cannabinoids interact with CB1 receptors in the central nervous system to produce effects. Immune system cells in the brain also have CB2 receptors, but their function and influence are not yet completely understood. Our bodies already employ cannabinoid molecules to control a variety of functions, making them inherently endowed with numerous targets that cannabis plants may activate. The main hub of the body’s CB1 receptors is in the brain, where they control a wide range of neurological processes.
Cannabinoid CB1 receptors are the most plentiful of their kind in the brain. They control the release of other neurotransmitters, including serotonin, dopamine, and glutamate. CB1 receptors are involved in cannabis’ euphoric effects, but they also have an important role in pain top-down regulation from the brain’s perspective.
CB1 and CB2 receptors, while not as common in the nervous system as CB1, are nevertheless present in certain brain cells, which assist with pain relief and inflammation management. They’re mostly found on immune cells circulating throughout the body and brain via the circulation. Cannabinoids and CB2 receptors may play a role in the damage caused by many human illnesses, particularly those affecting the skin, bones, liver, respiratory system, cardiovascular system, and gastrointestinal tract. The extent to which cannabinoids impact all of these issues is still clinically unknown.
Cannabinoids have several therapeutic applications due to their CB1 and CB2 receptors. Cannabinoids may be used to treat a variety of skin problems since both receptors are present in the skin where they may be utilized to cure various illnesses. The primary distinction between the two is that CB1 receptors are a key target of drug addiction in the brain, whereas CB2 receptors only create non-intoxicating effects. While CBD has at least 14 different mechanisms of action, it does not act on the CB1 receptor like THC, which is why it may provide therapeutic benefits without intoxicating the user.
Consumers should be aware that everyone’s endocannabinoid system is unique in light of growing cannabis research and medical applications becoming more apparent. The way our bodies react to phytocannabinoids varies substantially across individuals. We’re well aware that the ECS exists, and we know that cannabinoids have therapeutic effects when they bind to cannabinoid receptors. However, cannabis is a sophisticated plant, and scientific agreement on its health effects remains elusive. Researchers are just getting started in figuring out how cannabis ingredients interact with one another to influence our bodies and alter our feelings.
Cannabidivarin (CBD-V) is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid that has shown anticonvulsant effects in animal tests. It’s being studied for its potential in treating epilepsy because of its anti-convulsive properties.