Cannabinoids are the basis of cannabis’s action on the body, whether for medical or recreational use. When used for therapeutic purposes, cannabis can help patients undergoing chemotherapy to endure their nausea. People with multiple sclerosis can be pain free. And cannabinoids reduce seizures on children with epilepsy to the point that they can even go back to school.
But how do cannabinoids affect patients? What is the difference between the medical part of the plant? By identifying the chemical components that provide cannabis users with its benefits, could not growers and scientists strive to produce only cannabis varieties composed of as many of these compounds as possible?
Cannabinoids: the primary chemical element
The chemical components of cannabis that produce the medical and recreational effects for patients and recreational users called cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are simply a chemical compound of cannabis, which causes certain reactions when ingested as smoke or steam, or through the stomach when eaten. They can also penetrate the skin as is the case with cannabis creams. The effects differ according to cannabis consumption , in duration and potency. For example, smoking cannabis takes less time to exert its effects than when it is eaten.
Cannabinoids were discovered in 1940 by Roger Adams in the United States. These chemicals work in synergy with the human body, and in particular with the endocannabinoid system. There are more than 111 cannabinoids in the plant. The most famous are CBD and THC but ,we sometimes refer to as CBN or CBG, and variants such as THCV and CBDV.
When consuming cannabis , cannabinoids bind to their dedicated neural receptors. It takes about 2’30 minutes before you feel the effects such as pain, inflammation, or reduced nausea (the 3 symptoms most easily relieved by cannabis).
The THC path
THC is the most active ingredient in cannabis. It delivers effects of euphoria, relaxation or brain damage, the soaring effect. However, THC also provides medical patients with anti-inflammatory effects, among many others, for example against Crohn’s disease.
THC also proved its effectiveness in patients suffering from depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. Some cannabis varieties, such as Train wreck or Girl Scout Cookies, contain up to 30% THC. The power of these varieties can produce significant effects, especially for victims of severe pain. People who want more can lean towards the concentrates, which can contain between 40 and 90% THC.
There are mainly two types of cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors, which are located in the brain and central nervous system, adapt to THC molecules. Because they exist in large quantities in the brain, this receptor is responsible for euphoria and psychoactive effects. CB2 receptors, found in the immune system and associated organs, combine with CBD to deliver medical effects, such as reducing seizures or reducing certain tumors for children and adults.
Other receptors are to come to light. Scientific advances on the interactions between cannabis and the human body could be highlighted with research on the effects of cannabinoids on the endocannabinoid system.
Back to Basics
Every disease or condition is different, not to mention the patients’ reactions to each therapy. Clinical trials in men are necessary to help patients access cannabis-based treatments that can help to offset some of the side effects of generalist treatments.
The cannabinoid community is demonstrating, step by step, the effects of cannabinoids to relieve epilepsy and Crohn’s disease. Unfortunately, more research is needed to get these facts out of scientific truth, and show how cannabinoids interact with the human body, and for example also with terpenes.