- CBD 101
Crucial Cannabinoids to Know About [Our Top 5]
Marijuana is quickly becoming known as a staple substance in the world, able to provide useful therapeutic and medicinal products, as well as a large number of different textile goods.
However, despite how many people in the world use marijuana regularly, it is still something that isn’t well understood at all. For starters, most people know that marijuana belongs to the same plant family as hemp and contains substances called cannabinoids but, what are these, exactly?
We all are made immediately aware of the THC and CBD quantities in our weed, but we are never really told what they mean. Even more disturbing is the fact that there are a lot more cannabinoids than just the regular THC and CBD, some of which are just as important to the cannabis plant and your body as THC and CBD are.
So, to better help you understand the weed you are smoking, let’s take a look at 5 of the most crucial cannabinoids that you need to know about.
Cannabinoid #1 – THC
If we are going to talk to about different cannabinoids present in marijuana, it would feel incredibly strange to not talk about THC.
THC, known as tetrahydrocannabinol, is the primary cannabinoid within most marijuana strains and is the cannabinoid that is principally responsible for the psychoactive sensation that occurs as a result of imbibing marijuana.
THC, like all principal cannabinoids, works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system in the body and collaborating with the different receptors, causing that famous psychoactive reaction. THC works mostly with the CB1 receptor and, because these receptors are located primarily within the brain. This is why the happy feelings commonly associated with marijuana use occur – the large quantity of CB1 receptors in the brain are affected by THC to release dopamine, the neurochemical for that wonderful sensation of generally feeling good.
The medical benefits of THC are focused around relieving pain, due to the reduction of sensation in the nervous system as caused by THC’s interaction with the CB1 receptors. It also could increase your appetite and just generally leave you feeling really good.
All of these benefits sound excellent. Still, THC is also the cannabinoid that is well known for its associated adverse risks, such as the increased chance of developing hallucinations or psychosis. The best way to combat this is by combining THC with the other principal Cannabinoid, CBD.
Cannabinoid #2 – CBD
CBD, known scientifically as cannabidiol, is swiftly becoming just as well known as THC in the medical and scientific community. Formerly completely unknown, CBD is the other substantial cannabinoid in cannabis that also interacts with the endocannabinoid system.
CBD does not directly interact with the endocannabinoid system in the same way that THC does – instead of directly attaching themselves to the receptors, CBD instead encourages the activation of the receptors gradually, by turning off the body’s ability to shut it off. Essentially, CBD encourages the CB1 and CB2 receptors to remain activated longer than they would usually be, which is what allows them to interact with the body and promote its beneficial effects.
CBD is commonly known as the far more medicinal cannabinoid within cannabis, as well as being a great partner to THC. Not only does it induce calming and overall pain relief due to its effect on the endocannabinoid system. But it also acts as a countermeasure to the risks of developing psychosis as a result of THC use.
Research such as this landmark study by Zuardi et al. has found that when CBD is taken in conjunction with THC, it is able to help repress the risk of developing psychosis, making it generally safer to imbibe THC.
Is CBD the only type of cannabinoid that provides health benefits? Let’s take a look at a few of the other cannabinoids that you might not know too much about.
Cannabinoid #3 – CBG
CBG is the cannabinoid that almost no one knows about and, if they do see it written down, assume it is a misspelling of CBD. In actual fact, CBG is, in a way, the foundation upon which all other cannabinoids are built.
When the cannabis plant is developing cannabinoids, it needs an original compound structure that can develop into other cannabinoids. This same process occurs in human cells, though we refer to those cells as stem cells. They are, in a sense, blank building blocks to work with and change into what is needed.
In the case of the cannabis plant, it uses CBG.
CBG, or cannabigerol as it is more appropriately known, is almost entirely unknown in the scientific world, at least with regard to the exact specifics of its makeup and creation. We know that it typically exists in as minor quantities as 1% in cannabis plants, but other than that, we don’t know exactly how it works and how it affects the human body.
What we do know is that CBG seems to work alongside other cannabinoids that you imbibe from marijuana, improving their effects and overall rounding out the imbibing experience through something known as the entourage effect.
This entourage effect makes it so that the effects of THC and CBD are amplified by the presence of other cannabinoids, especially CBG. Without CBG, you aren’t going to get as much effect from your cannabinoids as you would if you included it.
Alongside CBG, there are other cannabinoids within cannabis that act in surprising ways to affect the human body.
Cannabinoid #4 – CBN
CBN is a bit of a different cannabinoid to all the others present within cannabis plants, as it is not a natural cannabinoid in its own right.
Instead of being naturally developed by the plant, CBN is the result of THC breaking down on a molecular level and becoming something else, namely CBN. This means that CBN still has a lot of similar effects to THC, but without its fundamentally psychoactive effects.
One of the most common and well-used effects of the CBN cannabinoid is its propensity for inducing sleepiness. Due to its effect on the CB1 receptor, yet lacking any psychoactive effect, CBN can act in the same way as many terpenes that help induce sleepiness.
There is also some circumstantial evidence that combining CBN with THC can help encourage the suppression of the pain sensation. This makes CBN not only useful as a way to help you fall asleep, but also an excellent method to help deal with any pain you might be suffering from.
Cannabinoid #5 – CBC
This final cannabinoid is one that, once again, is commonly mistaken for CBD due to it sounding so similar. However, it is the third most common cannabinoid after THC and CBD.
CBC is a very interesting cannabinoid. Unlike THC and CBD, which interacts with the endocannabinoid system directly, CBC doesn’t touch the endocannabinoid system at all.
However, it still encourages the same effects that THC and CBD cause on the body. It does this by interacting with other receptors in the human body and stimulating the release of the body’s natural cannabinoids.
Despite what many people think, the body produces its own cannabinoids to interact with the endocannabinoid system. In the case of CBD and THC, it directly attaches to the receptors in the endocannabinoid system and encourages their activation. However, CBC is much calmer – even more so than CBD – in that it merely makes the body try and release more cannabinoids than it would previously.
This means that CBC is capable of causing the same effects as CBD and THC, only much slower and more naturally.
Unfortunately, despite being the third most common cannabinoid, there still isn’t very much of it within an individual sample of cannabis. This means that it doesn’t get a chance to work on the body much unless you get hold of marijuana oil that has been enriched with CBC in an effort to increase its entourage effect.
Unless you go for specialty products, you will likely struggle to find much effect from CBC. However, there is always more research being conducted into its useful medicinal benefits, so it is possible that we might suddenly see the rise of CBC extracts at some point in the near future.
Final Thoughts on 5 Crucial Cannabinoids to Know About
Although most people are primarily concerned with the two all-important cannabinoids, THC and CBD, there are dozens of other cannabinoids that are useful to know about.
While some don’t have any direct effect on the human body, each still plays a part in the body and is capable of creating a different effect. Staying knowledgeable about all the different cannabinoids is incredibly important as a marijuana user, as it ensures you know exactly what you are putting into your body.
While it isn’t very common at the moment to be able to ask what the CBC content of your bud is, it is still useful to be able to know just what kind of effect other cannabinoids are going to have on you.
After all, nothing is more important than knowing what you are putting in your body.