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The CBD we've come to know, and love is just the start! CBD may be in the spotlight right now, but it's far from the only facet of hemp. Hemp contains over a hundred different cannabinoids with unique properties and medicinal uses. These cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds found in the Cannabis plant, which includes marijuana and hemp.
We'll explore the primary and rare cannabinoids found in Cannabis, their effects, potential therapeutic benefits, and examine recent studies in this article.
- Cannabinoids: A Technical Definition
- Phytocannabinoids vs. Endocannabinoids
- Primary Cannabinoids
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
- Cannabidiol (CBD)
- Rare Cannabinoids
- Delta 8 THC
- Potential Therapeutic Benefits Of Cannabinoids
- Potential Therapeutic Benefits Of Rare Cannabinoids
- How To Use Cannabinoids
CANNABINOIDS: A TECHNICAL DEFINITION
The definition of cannabinoids is a little strange. Let me explain. A cannabinoid is any substance that activates the human body's endocannabinoid receptors. They interact with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS), which regulates various physiological processes such as mood, appetite, pain, and immune response. Although phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids that plants naturally produce) are primarily found in the flowers, leaves, and stems of the cannabis plant, they can come from other plants, too! Interesting right? Cannabinoids from other sources are called dietary cannabinoids. While this article will focus on cannabis cannabinoids - we will also look at primary and rare cannabinoids.
PHYTOCANNABINOIDS VS. ENDOCANNABINOIDS
Phytocannabinoids are cannabinoids that are produced naturally by plants such as Cannabis. These compounds are similar in structure to endocannabinoids, which are cannabinoids that are produced naturally by the human body. Both phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids interact with the body's endocannabinoid system, which is involved in regulating various physiological processes, such as appetite, pain sensation, mood, and immune function.
While endocannabinoids are produced by the body as needed, phytocannabinoids must be ingested or inhaled to enter the body. Once ingested, phytocannabinoids can interact with the same receptors in the endocannabinoid system as endocannabinoids, potentially leading to similar effects.
However, it's important to note that the effects of phytocannabinoids can vary depending on the specific compound and the method of consumption. Some phytocannabinoids, such as THC, can cause psychoactive effects, while others, such as CBD, do not.
In summary, while phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids share similarities in their interaction with the endocannabinoid system, they have different origins and potential effects on the body.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the two primary cannabinoids in Cannabis. THC is the psychoactive component responsible for the euphoric effects of marijuana use. At the same time, CBD is non-psychoactive and has gained attention for its potential therapeutic benefits.
THC and CBD work by interacting with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex network of receptors and neurotransmitters found throughout the body. THC binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain, producing the euphoria or "high" associated with marijuana use. On the other hand, CBD does not bind to these receptors but can still provide a plethora of therapeutic effects by interacting with receptors in the ECS.
While THC and CBD are the most well-known cannabinoids, there are many other rare cannabinoids found in the Cannabis plant. These compounds are in much lower concentrations than THC and CBD but may still have potential therapeutic benefits.
Cannabigerol (CBG) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid with potential therapeutic benefits, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. It may also be antibacterial and effectively treat conditions such as glaucoma, inflammatory bowel disease, and cancer.
Cannabichromene (CBC) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid with potential therapeutic benefits, anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. It may effectively treat conditions such as acne, anxiety, and migraines. It may also have the potential as an anti-depressant.
Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid precursor to CBD. CBDA may have potential anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-nausea properties. It may also have the potential as an anti-depressant. It may effectively treat conditions such as arthritis, anxiety, and epilepsy.
Cannabinol (CBN) is a mildly psychoactive cannabinoid formed when tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) breaks down due to exposure to oxygen and light and has soothing effects. This cannabinoid supports a healthy sleep cycle.
Cannabidivarin (CBDV) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid with potential therapeutic benefits, including anti-convulsant and anti-inflammatory properties. It may be effective in treating conditions such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. It may also have the potential as an antipsychotic.
Delta-8-THC is a minor cannabinoid similar in structure to Delta-9-THC but less psychoactive. Additionally, it may have euphoric and relaxing effects and may stimulate appetite.
Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabiphorol (THCP) is a recently discovered cannabinoid structurally similar to Delta-9-THC but maybe even more potent. It is almost ten times as powerful as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). More research is needed to understand the potential effects and therapeutic uses of THCP.
Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is a mildly psychoactive cannabinoid with potential therapeutic benefits, including appetite suppression and anti-seizure effects. It may effectively treat obesity, diabetes, and Parkinson's disease. It may also have the potential as an antipsychotic.
These are just a few rare cannabinoids found in the Cannabis plant. Each cannabinoid has its unique properties and potential therapeutic benefits.
POTENTIAL THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS OF CANNABINOIDS FOR THE HUMAN BODY
Cannabinoids studies exist regarding potential benefits to the human body, which are incredibly beneficial. Although more research is needed to understand their effects fully, here's a closer look at these fantastic interrelated benefits.
Cannabinoids For Pain ReliefCannabis cannabinoids have analgesic (pain-relieving) effects, which can be helpful for individuals dealing with chronic pain conditions.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) have the potential for pain relief. The endocannabinoid system in the human body plays a crucial role in regulating pain, and cannabinoids can interact with this system to reduce pain.
Studies have shown that THC can effectively reduce pain associated with multiple sclerosis, arthritis, neuropathic pain, and cancer. Conversely, CBD is known to have analgesic properties in chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia and neuropathic pain.
Cannabinoids are also effective in reducing pain in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. In a study published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, cancer patients who received a combination of THC and CBD reported a significant reduction in pain compared to those who received a placebo.
Additionally, cannabinoids may have a role in reducing opioid use for pain management. A study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that patients who used medical Cannabis for chronic pain reported a reduction in opioid use, suggesting that Cannabis may have the potential as an adjunct therapy for pain management.
Cannabinoids For Anxiety & Depression
Cannabinoids have potential therapeutic benefits in people dealing with anxiety and depression. The endocannabinoid system, which is affected by cannabinoids, regulates mood and emotions.
Studies have suggested CBD, in particular, may help reduce anxiety and improve mood in individuals with anxiety and depression disorders. In a 2019 study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, researchers found that CBD significantly reduced anxiety symptoms in participants with social anxiety disorder. In another study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, researchers found that CBD improved mood and reduced anxiety in individuals with anxiety disorders.
Additionally, some studies have suggested that THC may also have potential benefits in reducing symptoms of depression. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that THC reduced symptoms of depression in participants with treatment-resistant depression.
It's important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits of cannabinoids in treating anxiety and depression.
Before starting any new dietary supplement, we recommend consulting with a healthcare professional before using CBD or other Cannabis compounds (cannabinoids).
Cannabinoids For Neuroprotection
Research has suggested that cannabinoids may have neuroprotective effects. These effects could help protect the nervous system, including the brain, from damage and degeneration. Some cannabinoids may provide neuroprotection, including reducing inflammation, oxidative stress, and excitotoxicity, as well as promoting neurogenesis and neuroplasticity. Here are some examples of studies that have explored the potential neuroprotective effects of cannabinoids:
- A study published in the journal Molecular Neurodegeneration found that the cannabinoid CBD may have neuroprotective effects in an animal model of Alzheimer's disease. The researchers found that CBD reduced inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain and increased the production of new neurons.
- Another study published in the journal Neuroscience Letters found that the cannabinoid THC may have neuroprotective effects in an animal model of traumatic brain injury. The researchers found that THC reduced brain damage and improved cognitive function after the injury.
- A study published in the journal Current Neuropharmacology reviewed the potential neuroprotective effects of various cannabinoids, including THC, CBD, and CBG. The authors concluded that cannabinoids could potentially treat a wide range of neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and multiple sclerosis.
- A study published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology found that the cannabinoid CBD may have the potential as a treatment for schizophrenia. The researchers found that CBD reduced symptoms of psychosis and improved cognitive function in patients with schizophrenia.
- Another study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry found that the cannabinoid CBD may potentially be a treatment for depression. The researchers found that CBD increased the production of new neurons in the hippocampus. This brain region is involved in mood regulation.
Overall, while more research is needed to understand the potential neuroprotective effects of cannabinoids fully, these studies suggest that cannabinoids may have therapeutic potential for a wide range of neurological and psychiatric disorders. These initial studies indicate that they may be a promising future research area.
Cannabinoids For Anti-Inflammatory Effects
Inflammation is a natural response of the body to injury or infection. However, chronic inflammation can cause arthritis, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Cannabinoids, especially CBD and THC, and rare cannabinoids, have shown promise in reducing inflammation.
Cannabinoids work with the body's endocannabinoid system, which helps regulate the immune system and inflammation. Research indicates that cannabinoids can reduce inflammation by blocking the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, molecules that promote inflammation.
