The Definition of Cannabinoids and Their Health Benefits
What are cannabinoids?
Cannabinoid refers to every chemical substance, regardless of structure or origin, that joins the cannabinoid receptors of the body and brain. The cannabis sativa plant produces between 80 and 100 minor cannabinoids and about 300 non-cannabinoid chemicals. The two major cannabinoids are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
Cannabinoids are a class of diverse chemical compounds that act on receptors in cells that alter neurotransmitter release in the brain. Cannabinoids were first discovered in cannabis plants in the 1940s and their structures were elucidated in the 1960s. Since then, cannabinoids have been found in plants, animals, and humans.
The role of cannabinoids in the plant kingdom
Cannabinoids play an important role in the plant kingdom. They serve as protectants from herbivores, insects, and diseases. Cannabinoids also help to regulate cannabis plant growth and development.
Phytocannabinoids are derived from medical cannabis. Although the exact site of cannabinoid production is unknown. Higher concentrations of phytocannabinoids are located on the flowers of female cannabis sativa plants where most cannabinoids accumulate. But they are also found on the stems and leaves. The phytocannabinoids are found in trichomes.
Trichomes are tiny, glandular, sticky hairs that cover the surface of the cannabis plant. Trichomes are where most cannabinoids and other beneficial compounds are found.
Endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) are also found in animals. In fact, all vertebrates have an endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a group of receptors and cannabinoids that work together to maintain homeostasis in the body.
Cannabinoids interact with the brain in a number of ways. cannabinoids can mimic, enhance, or block the effects of other neurotransmitters. cannabinoids also interact with brain receptors to produce their effects.
The two main types of cannabinoids receptors are: - CB1 receptors: These are found primarily in the brain and are involved in mood, memory, pain perception, and appetite. - CB2 receptors: These are found primarily in the immune system and are involved in inflammation and pain.
Cannabinoids can either bind to endocannabinoid receptors or they can inhibit the enzymes that break down endocannabinoids. When cannabinoids inhibit the enzymes that break down endocannabinoids, endocannabinoid levels increase. This can lead to a number of therapeutic effects.
Cannabinoids have been shown to kill cancer cells in laboratory studies. Cannabinoids can kill cancer cells by:
- Inhibiting cell growth - Inducing cell death - Inhibiting tumor angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels) - Inhibiting tumor metastasis (the spread of cancer)
Cannabinoids can also help to reduce anxiety. Cannabinoids work by:
- Acting on the central nervous system to reduce anxiety - Reducing inflammation - Interacting with brain receptors to reduce anxiety
Cannabinoids can also be used to treat drug abuse. Cannabinoids can help to:
- Reduce drug cravings - Block the effects of other drugs - Treat withdrawal symptoms
Cannabinoids are also effective anti-inflammatories. cannabinoids work by:
- Affecting CB2 receptors - Inhibiting the production of inflammatory chemicals
Cannabinoids can also help to reduce seizure activity. cannabinoids work by:
- Epidiolex (oral CBD) a synthetic cannabinoid has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of two kinds of seizures - Reducing inflammation - Interacting with brain receptors to reduce seizure activity
Cannabinoids can also help to improve sleep. cannabinoids work by:
- Acting on the nervous system to improve sleep - Reducing inflammation - Interacting with brain receptors to improve sleep
THC and its benefits
THC is the main psychoactive cannabinoid. It produces the psychoactive effects that people feel when they smoke or ingest marijuana. THC binds to receptors in the brain and alters neurotransmitter release.
THC increases appetite by binding to receptors in the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates hunger.
THC can relieve chronic pain by binding to receptors in the nervous system. Cannabinoids can offer pain relief by: - Acting on the nervous system to reduce pain signals - Reducing inflammation - Interacting with brain receptors to reduce pain perception
THC can decrease pressure inside the eye, which may be helpful for people with glaucoma.
