What are Cannabinoids?

Cannabis contains compounds called Cannabinoids.

They react with your body differently, and combine with the diverse set of other chemicals called terpenes to give you certain effects.

Picture of cannabinoid profile on distillate

There are hundreds of cannabinoids, such as THC, CBD, CBN, or CBG.

The full range of cannabinoids has only just been discovered

As you most likely know, the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is psychoactive and causes the high in cannabis. It binds to receptors in your brain and produces feelings of euphoria, relaxation, and altered perception.

Another well-known cannabinoid is cannabidiol (CBD), which does not produce psychoactive effects. It is even known to be anti psychoactive, so if you get too high, then try taking some CBD to calm down the effects of the THC.

It’s believed to have anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties, and is often used to treat conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety, and epilepsy.

Other cannabinoids include cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV). Each has unique properties and produce different effects.

Like broader research on cannabis effects, our understanding of cannabinoids is still in its early stages, but we are beginning to understand more about how they interact with the body. Studies have shown that cannabinoids can have a wide range of therapeutic effects, and may have potential applications in treating conditions such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.

Growing cannabis plants

It’s worth noting that most of the research on cannabinoids has been done with phytocannabinoids (which come from plants) and not endocannabinoids (produced by the body).

A lot of the research has been done on mice and cells, so we dont always know if the evidence is valid for us. There’s a lot of variables at play here.

Some die hard smokers claim that dry herb vaping cannabis fails to re-create the same full bodied effect that is enjoyed when smoking. This may partially be due to the full complex range of cannabinoids only being properly activated at higher temperatures, or in combustion.

Others argue that actually smoking the herb will release other harsh chemicals, and so you are getting high off those.

Rolling cannabis joint

Some other cannabinoids are:

  • Cannabinol (CBN): When THC degrades, CBN is produced. You know that really old bit of weed you have in your draw? Well that could likely have higher amounts of CBN that has developed through ageing. Like wine, cannabis can get better with age. CBN is an appetite stimulant and a treatment for insomnia given the sleepy effects it brings on.
  • Cannabigerol (CBG): This has lots of potential and a range of suggested effects such as anti-inflammatory and analgesic, ability to reduce pressure in the eye, and could be an anti-cancer agent.
  • Cannabichromene (CBC): Anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, as well as the ability to help grow new neurons in the brain. Maybe cannabis does actually make you smarter!

Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV): Similar to THC, but it is considered to have fewer psychoactive effects. Shown to have potential as a treatment for diabetes and as an appetite suppressant. Maybe the January dieters need to get smoking herb?

Cannabidivarin (CBDV): Similar to CBD, and has been shown to have anti-seizure effects.

Each cannabinoid has its own unique set of impacts and its potential health or therapeutic benefits. It’s a really complex world and clearly there will need to be more research to properly understand how they can be used.

Ultimately, it just shows the complicated magic that Mary Jane brings to the world. Her mystery is her main attraction.


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