Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids are compounds that play a critical role in medical Cannabis. There are three types of cannabinoids, which are characterized by their source of origin. Endocannabinoids, which are synthesized in the body; plant-based phytocannabinoids, predominantly found in the Cannabis plant; and, synthetic cannabinoids that are created in laboratories to mimic the first two. The chemical profile for all cannabinoids includes flavonoids, terpenoids, sugars, proteins, enzymes, amino acids and fatty acids.

Cannabinoids work together to equalize their collective physical or physiological effects. In conjunction with endocannabinoids, various phytocannabinoids in Cannabis have demonstrated the ability to restore balance and optimize the immune system. Out of nearly one hundred compounds classified as phytocannabinoids, only a handful are most prevalent in Cannabis.

Continued research on cannabinoids is certain to uncover many more cannabinoids correlated with a multitude of benefits for an array of health conditions. A short list of the most relevant phytocannabinoids currently being studied for medical efficacy is as follows:

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

The most common and prevalent chemical in the Cannabis plant, THC molecules, are responsible for the majority of the plant’s psychoactive effects in humans. THC has a host of effects depending upon body chemistry, but its primary medical benefits result from its analgesic, anti-spasmodic, anti-tremor, anti-inflammatory and anti-emetic properties. It is also known as a stimulant with regard to appetite, and has therefore been credited for helping patients suffering from AIDS, chemotherapy and cachexia. There are two forms of THC: THC-A and THC-V.

  • Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THC-A)
    THC-A is the most prominent compound found in the raw Cannabis plant. It is inactive and naturally non-psychoactive in its raw form, but converts to the active, psychoactive cannabinoid THC when heated above 250 degrees Fahrenheit. (This process can take place over an extended period of time through extraction or instantly, by burning or vaporizing the material.) THC-A is credited for the anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic effects of Cannabis, and is also believed to be a factor in its anti-proliferative effects, as well.

    Activated THC-A, or THC, concentrations normally range from 10% to 25% in raw, dried Cannabis flower, and from 50% to 90% (or greater) in concentrated products.
  • Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THC-V)
    Fewer studies have focused on this cannabinoid, however, THC-V is believed to enhance many of the signature effects of THC. Often found more frequently in sativa-dominant plants, varieties rich in THC-V are known for hallucinogenic effects. Although more research is necessary for statistical assumptions, many scientists believe that THC-V may be a contributing factor in reducing appetite.
    THC-V is rare and normally yields an extremely low concentration of less than 5% of total content.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

A compound largely ignored until recently, CBD contains a host of medical properties associated with neuroprotective and immunomodulatory functions specifically related to anti-inflammatory, anti-convulsion, anti-psychotic and anti-oxidant effects.

Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive. In fact, it is known to temper the stronger effects of THC. Yielding lower concentrations of THC than most Cannabis varieties, CBD content can normally range from 15% to 25% for select varieties.

Cannabinol (CBN)

A compound not inherent in the Cannabis plant, CBN is created as a result of two different processes. The natural maturation and degradation that takes place within the plant’s trichomes; and, when THC is exposed to oxygen or heat over time.

While CBN is not technically a psychoactive compound like THC, it is nonetheless highly effective, and most commonly credited for its sleep-inducing qualities. With many properties similar to those in THC and CBD, CBN is known for reducing inflammation, convulsions, nausea and pain, as well as appetite stimulation.

CBN concentrations are typically lower than both THC and CBD, normally ranging from 1% to 5% of total content.

Ailment Guide

Reduces vomiting and nausea:
THC CBD

Reduces seizures and convulsion:
CBD THCv

Aids sleep:
CBN

Suppresses muscle spasms:
THC CBD CBN THCa

Relieves anxiety:
CBD

Stimulates appetite:
THC

Reduces inflammation:
CBD CBG CBC CBGa CGCa THCa CBDa