You are most likely familiar with THC and CBD but did you know that scientists have now identified over 100 separate cannabinoids in the Cannabis Sativa plant?
THC is the most infamous cannabinoid and CBD is currently the media darling but many of the lesser known cannabinoids have their benefits too so we decided to shine a little light on them too!
What Are Cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are compounds that can be found naturally in any Cannabis Sativa plant.
Take a look at your flowers up close and you'll notice tiny, shiny crystals. These are called trichomes and cannabinoids live inside there!
Cannabinoids affect us by interacting with the endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system is found throughout the central nervous system. It has the important job of regulating the body by balancing its internal environment in a process called homeostasis.
Achieving homeostasis is how the body modulates our sleep, appetite, mood, immune system, pain and inflammation responses.
Just two examples of how the body arrives at homeostasis are :
- increasing your breathing during exercise to ensure organs get an increased amount of oxygen to support the activity.
- Removing toxins from your body via the waste system.
Cannabinoids work by binding to various receptor sights in the brain (CB1) or body (CB2) and produce a wide range of effects depending on the part of the body they bind with.
Different stains of cannabis have different quantities of various cannabinoids. This is why some strains are used recreationally, whilst others are favoured for their medicinal properties. You can take advantage of different cannabinoids by vaping at different temperatures.
Animals also have an endocannabinoid system which is why its becoming increasing popular to medicate pets with cannabis.
THC - the most sought after and the most infamous
Tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC is found in the female cannabis flower. It is the best known and most sought after compound in cannabis, especially for recreational users.
Once entering the human system, THC attaches to the CB1 receptor in the brain which encourages the release of dopamine which can induce feelings of euphoria.
THC is the only cannabinoid to reported provide a psychoactive response, a high and a therapeutic benefit.
Research carried out by scientists has found that THC may be a better anti-inflammatory than aspirin.
Other medical applications of THC include reducing nausea, stimulating appetite.
- THC evaporates most efficiently at 175°C - typically a middle setting on a Dry Herb Vaporizer.
CBD - The media darling
Cannabidiol or CBD was very much the vogue cannabinoid of 2018 and it looks like it is here to stay. It has been lauded by doctors, media and politicians alike for its ability to successfully treat a wide of diseases whilst having no effect on behaviour.
Now that CBD rich strains have now been adopted by the NHS it is seemingly never out of the news for reducing daily seizure count in young children.
As well as epilepsy, its most popular medical applications are pain relief, nausea and anxiety.
Across the UK, an entire industry has appeared out of no-where and users have the choice of medicating with tinctures, CBD Vape Oils, lotions and many more.
- The most effective temperatures for vaping CBD are between 170 - 180°C.
THCV - no munchies here!
As its abbreviation suggests, Tetrahydrocannabivarin or THCV has a similar molecular structure to THC however, it boasts very different effects.
Rather than inducing a case of the munchies, it entered public consciousness for its ability to help patients lose weight by suppressing appetite.
Other medical applications include diabetes and curbing panic attacks.
THCV is reported to be only 25% psychoactive as THC. The high from this cannabinoid is said to positively influence some of the negative influence of THC such as paranoia.
- THCV evaporates at 220°C so you’ll have to turn your herb vaporizer right up!
CBG - Unexplored with massive potential.
CBG is present in cannabis at very low levels and as a result, it is one of the lesser researched cannabinoids.
CBG works by activating the CB1 receptors and may help reduce some of the less desirable consequences associated with THC such as paranoia.
Research has been published by the British Journal of Pharmacology that discovered CBG may have anti-fungal properties, the ability to inhibit pain and also shows promise as an antidepressant.
CBG also lowers blood pressure and widens blood vessels. This makes it very useful in treating glaucoma which is caused by high intraocular blood pressure.
- CBG has one of the lowest boiling points of any cannabinoid. Can be vaped at your vaporizer's lowest setting.
CBN - The serendipitous cannabinoid.
Cannabinol or CBN is unique because it is not naturally produced within the cannabis plant. Instead, CBN is synthesised when THC has been left exposed to light for a prolonged period of time.
Light causes THC molecules breakdown and turn into CBN.
Cannabinol is a powerful sedative and research suggests it is double as effective as diazepam.
Unlike THC, CBN has no psychoactive properties which help make it a popular choice for patients suffering from insomnia who do not necessarily want to get high.
Further to its sedative effects, CBN is suggested to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties whilst also promoting the healthy growth of bones.
- CBN is best vaped at 185°C.
We’ve covered just five of the 100 or so identified cannabinoids and have probably mentioned over a dozen medical uses.
Public opinion on cannabis is changing fast and it is becoming increasingly difficult for anti-cannabis campaigners to deny the wide range of benefits cannabis can potentially have on medicine and society
As more and more research is carried out on this amazing plant we can expect its use to become even more widespread, both medically and recreationally. You can’t deny science!