What is Cannabinoid?
The marijuana plant, which is scientifically known by the taxonomic name of Cannabis sativa, is comprised of over 480 compounds that occur naturally. A cannabinoid is one of the 66 ingredients found naturally within the Cannabis sativa that is unique to the plant.
The chemical compounds found in the Cannabis plant, called cannabinoids, offer a variety of health benefits. While there are over 80 different cannabinoids in marijuana, only a few have been investigated and are known to provide positive effects on the human body. Understanding how cannabinoids affect the body helps you find the right strain for your individual needs.
What medical conditions respond to Cannabinoid?
Medical Cannabis contains a number of Cannabinoids, which are chemicals unique to the plant. Cannabidiol (CBD), the cannabinoid compound known for its medical benefits. CBD has a wide scope of medical applications for patients seeking anti-inflammatory, anti-pain, anti-anxiety, anti-psychotic, and/or anti-spasm effects without any psychoactive effects. In addition to this CBD does not have the psychoactivity of THC (another type of cannabinoid).
The compound is currently being investigated in the following seven medical conditions:
- Psychiatric disorders
- Inflammatory disorders
- Neurological conditions
- Brain trauma
The Cannabinoid plays a role in a variety of bodily functions, including:
- Sleep/wake cycle
- Pain perception
- Bone growth
- Immune response
The therapeutic potential of Cannabinoid
The most abundant cannabinoid present in marijuana, THC is responsible for cannabis’ most well-known psychoactive effects. THC acts as a partial agonist at the CB1 and CB2 receptors. The compound is a mild analgesic or painkiller, and cellular research has shown that it has antioxidant activity.
CBD has tremendous medical potential. This is particularly true when the correct ratio of CBD to THC is applied to treat a particular condition. CBD acts as an antagonist at both the CB1 and CB2 receptors, yet it has a low binding affinity for both. This suggests that CBD’s mechanism of action is mediated by other receptors in the brain and body.
CBC is most frequently found in tropical cannabis varieties. CBC is known to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, inhibit cell growth in tumor/cancer cells, and promote bone growth. The effects of CBC appear to be mediated through non-cannabinoid receptor interactions.
CBN is a mildly psychoactive cannabinoid that is produced by the degradation of THC. It is usually very little to no CBN in a fresh plant. CBN acts as a weak agonist at both the CB1 and CB2 receptors, with greater affinity for CB2 receptors than CB1. The degradation of THC into CBN is often described as creating a sedative effect, known as a “couch lock.”
A non-psychoactive cannabinoid, CBG’s antibacterial effects can alter the overall effects of cannabis. CBG is known to kill or slow bacterial growth, reduce inflammation, (particularly in its acidic CBGA form,) inhibit cell growth in tumor/cancer cells, and promote bone growth. It acts as a low-affinity antagonist at the CB1 receptor. CBG pharmacological activity at the CB2 receptor is currently unknown.
THCV is a minor cannabinoid found in only some strains of cannabis. The only structural difference between THCV and THC is the presence of a propyl (3 carbon) group, rather than a pentyl (5 carbon) group, on the molecule. Though this variation may seem subtle, it causes THCV to produce very different effects than THC. These effects include a reduction in panic attacks, suppression of appetite, and the promotion of bone growth. THCV acts as an antagonist at the CB1 receptor and a partial agonist at the CB2 receptor.
Like THCV, CBDV differs from CBD only by the substitution of a pentyl (5 carbon) for a propyl (3 carbon) side chain. Although research on CBDV is still in its initial stages, recent studies have shown promise for its use in the management of epilepsy. This is due to its action at TRPV1 receptors and modulation of gene expression.
“∆-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol is an analog of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) with antiemetic, anxiolytic, appetite-stimulating, analgesic, and neuroprotective properties. ∆-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (∆-8-THC) binds to the cannabinoid G-protein coupled receptor CB1, which inhibits adenyl cyclase, increases mitogen-activated protein kinase activities, modulates several potassium channel conductances and inhibits N- and P/Q-type Ca2+ channels. This agent exhibits a lower psychotropic potency than ∆-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (∆-9-THC).”