What are Cannabinoids?
Author – Jon Russell
Edited by Noah Persin
Cannabis Sativa has been demonized for years. Reefer Madness propaganda created entire generations afraid of the “Devil Weed” with little to no research done until recent years. In the last decade cannabis has come into the limelight for its medicinal properties. Researchers have found over 400 compounds that make up the plant, and approximately 66 of them are labeled as “cannabinoids”.
Cannabinoids are partially responsible for cannabis’ effects on the body. They are responsible for the psychoactive effects we feel and the anti-inflammatory effects that we don’t feel. Research is showing that cannabinoids can function as a tumor growth inhibitor. They can also help alleviate the effects of seizures or even limit the number of seizures a epilepsy patient may have. The National Cancer Institute has done its own research and is now advising that cannabis may even help with cancer treatments.
The primary cannabinoids in cannabis are Δ9-THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), also known as THC; and CBD (cannabidiol). However, there are many more cannabinoids that have therapeutic effects. Take a look at the cannabinoid map below. We begin with CBGa (cannabigerol), the precursor to the three major branches of cannabinoids, and follow the blue lines. You’ll see that depending on age or heating the cannabinoids begin to transform into other cannabinoids.
Cannabinoids work by bonding with the human body’s endocannabinoid system. This system is made up of a series of receptors that are configured to only accept cannabinoids. CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain are keyed to both the endocannabinoids that our body naturally produces and the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Although the endocannabinoid system affects a wide variety of biological processes (such as appetite and sleep), experts believe that its overall function is to regulate homeostasis, a key element that is our ability to maintain stable internal conditions that are necessary for survival.