Cannabinoids Cannabinoids are naturally present in plants of the Cannabis Sativa L. species. We ingest them when consuming cannabis or hemp – more or less depending on what exactly is consumed, and how. The human body also produces cannabinoids, and there are many ways we are still discovering their properties, benefits, and manifestations.
What are cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that act on cannabinoid receptors present in the human body, as well as in the organism of certain other mammals. Cannabinoid receptors have a direct impact on neurotransmitter release in the brain. In other words, they influence the way it processes data and other chemical compounds.
Cannabinoid receptors that we know of have been named CB1 and CB2 receptors. They are located in different areas of the brain and the nervous system, which means they can control different functions and impact different aspects of one’s health (although they are known to work in concert in certain cases).
Some cannabinoids are quite familiar to the public, due to the increasing amount of common knowledge around cannabis.
The current most popular cannabinoids are THC, known for its psychoactive properties, and CBD, because of its increasingly exposed medicinal benefits.
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There is a plethora of others – at this point, 113 different cannabinoids have been isolated via research.
Where are cannabinoids found?
Cannabinoids can be found in all variations of the Cannabis Sativa L. plant, in more or less high amounts. Other plants produce cannabinoids too, but not to the same extent (and not in the same manner) than cannabis or hemp do.
In the human body
Cannabinoids naturally produced by the human body are called endocannabinoids. This network of cannabinoids and corresponding cannabinoid receptors is called the endocannabinoid system, and it is quite essential to the functioning of our bodies. Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency has actually been linked to a number of illnesses and conditions, despite still not being prioritized when it comes to advances in medical research. For instance, Cystic Fibrosis could be caused by a dysfunctional endocannabinoid system.
What do cannabinoids do?
Many advances have already shown how cannabinoids are an intrinsic part of our bodies’ most essential functions from the earliest stages of life.
Indeed, a properly functioning endocannabinoid system is essential to embryo implantation, as well as to the triggering of the instinctive suckling response that leads to breastfeeding. These are only a couple of the many vital components of a human’s early development that are directly linked to the endocannabinoid system.
Neuroprotective properties & appetite stimulant
Ongoing research regarding conditions such as dementia, or other neurodegenerative diseases, have confirmed the neuroprotective effects of cannabis. A number of – generally psychoactive – cannabinoids have been linked to neuroprotection, especially THC, THCA, and possibly THCV, which has been found to have a structure very similar to that of THC.
THCV is also known to curb appetite, a property shared by other cannabinoids such as anandamide. Anandamide, an endogenous analogue of THC, together with 2-AG, is known to interact with CB receptors in the central and peripheral nervous system.
And more …
There are many more properties attributable to THC and CBD, as well as to all the aforementioned cannabinoids. Anti-emetic, anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antispasmodic, etc. In fact, they have been linked to various major conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Tourette syndrome, epilepsy, asthma, and more.
We do have some information on other cannabinoids that aren’t currently at the heart of research. Some of these are cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabidivarin (CBV), and cannabicyclol (CBL). In most cases, these cannabinoids share properties that have already been confirmed in more potent cannabinoids (such as media favourites THC and CBD). However, too little research is conducted on them at the moment, which means that in the future, we may hear much more about these mysterious compounds! Soon, in your pharmacies?
Vaporizing cannabis is, as far as is known, the best method to optimize one’s intake of cannabinoids. In addition to this, it is a healthy method of consumption that can accommodate most, including those who cannot smoke cannabis due to lung-related medical issues.
Check out our selection of vaporizers if you haven’t found your own favourite yet.
Cannabinoid research vs. prohibition
Cannabinoids seem to show up in a very wide array of research. Unfortunately, due to the current illegality of the cannabis plant in most countries, it can be challenging to find plant material to conduct research on in the first place.
In numerous countries, associations and even political parties attempt to focus on advances in cannabinoid research. Medical professionals crave for more information, more clinical tests, or anything that can help them counsel their patients.
Despite that, only a handful of cannabinoid-based medications are available to patients to this day. While legalisation of cannabis is progressing at high-speed, if compared to the situation a decade ago, it may take decades for things to truly change, and for cannabinoids to be seemingly part of society, without suffering from one chunk or another of the “Reefer Madness” stigma.
In the meantime, standard drug tests still include cannabis, which is why the topic of how to flush cannabis out of your system is very much of a popular one.