Cannabinoids and Terpenoids
Cannabinoids and Terpenoids occur naturally within the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids are one of a class of diverse chemical compounds that act on cannabinoid receptors in cells that alter neurotransmitter release in the brain. The most known cannabinoid is the phytocannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is another major constituent of the plant. There are at least 113 different cannabinoids isolated from cannabis, exhibiting varied effects.Traditionally cannabis has THC levels of around 12-21% and CBD levels of between 0.1% to 0.3%. However, higher CBD content cannabis strains are now available.
Terpenoids comprise a quantity of related chemical compounds. Within this group, there are many sub-families, including Terpenes (where the family gets its name), semiterpene lactones, cannabinoids and others. Among the Cannabinoid family are Phytocannabinoids, made by plants, and endocannabinoids, made by animals.
The Cannabis plant uses enzymes to physiologically direct production of cannabinoids in the acid form (cannabinoid acids), many of which then further react to form different other cannabinoid acids, neutral cannabinoids (like THC & CBD), and other terpenoids. Many of these secondary reactions occur from the addition of heat, light (commonly UVB) or both.
The Cannabis plant uses enzymes to physiologically direct production of cannabinoids in the acid form.
As a result, little is known about the chemical and physical properties unique to each of these chemical compounds. Currently, the cannabinoids found in highest concentration (through selective hybridization) and therefore most studied are THC-A, CBD-A, CGB-A, and THCV-A, along with their neutral forms, THC, CBD, CBG and THCV.
Recently strains rich in CBC-A have become more readily available for investigation; it was recently reported in a study that CBC is ten times more potent in managing stress than CBD, requiring 1/10 as much to obtain the same result as with CBD.
Other Cannabis Cannabinoids
This video gives you a breakdown of the most common cannabinoids. Cannabis contains a wide variety of these beneficial compounds – more than 110 different cannabinoids have been identified, many of which have documented medical uses.
THC is the main cannabinoid molecule that is psychoactive. Yet there are many different cannabinoids in marijuana, all of which are capable of binding to receptors found in our brains. The five additional ones of interest alongside THC are:
This cannabinoid has been the focus for many researchers due to its powerful physical effects and the fact that it is the second most common cannabinoid in marijuana after THC. Its main appeal is you can benefit from the medicinal effects of cannabis without feeling stoned. CBD reduces the psychoactive effects of THC.
Cannabigerol is essentially the precursor to THC, CBD, CBC and other cannabinoids. Recently researchers have discovered that CBG itself is a potent medicine. CBG alone is not psychoactive. However, it is still the precursor to THC and THCV, the two cannabinoid molecules that are psychoactive.
As with CBD, this cannabinoid inhibits the uptake of a chemical called GABA in the brain. This results in muscle relaxation and anti-anxiety effects.
CBG is also a COX-2 inhibitor. This is the same mechanism that aspirin, ibuprofen and other NSAIDs used to treat inflammation.
CBC is common to most strains in small amounts. It has medicinal effects similar to CBD, but is more effective at treating anxiety and stress related disorders because it remains in your blood stream longer, creating a longer lasting effect.
Researchers are now interested in the effects of this cannabinoid and it has shown itself to be useful as an anti inflammatory. It’s also anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. CBC is also thought to slow tumour growth and stimulate bone development.
When THC is exposed to oxygen it converts to CBN. This acts as a powerful sedative. CBN shows promise in treating insomnia and nerve pain, and research suggests it has promise for glaucoma patients.
The effects of CBN can be quite profound. Unless you are suffering from chronic insomnia or terrible nerve pain you probably don’t want to ingest large amounts of CBN.
THCV is a cannabinoid very similar to THC. In fact, the two molecules are nearly identical, though the ways they are synthesized in the marijuana plant are different.
THCV is showing promise as an anti-obesity drug. Unlike THC, this particular cannabinoid suppresses appetite. THCV has also been shown useful at reducing tremors resulting from Parkinson’s Disease and other neurological disorders. African Landrace Sativas are high in THCV, as are most of the Haze strains.
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