Cannabinoids: What are They? How do they affect Me?

Cannabinoids are the naturally occurring compounds found in both the Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica plants. Of all the cannabinoids found amongst these plants, the two most well-known compounds is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis and Cannabidiol (CBD) another important component. Cannabinoids found in plants such as Cannabis are called Phytocannabinoids.

The effects of Cannabinoids occur through the interaction between specific cannabinoid receptors present on the surface of cells in our bodies. That’s right. We ourselves, even you reading this blog post in fact have cannabinoid receptors all throughout your body.  These receptors are found in different parts and the two main types of cannabinoid receptors in the body are CB1 targeting motor activity, immune cells, appetite and short term memory to name a few.  Also, CB2 which can affect our bones, gut, cardiovascular system, nervous system and our skim amongst other things. These are referred to as Endocannabinoids.  Phytocannabinoids and Endocannabinoids both interact with these same receptors and together form a network of receptors and chemical messengers to create what is called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). The main way in which the cannabinoids are differentiated is based on their degree of psychoactivity. For example CBD is not known to be a psycholgically active agent whereas THC along with some other cannabinoids are known to have varying degrees of psychoactivity.

THC is responsible for a range of effects by binding directly to both CB1 and CB2 receptors. It is best known for it’s psychoactive agent, as a pain reliever and also as an antispasm muscle relaxant. Many misconceptions exist surrounding THC, some of which focus on it’s recreational usage to only get high, when in fact THC has multiple therapeutic, medical and recreational benefits.

CBD often times until most recently was found in it’s higher content amongst Hemp Plants. What is most interesting however is how CBD can counteract some of the side effects of high THC based products. Though not everyone deems these side effects as negative, studies show that CBD can in fact play a role in how anxiety, lethargy, hunger and the other all feeling of being “high” can be sidelined to some degree with the appropriate CBD combination involved. Depending on the cannabinoid profile of a particular product, various types of relief are achievable.   

To simplify the overall understanding, the takeaway is this:  Cannabinoids regulate the levels of communication between our cells, and when there is a problem with our Endocannabinoid System (ECS) and it may not be functioning at it’s peak, unpleasant symptoms and physical complications occur. As a result, Phytocannabinoids, found in Cannabis create a bridge of interaction, allowing these ailments to be remedied and subside over time though individual use may vary.