What Are Phytocannabinoids and What Do They Do
When you hear people talk about cannabinoids in cannabis, they’re talking about phytocannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids or cannabinoids for short, are a group of plant-based compounds found in cannabis. There are more than 100 different types of cannabinoids in cannabis. Cannabinoids like delta-9-tetrahydracannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the most popular though more is starting to be learned about other cannabinoids.
The science of cannabinoid research has been limited by tight restrictions globally in many places for decades because of marijuana prohibition. The UK has the Misuse of Drugs Act, America has the MJ Tax Act and the Controlled Substance Act, and many other countries around the world have similar laws. Thankfully, times are changing, and people are starting to discover the many potentials that cannabis and cannabinoid therapies may offer.
Common Cannabis CannabinoidsWhen you see “A” at the end of a cannabinoid abbreviation it stands for acid. This compound is there until the cannabis is introduced to heat and decarboxylation occurs. Decarboxylation is a process where cannabinoids are converted through application of heat. This process is what helps cannabis to be effective whether someone eats it, smokes it, or vapes it. All cannabinoids have a boiling point but that is another topic all together. Let’s take a look at some of the most common cannabinoids found in cannabis and their potential attributes.
- Delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-is the main psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis. It's responsible for the intoxicating effects or buzz felt from consuming cannabis. THC is believed to help with pain, anxiety, depression, nausea, loss of appetite, migraine headaches, and more.
- Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA)-is a compound similar to THC with the exception that it does not contain intoxicating properties. It shows great therapeutic potential and is present in large quantities in raw live cannabis plants. Some people find extreme benefits using wheatgrass juicers to produce fresh THCA juice.
- Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)- this common cannabinoid shows great potential at helping to regulate the body's blood sugar levels, to help curb anxiety attacks, increase energy, suppress the appetite, stimulate bone growth, and potentially help control symptoms associated with Alzheimer's.
- Cannabidiol (CBD)-is the second most popular cannabinoid in cannabis. Unlike THC, CBD does not produce intoxicating effects or a buzz. CBD does however offer a very wide array of potential therapeutic benefits ranging from an antibacterial to working as a neuro-protective, pain reliever, an anti-inflammatory, and it is said to also help promote bone growth and more.
- Cannabidiolic acid synthase (CBDA)-this phytocannabinoid is present in raw cannabis like THCA is. CBDA is most commonly found concentrated on the glandular trichomes of buds produced by female cannabis plants. Current research shows this cannabinoid affects serotonin levels. CBDA is said to potentially help control nausea, vomiting, reduce inflammation and more.
- Cannabinol (CBN)-is found in mature cannabis plants after THC ages. It is said to be non-intoxicating and may potentially offer help for reducing stress, anxiety, depression, pain, insomnia, and more.
- Cannabichromene (CBC) is a cannabinoid like CBD and THC that comes from CBGA. It may work as an antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and more.
- Cannabigerol (CBG)-is considered by many to be the building block of cannabinoids as it is where others such as THC come from. Research is showing CBG has great potential at helping as an anti-inflammatory. It is also said to help with pain, inflammation, nausea, and the symptoms of conditions such as Crohn's disease, cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease.
The Synergistic Effect of Cannabinoids Working TogetherCannabis is available in the form of isolate or cannabis isolate. This is when an extraction process and refinement has occurred in order to isolate a specific cannabinoid such as THCA or CBD. These products are typically preferred by individuals who do not want any form of THC.
Be it for personal reasons or employment some people choose to avoid THC altogether but still look to embrace other potential therapeutic attributes of cannabinoids like CBD. Full spectrum cannabis and broad spectrum cannabis both contain a wide variety of different elements. They are both rich in vitamins, minerals, aminos, and cannabinoids.
Broad spectrum cannabis products can have THC removed yet still have all of the other aspects of other cannabinoids remain. Full spectrum cannabis products are when you get everything the plant has to offer including THC. Whether it's full spectrum or broad spectrum both are known to produce a unique effect that is referred to as the Entourage Effect.
The Entourage Effect is said to occur when cannabinoids work synergistically together with the endocannabinoid system to produce more effective results then if they were isolated by themselves. As research pertaining to cannabinoid therapies begins to advance, a deeper understanding of the potentials these cannabinoids and many others hold will begin to form.
It’s Not Always About High THCFor the longest time many people thought when it came to good cannabis it was about high THC. Science, research, and personal testimonials are starting to disprove this. Without cannabinoids, cannabis wouldn't be the same. Our body produces natural cannabinoids such as serotonin or melatonin. These work with our endocannabinoid system.
Phytocannabinoids like endocannabinoids also work with the mammalian endocannabinoid system to help achieve and maintain homeostasis. Perhaps this is why cannabis does so much for so many people. However, all the credit can't go to cannabinoids alone.
Terpenes also play a vital role in the effects of cannabis. Some research is even starting to suggest that terpene levels influence the amount of cannabinoids that are absorbed by cannabinoid receptors in the body. People have loved cannabis for as long as we have been able to tell stories to one another.
The plant has an immense culture and community that have embraced it long before legalization ever started occurring or even was an issue. There are many things the cannabis plant is capable of doing and thanks to this legalization more of the world is once again starting to open their eyes to the many therapeutic attributes cannabinoid therapies could offer.