For decades, many claimed that the consumption of marijuana did more than just get them high. Without any explanation, relief in many forms had always been described by users. The political climate change and the growing number of studies has shed new light into the health benefits cannabis can provide. The plant has come a long way in its popularity as a recreational drug. Previously deemed as an illicit and dangerous drug, its medicinal constituents have proven quite the opposite and have reviled more aid than we could imagine! The negative connotation has dwarfed by its role as a medicine. Here we present to you the top studied cannabinoids:
Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive and acts as an antagonist at both the CB1 and CB2 receptors. The effects of CBD in the body are broad and far-reaching. The cannabinoid is known to also directly or indirectly affect the following Vanilloid receptors (important for pain modulation), Adenosine receptors (important for the sleep-wake cycle), Serotonin receptors (important for mood and stress management).
Preclinical trials have found promising results using CBD in such conditions; anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, neuroprotectant, anxiolytic, antidepressant, analgesic, anti-tumoral agent, anti-psychotic.
THC acts as a partial agonist at the CB1 and CB2 receptors. It creates a psychoactive effect. The compound is a mild painkiller, and cellular research has shown that it has antioxidant activity. THC is a potent anti-inflammatory. Autoimmune diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, and depression are three major health problems triggered by inflammation, alone. THC’s potent inflammation-fighting nature is one major reason cannabis helps with such a wide variety of conditions. THC’s ability to fight tumors in animal models is incredible. Most remarkable are the findings on THC as a potential treatment for cancer. Many studies have shown that THC and CBD cannabinoids have the ability to kill cancer cells.
Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA)
THCA is the most common cannabinoid found in fresh marijuana flowers. It is non-psychoactive and must be converted to THC to have any noticeable effect. Just like CBDA turns into CBD, when heated, THCA becomes THC when heated, such as by smoking or vaporizing your cannabis, through a chemical process called decarboxylation. THCA is the acid form of THC. The decarboxylation reaction removes the carboxyl group from these acids, which transforms them into their active state.
Other compounds found in fresh cannabis include cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), cannabinolic acid (CBNA), cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), cannabichromenic acid (CBCA) and cannabinodiolic acid (CBNDA).
CBG is considered a minor cannabinoid. THC and CBD start out as CBG. CBG is thought to be particularly effective in treating glaucoma because it reduces intraocular pressure. In different animal experiments, CBG was found to be effective in decreasing inflammation, and protecting neurons from nerve cell degeneration in the brain. Being antibacterial and having tested best at inhibiting muscle contractions, CBG could also preventing bladder dysfunction disorders.
CBN is a product of THC when cannabis is exposed to air. It acts with greater response for CB2 receptors than CB1. CBN is a mildly psychoactive and produced from the modification of THC. There is usually very little to no CBN in a fresh plant, however, evidence does suggest that CBN offers a variety of therapeutic benefits, but not limited to sleep , pain, and bone stimulation.
As an anti-inflammatory; CBN can assist in the treatment of inflammatory diseases and disorders like multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and Crohn’s disease.
Despite being less commonly known, CBC is actually the second most prevalent cannabinoid compound found in cannabis. CBC does not directly activate cannabinoid receptors, however it has been shown to interact with a number of other receptors in the body. By activating these receptors, CBC can increase levels of endocannabinoids in the body; as it indirectly activates cannabinoid receptors by enhancing the receptor activity of naturally-occurring cannabinoids. Like THC and CBD, CBC is an end product of CBG being processed into CBGa, and then into other cannabinoids. As a result, CBC has the same chemical formula and weight as CBD and THC but differs from its chemical cousins by the arrangement of its atoms. CBC is an analgesic and anti-inflammatory, although less potent than these more famous molecules. It is also antibacterial and its variant CBCa has been shown to be an antifungal agent. Like CBD, cannabichomene is both a bone stimulant and neurogenic compound, helping grow both body and mind. It’s most important use, however is as an anti-proliferative, slowing tumor growth and combating cancer, just like CBD and THC. CBC has also been shown to be ten times as powerful as CBD at reducing anxiety and stress.
THCV and THC both possess pain relieving properties, but they differ in two very big ways. Whereas THC is known for its psychoactive effects, THCV has been measured to be subjectively weaker. This is because THCV does not activate the CB1 receptor. In a small study, THCV was administered alongside a placebo and then in conjunction with THC. Participants found no difference in psychoactivity between the placebo. This suggests that like CBD, THCV can reduce the psychoactive effects of THC. Further studies in the British Journal of Pharmacology state that the cannabinoid THCV has the ability to activate the CB2 receptor and work to block the CB1 receptor. In this paper, the author further explains that THCV might be an effective therapy in alleviating the symptoms and delaying neurodegeneration that occurs in Parkinson’s disease.
Another distinct difference between the two components, is that THC induces appetite, whereas THCV suppresses appetite. The region of our brain called hypothalamus contains a mass of CB1 receptor-covered cells called the pro-opiomelanocortin, or POMC neurons, which are responsible for suppressing the drive to eat by inducing the feeling of fullness. THC, on the other hand interacts with the CB1 receptors and instead of reducing hunger, POMC neurons begin to release ghrelin which signals that you are starving.
THCV is linked to inducing energy, and is currently being studied as a new potential treatment against obesity.
The list of cannabinoids goes on and the new-found information about them continues to extensively grow! We encourage you to read more research to learn how certain cannabinoids may help you!