One study published in the Journal of Neuroimmunology found that CBD can reduce inflammation in the brain and improve symptoms in animal models of multiple sclerosis. Another study published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics found that THC can reduce lung inflammation and improve respiratory function in animal models of asthma.
Additional studies have suggested that cannabinoids can reduce inflammation in the gut, skin, and other tissues. However, more research is needed to understand the mechanisms of action and potential benefits of cannabinoids for human anti-inflammatory effects.
Further studies show how rare cannabinoids fight inflammation in the body:
- Cannabichromene (CBC): CBC is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid with anti-inflammatory properties. A study published in the Journal Pharmacology & Pharmacy in 2016 found that CBC reduced inflammation in mice with induced intestinal inflammation.
- Cannabigerol (CBG): CBG is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that has shown potential anti-inflammatory effects. A study published in the Journal of Biochemical Pharmacology in 2018 found that CBG reduced inflammation in mice with induced inflammatory bowel disease.
- Cannabidivarin (CBDV): CBDV is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that has shown promise for its anti-inflammatory effects. A study published in the journal PLoS One in 2013 found that CBDV reduced inflammation in mice with induced colitis.
- Cannabicyclol (CBL): CBL is a rare cannabinoid that has shown potential for anti-inflammatory effects. A study published in the Journal Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry in 2017 found that CBL reduced inflammation in mice with induced edema.
- Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV): THCV is a rare cannabinoid with anti-inflammatory properties. A study published in the Journal Frontiers in Neurology in 2018 found that THCV reduced inflammation in mice with induced neuroinflammation.
These studies suggest that primary and rare cannabinoids have the potential for anti-inflammatory effects. However, further research is needed to understand their mechanisms of action and potential therapeutic applications fully. It is important to note that while cannabinoids may have anti-inflammatory effects, they can also have side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, and impaired coordination.
Cannabinoids For Nausea & Vomiting
Cannabinoids effectively reduce nausea and vomiting in acute and chronic conditions. This reduction is due to the interaction between cannabinoids and the body's endocannabinoid system, which regulates nausea and vomiting.
One of the most well-known cannabinoids for its anti-nausea properties is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive component of Cannabis. THC effectively reduces nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy treatment and other medical conditions such as HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Another cannabinoid that has shown promise in reducing nausea and vomiting is cannabidiol (CBD), which does not produce the psychoactive effects associated with THC. CBD is effective in reducing nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy treatment and in reducing nausea and vomiting in patients with epilepsy.
Several studies have investigated the efficacy of cannabinoids for the treatment of nausea and vomiting. A review of 28 randomized controlled trials found that cannabinoids effectively reduced chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting. Another study found that THC was more effective than a placebo in reducing nausea and vomiting in patients with advanced cancer.
However, the use of cannabinoids for the treatment of nausea and vomiting is still controversial, and more research is needed to determine its safety and efficacy. Additionally, cannabinoids may be associated with side effects such as dizziness, dry mouth, and impaired coordination.
Cannabinoids For Appetite Stimulation
Cannabinoids, notably THC, have been shown to stimulate appetite in healthy individuals and those with conditions that result in a loss of hunger, such as cancer or HIV/AIDS. THC interacts with the endocannabinoid system in the body, which plays a role in regulating appetite and food intake.
Studies have shown that THC increases the release of ghrelin. This hormone stimulates hunger and also activates receptors in the brain's reward center, which can lead to an increase in food consumption.
One study published in the journal Psychopharmacology found that oral THC increased food intake in healthy men by up to 40%. In contrast, another study published in the journal Annals of Oncology found that cancer patients treated with THC significantly increased appetite and weight gain compared to those who received a placebo.
Overall, cannabinoids show promise in conditions that result in a loss of appetite and malnutrition. However, using THC for appetite stimulation may limit its psychoactive effects and potential side effects such as dizziness, dry mouth, and increased heart rate. Therefore, further research is needed to explore the potential benefits and risks of using cannabinoids for appetite stimulation.
Cannabinoids For Appetite Suppression
While cannabinoids are often associated with appetite stimulation, some cannabinoids with appetite suppression effects. The cannabinoid THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin) is one such example, and it works by blocking CB1 receptors in the brain. CB1 receptors regulate appetite and food intake, and using them can lead to reduced appetite and decreased food intake.