CBD and CBDA benefits
CBD may help to lower blood pressure by reducing stress and anxiety. Additionally, CBD can widen blood vessels, which can improve blood flow and reduce blockages. These effects may help to protect the heart from damage.
CBD may help to reduce pain by binding to cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system.
CBDA is a potent anti-inflammatory agent that can help to reduce inflammation throughout the body.
CBN and its benefits
CBN is a sedative compound that can promote sleep by binding to receptors in the brain.
CBD and CBN are both neuroprotective compounds that can help to protect the brain from damage. Additionally, CBD may help to improve cognitive function.
Possible side effects
Cannabinoids are generally well tolerated and have few side effects. However, some people may experience dry mouth, dizziness, lightheadedness, and drowsiness. cannabinoids can also interact with other medications you are taking. Be sure to talk to your doctor before using cannabinoids.
Has the FDA approved cannabis for medical use?
The Food and Drug Administration has not approved cannabis for medical use. However, they have approved two drugs that contain cannabinoids: dronabinol (Marinol) and nabilone (Cesamet). These drugs are used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy. The FDA is currently evaluating data from clinical trials on the potential medical uses.
What do cannabinoids do?
They bind to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and alter neurotransmitter release. They have a wide range of effects on the body, including effects on appetite, chronic pain, inflammation, sleep, and cognitive function.
Is cannabinoid a drug?
No. They are not drugs. They are a class of diverse compounds that act on cannabinoid receptors in cells that alter neurotransmitter release in the brain. They were first discovered in the 1940s and their structures were elucidated in the 1960s. Since then, they have been found in plants, animals, and humans.
What do cannabinoids do in the brain?
Cannabinoids bind to receptors in the brain and alter neurotransmitter release. They have a wide range of effects on the body, including effects on appetite, pain, inflammation, sleep, neurological disorders and cognitive function.
Is CBD and cannabinoid the same?
No. CBD is non-psychoactive and has a wide range of potential medical applications. Cannabinoid is a general term used to describe all cannabinoids, including CBD.
What are cannabinoids give an example?
Cannabinoids are a class of diverse chemical compounds that act on cannabinoid receptors in cells that alter neurotransmitter release in the brain. They were first discovered in the 1940s and their structures were elucidated in the 1960s. Since then, they have been found in plants, animals, and humans. An example is cannabidiol (CBD).
What are cannabinoids good for?
Cannabinoids have a wide range of potential medical applications. Cannabinoids have been shown to be effective for treating chronic pain, inflammation, sleep disorders, and anxiety. Additionally, they may have neuroprotective and anticancer effects. Medical marijuana is the main source today.
What are the 4 cannabinoids?
The four cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabinol (CBN), and cannabigerol (CBG). What are the 3 types of cannabinoids? There are three main types of cannabinoids: phytocannabinoids, endocannabinoids, and synthetic cannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids are found in plants, such as cannabis. Endocannabinoids are cannabinoids produced by the body. Synthetic cannabinoids are man-made cannabinoids that mimic the effects of cannabinoids found in nature.
What are the main cannabinoids?
The two main cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD is non-psychoactive and has a wide range of potential medical applications. THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis and is responsible for the "high" associated with smoking marijuana.
What are the side effects of cannabinoids?
The most common side effects of smoking cannabis are tiredness, dizziness, and changes in appetite. Cannabinoids can also cause gastrointestinal upset, anxiety, and psychotic symptoms.
What part of the body do cannabinoids affect?
Cannabinoids bind to cannabinoid receptors throughout the body. The cannabinoids THC and CBD have been shown to bind to receptors in the brain and alter neurotransmitter release. Additionally, cannabinoids may have anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and neuroprotective effects.
Do we naturally have cannabinoids?
Yes. Endocannabinoids are cannabinoids produced by the body. Endocannabinoids play a role in regulating a variety of physiological and cognitive processes, including appetite, pain, inflammation, sleep, and memory.
The following chart shows some of the most common cannabinoids found in cannabis plants and the benefits they provide:
Until next time, stay medicated my friends!
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