Cannabinoids: What Are They and What Do They Do?
Are you a marijuana user? Do you use it for recreational or medical purposes? According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), marijuana is the most commonly used psychotropic drug in the United States.
By 2020, there were over 3.43 million recreational marijuana users in the USA. This number is set to increase by 2025 as more states legalize the drug and most people adopting a more favorable view of it.
The increased acceptability of marijuana has led to more people wanting to know about it. In particular, people want to know what cannabinoids are and what they do.
What Are Cannabinoids and What Do They Do?
Cannabinoids are a class of active compounds found in the Cannabis plant. These compounds interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) to produce a range of psychoactive and therapeutic effects.
There are over 100 different cannabinoids in the Cannabis plant. The two most well-known cannabinoids are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).
THC is the cannabinoid that is responsible for the “high” associated with marijuana use. It binds to CB1 receptors in the brain to produce its psychoactive effects.
CBD, on the other hand, is non-psychoactive. It does not produce the “high” associated with marijuana but it does have a number of therapeutic effects. These include reducing anxiety, pain relief, and inflammation.
CBD is thought to work by binding to CB2 receptors in the body and modulating the release of neurotransmitters. This action results in the therapeutic effects of CBD.
Sativa and Indica are the two main types of cannabis plants. Both of these plants contain THC and CBD. However, they differ in the ratio of these two cannabinoids.
Sativa plants have a higher ratio of THC to CBD while Indica plants have a higher ratio of CBD to THC. The type of cannabis plant will determine the ratio of THC to CBD. This, in turn, will determine the effects of the cannabinoids.
Classifications Of Cannabinoids
As mentioned, there are over 100 cannabinoids in the Cannabis plant. These can be classified into three groups:
1. Endocannabinoids – these are cannabinoids that are produced by the body. Anandamide and 2-AG are examples of endocannabinoids. They bind to cannabinoid receptors and are involved in a number of physiological processes including pain, inflammation, and appetite.
2. Phytocannabinoids – these are cannabinoids that are produced by plants. THC and CBD are examples of phytocannabinoids. They interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system to produce their effects.
3. Synthetic cannabinoids – these are man-made cannabinoid drugs. They are designed to mimic the effects of naturally occurring cannabinoids. Normally, laboratories synthesize these cannabinoids for research purposes. However, some of these synthetic cannabinoids are sold as “designer drugs”. These include Spice and K2 which are often sold as “herbal incense”.
The three groups of cannabinoids can be further classified into subclasses. For example, there are CB1 agonists ( cannabinoids that bind to and stimulate CB1 receptors) and CB2 agonists ( cannabinoids that bind to and stimulate CB2 receptors).
What Is The Difference Between Terpenes and Cannabinoids?
One common question that new users have is what the difference is between terpenes and cannabinoids. Both of these groups of compounds are found in the Cannabis plant and they both interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
However, there are some key differences between these two groups of compounds. Terpenes are aromatic oils that give Cannabis its distinctive smell. They also have some therapeutic effects. Cannabinoids, on the other hand, are the active compounds that produce the plant’s effects.
The Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a network of receptors and enzymes that are found throughout the body. The ECS is made up of two types of receptors, CB1 and CB2. These receptors are found in the brain, organs, connective tissues, and immune cells. They are activated by endocannabinoids, which are compounds that are produced by the body.
The ECS is also responsible for breaking down endocannabinoids. This is done by enzymes that are known as fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL).
Together with the cannabinoids, endocannabinoids, and enzymes, the ECS plays a role in many different functions in the body including:
9. Motor control
10. Temperature regulation
The ECS is a complex system that is not fully understood. However, the system is vital for maintaining homeostasis in the body.
What Are The Health Benefits of Cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids have a wide range of potential health benefits. These benefits are due to the way that cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
Some of the most well-known health benefits of cannabinoids include:
Muscle spasms etc.
Cannabinoids are a group of compounds that are found in the Cannabis plant. These compounds interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system bearing a wide range of potential health benefits.
CBD and THC are the two most well-known cannabinoids but there are many others that have different effects.
Unfortunately, if you’re looking to grow your own marijuana clones this year and need high CBD strains we don’t carry them at the moment. Check back in later to see if we start offering them.