Studies on THCV have shown that it may have the potential as an appetite suppressant and weight loss aid. In a 2013 British Journal of Pharmacology study, THCV decreases food intake and increases energy expenditure in obese mice. A human study published in Diabetes Care in 2016 found that THCV improved glucose tolerance and reduced fasting plasma glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Other cannabinoids, such as CBD (cannabidiol), have also been studied for their potential appetite-suppressant effects. In a 2018 study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, CBD reduces food intake and decreases impulsivity in overweight and obese adults. While CBD does not directly suppress appetite, it reduces cravings and anxiety-related eating behaviors.
However, more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms by which cannabinoids may affect appetite and food intake.
Cannabinoids For Energy & Focus
While cannabinoids are more commonly associated with relaxation and sedation, some research suggests that certain cannabinoids may potentially increase energy and focus.
One of the primary cannabinoids studied for this purpose is tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), a rare cannabinoid found in some strains of Cannabis. Studies have shown that THCV can stimulate energy expenditure and decrease appetite, potentially making it helpful in treating obesity and metabolic syndrome. Additionally, some anecdotal evidence suggests that THCV may provide a more energizing and stimulating effect than other cannabinoids.
Another cannabinoid that may potentially increase focus and alertness is cannabigerol (CBG), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. While research on CBG is still limited, some studies have shown that it may have neuroprotective properties and be effective in treating conditions like Huntington's disease and glaucoma, which can cause cognitive impairment.
It is important to note that research on cannabinoids and energy/focus is still in the early stages. Much more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits and risks of using cannabinoids. It is also important to remember that individual responses to cannabinoids can vary widely. Some people may experience unwanted side effects like anxiety or restlessness when using cannabinoids for energy and focus. As with any supplement or medication, it is always best to speak with a healthcare provider before trying cannabinoids for a specific purpose.
Cannabinoids For Brain Health
The endocannabinoid system is present in the brain. It plays a role in regulating various processes, such as mood, cognition, and memory. Research suggests that cannabinoids may have potential benefits for brain health.
One of the primary cannabinoids, CBD, has been shown to have neuroprotective effects. Studies exist for its potential to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain, which may help protect against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Additionally, CBD may have anti-anxiety and anti-depressant effects, which could also benefit brain health.
THC, the primary psychoactive cannabinoid, has also been studied for its potential benefits for brain health. It has been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and may have neuroprotective properties. However, because of its psychoactive effects, it can have the potential for abuse.
Rare cannabinoids like CBG and CBC studies exist for their potential benefits for brain health. CBG studies show neuroprotective effects in animal models of Huntington's disease. CBC studies show anti-depressant effects in animal studies.
While more research is needed to understand the potential benefits of cannabinoids for brain health fully, early studies suggest that they may have neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and mood-regulating effects that could benefit brain function and protect against neurodegenerative diseases.
Cannabinoids For Immune Function
Cannabinoids modulate the immune system, affecting immune cell activity and cytokine production. Studies suggest that cannabinoids, including CBD and THC, may have immunomodulatory effects, potentially making them helpful in treating immune-related conditions.
One study published in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology found that CBD can suppress the activation and proliferation of T-cells, a type of white blood cell that plays a central role in the immune response. This study suggests CBD could help treat autoimmune disorders where the immune system mistakenly attacks the body's tissues.
Another study published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology found that THC can promote the activation of immune cells known as macrophages, which play a role in fighting infections and cancer. THC increases the production of cytokines by macrophages, leading to enhanced immune response.
While further research is needed to understand the effects of cannabinoids on the immune system fully, these studies suggest that cannabinoids may hold promise for immune-related conditions. However, it is essential to note that using cannabinoids to modulate immune function should be done under medical supervision. The effects can be complex and vary depending on the individual and the condition.
POTENTIAL THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS OF RARE CANNABINOIDS
The rare cannabinoids found in Cannabis have gained attention recently for their potential therapeutic properties. CBG, CBC, CBDa, CBN, CBDv, Delta 8 THC, Delta 9 THCP, and THCV are just some rare cannabinoids studied for their potential therapeutic benefits. Let's take a closer look at some research conducted on these compounds.
CBG has been shown to have potential anti-inflammatory properties and may be effective in treating conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease. It may also have potential anti-cancer properties and shown to inhibit the growth of colorectal cancer cells.
In addition, CBG may have antibacterial properties and could be effective in treating conditions such as MRSA.
