Cannabinoids in Cannabis

By now, you've probably heard a lot about THC and CBD but do you really know what they are, why they're so important, and what you really need to know about them? Like most people, you might have an idea but are not completely sure.

THC and CBD are just two of the many naturally occurring cannabinoids that are found in cannabis. Cannabinoids are compounds that interact with the endocannabinoid system which exists in most animals (including us people). The endocannabinoid system is part of the central nervous system and although research is still being done, it’s been suggested that the endocannabinoid system is involved in regulating various physiological and cognitive processes.

So what’s so remarkable about these compounds?
Cannabinoids interact with cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system to affect the way that we behave and feel. This makes them useful in the same way as any other pharmaceutical drug.

Why don’t we know more about cannabinoids?
For decades the ‘war on drugs’ positioned cannabis as a dangerous drug with no medical benefits. As a result research was all but banned, and the research that did take place was limited. Now that laws are relaxing, more research is being done and scientists are uncovering new cannabinoids. 113 have been identified so far including the commonly known CBD and THC.

Are all cannabinoids intoxicating?
No, not all cannabinoids are intoxicating. Some are psychoactive without producing the intoxicated or “high” feeling. CBD for example has been useful in treating seizure disorders without noticeable cognitive impairment.

How do we activate cannabinoids?
The cannabinoids that occur naturally in Cannabis require heat to turn into active cannabinoids like THC and CBD. This process is called decarboxylation and occurs at a lower temperature than the boiling point.

How can we make use of cannabinoids?
The most common ways to ingest cannabinoids are through the lungs (respiratory system), stomach (gastrointestinal system) or under the tongue(mucosal system).

What is the fastest way to benefit from cannabinoids?
Inhalation allows effects to start almost immediately, sublingual (under the tongue) in about 15 - 30 minutes whereas when eating them the effects can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to start.

How can we inhale cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are activated through heating them, two common methods are by vaporizing and smoking them. Although smoking cannabis does activate cannabinoids it can also release harmful toxins and is not recommended. Vaporizers work by heating cannabis until the cannabinoids reach their boiling points, but not enough for the material to catch fire. When the cannabinoids are boiled they create a vapour (just like boiling water) which can be inhaled for fast delivery.

 

Some of the well known cannabinoids are highlighted in the chart below. THC, CBD, CBG and CBN all have been studied for their medicinal effects. We are truly at our infancy in research and it is an exciting time to see what benefits are shown for the other cannabinoids now being isolated.

Cannabinoids at a Glance

THC CBD CBC CBG CBN

Name

Delta 9 Tetrahydrocannabinol

Cannabidiol

Cannabichromene

Cannabigerol

Cannabinol

Boiling Point

157℃ (315℉)

180℃ (356℉)

220℃ (428℉)

N/A

185℃ (365℉)

Effects

Euphoria

Analgesic

Calming

Neurogenic

Sedative

Psychoactive?

Strongly

No

No

No

Slightly

Medical Treatments

Pain, tumors, nausea and ADHD

Seizure disorders, stress related disorders diabetes

Pain, Anxiety relief, inflammation

Insomnia, anti-bacterial, tumors

Insomnia, nausea

References: Here