09 Oct Top 3 cannabinoids and their effects
Interested in learning more about cannabinoids and their effects on the human body? The following article is a complete overview of the topic. Did you know that scientists have identified more than 120 cannabinoids to date? To better understand how CBD can trigger the effects of cannabinoids, we need to first explain cannabinoids 101, then move to the three most studied of the family.
What are cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are a class of active chemical compounds produced by the Cannabis sativa L. plant. They act on cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) located in our cells as part of the endocannabinoid system, a regulatory network responsible for keeping the body’s functions in balance. When interacting with these receptors, cannabinoids are able to alter the release of neurotransmitters in the brain, among other functions. This is not only true for humans, but all mammals also have an endocannabinoid system.
Cannabinoids found in plants are called phytocannabinoids, but plants are not the only sources of these compounds. There are also the so-called endocannabinoids – such as Anandamide and 2-AG – which are produced naturally by our body as part of the endocannabinoid system’s functions.
Top 3 cannabinoids and how they affect our body
#1 Cannabidiol – aka CBD
Among the most abundant cannabinoids found in the Cannabis plant is cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is a non-psychoactive compound that has been in high demand in recent years due to its promising wellness benefits. CBD is now widespread in the United States and in more than 40 other countries. CBD is abundant in the hemp plant, making it an ideal source of this non-psychoactive compound.
#2 Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol – Δ9-THC
This cannabinoid is most often associated with marijuana use. You can call it THC, but its full name is a bit more complicated – delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC). THC is the active ingredient that causes psychoactive effects, like feeling euphoria – or being “high”, but it also shows therapeutic benefits. It all depends on the dose. THC is one of the most prevalent cannabinoids in the marijuana plant. Its concentration can reach up to 30%, depending on the strain and the cultivation methods.
#3 Cannabichromene – CBC
Although it is considered the third most common cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant, cannabichromene (CBC) is a non-psychoactive compound that is still largely ignored. CBC is a non-psychoactive compound in the Cannabis plant that has demonstrated various effects that indicate wellness promise. Any cannabinoid other than CBD and THC is still very scarce on scientific studies, but there’s a growing interest.
Other well known cannabinoids are cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG), tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), cannabidivarin (CBDV), delta-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ8-THC), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), among more than 100 others. If you’re curious to know more, Prof. Rudolf Brenneisen, PhD, documented many of the cannabinoids identified so far in his article Chemistry and Analysis of Phytocannabinoids and Other Cannabis Constituents.
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