CBC studies exist for its potential as an anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving compound. It may also have the potential as an anti-depressant and shown to promote the growth of new brain cells in animal studies.
Additionally, CBC may treat acne, as it inhibits the growth of acne-causing bacteria.
CBDA, the precursor to CBD, has been shown to have potential anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. It may also be effective in treating conditions such as arthritis and epilepsy.
Additionally, CBDA may have the potential as an anti-depressant, as its shown to increase serotonin levels in the brain.
CBN studies exist for its potential therapeutic effects, including its ability to act as a sleep aid, appetite stimulant, and pain reliever. Some studies have suggested that CBN effectively reduces intraocular pressure in the eyes, which can help treat glaucoma. CBN may also have antibiotic properties. One study found that CBN effectively treated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections.
Additionally, CBN may have anti-inflammatory properties and help reduce inflammation.
CBDV has been studied for its potential anti-convulsant properties and may be effective in treating conditions such as epilepsy. It may also have the potential as an antipsychotic and shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in animal studies.
CBDV may also help conditions such as multiple sclerosis and Crohn's disease.
Studies exist for its potential therapeutic effects, including its ability to act as a pain reliever, anti-nausea agent, and appetite stimulant. Delta-8 THC has a milder psychoactive effect than Delta-9-THC, which may produce less anxiety and paranoia for some users. Delta-8-THC may also have neuroprotective properties. One study found that it effectively protected brain cells from damage caused by inflammation and oxidative stress.
Additionally, Delta-8-THC may have anti-anxiety and anti-depressant effects, although more research is needed to understand these potential benefits fully.
THCP studies exist for its potential therapeutic effects, including its ability to act as a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory agent, and appetite stimulant. Some studies have suggested that THCP may produce these effects more potent than THC. However, more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits and side effects of using THCP.
One study found that THCP had a higher binding affinity to CB1 receptors in the brain than THC, which suggests that it may be more potent in producing psychoactive effects. However, more research is needed to fully understand the potential psychoactive effects of THCP, as well as its safety and efficacy as a treatment.
THCV studies exist for its potential appetite suppressant and anti-seizure effects. It may also have the potential as an antipsychotic and shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and PTSD in animal studies.
THCV may also treat conditions such as diabetes and Parkinson's disease.
It's important to note that much of the research on rare cannabinoids is still in its early stages; more research is needed to understand their potential therapeutic benefits.
HOW TO USE CANNABINOIDS
Cannabinoids can be used in various forms, including smoking or vaping, edibles, tinctures, capsules, and topicals.
Smoking or vaping Cannabis is the most common method of consumption; however, it may not be the healthiest due to the potential risks associated with inhaling smoke or vapor.
Edibles are a popular method of consumption, as they offer a more discreet and convenient way to take Cannabis. However, it's crucial to be aware of the dosage when taking edibles, as they can take longer to take effect, and these effects may last longer.
Tinctures and capsules are other popular consumption methods, as they offer a more precise way to measure the dosage. They can also be more discreet and convenient than smoking or vaping.
Topicals are a non-psychoactive way to take Cannabis, as they are applied directly to the skin. They may be effective in treating conditions such as arthritis and muscle pain.
It's important to note that the method of consumption can affect the onset and duration of the effects of Cannabis. Starting low and going slow is essential, as increasing the dosage as needed for desired results.
Cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds in the Cannabis plant with potential therapeutic benefits. While THC and CBD are the most well-known cannabinoids, many other rare cannabinoids have gained attention recently for their potential medicinal properties.
CBG, CBC, CBDA, THCV, and CBDV are just some rare cannabinoids studied for their potential therapeutic benefits. While much of the research is still in its early stages, these compounds may help various conditions, including epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, and mental health disorders.
When it comes to taking cannabinoids, there are many different methods of consumption to choose from, each with its benefits and drawbacks. Smoking and vaping may be the most common methods, but edibles, tinctures, capsules, and topicals offer advantages.
As more research continues on cannabinoids, we may better understand their potential therapeutic benefits and how to treat various conditions. However, it's important to note that Cannabis is still a controlled substance in many parts of the world, and it's essential to follow the laws and regulations in your area.
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In closing, cannabinoids are a fascinating and complex group of compounds that have gained attention in recent years for their potential therapeutic benefits. While there is still much to learn about these compounds, they may revolutionize medicine and offer new treatments for various conditions. As always, it's essential to research and speaks with a healthcare provider before trying new dietary supplements.