Cannabinoids make marijuana what it is.
Without cannabinoids, marijuana wouldn't be anything special. Cannabinoids are the precursors to the most common compounds you've heard of, THC, and CBD. Why are cannabinoids precursors? Well, cannabis doesn't actually produce THC or CBD.
THC and CBD are called cannabis compounds. These compounds begin life as THCA and CBDA. They are activated with heat which removes the acidic carboxyl group and turns THCA into THC and CBDA into CBD. THC and CBD can be safely processed by your body to relax you and enhance your mood.
How many different cannabinoids are there?
There are 113 currently identified cannabinoids. THC is the only psychoactive cannabinoid. But that doesn't mean the other 112 cannabinoids don't do anything. Cannabinoids have a wide range of positive effects and change the feeling of each weed strain.
What are some of the most commonly studied cannabinoids?
- THC = Responsible for the feeling of being "high".
- CBD = Medicinally beneficial. Relaxes muscles, eases pain, reduces effects of THC.
- CBG = Studied for effects on neurodegeneration and cancer in lab mice.
- CBC = Studied for its anti-inflammatory and anti-viral effects.
- THCV = Currently being tested to treat obesity-associated gluscose intolerance.
- CBDV = Demonstrated to provide anti-epileptic and anti-convulsive effects.
How do cannabinoids change the effects of cannabis?
Your brain has many different neurotransmitters. These are like a molecular lock. Each neurotransmitter takes a different set of keys to make it work. Some can only accept a single key, while others can accept many different keys.
THC and CBD bind to many of the same neurotransmitters. This competition is one of the reasons that CBD helps to reduce the effects of THC. With fewer neurotransmitters to bind to, THC just can't get you as stoned.
Other cannabinoids bind to completely different neurotransmitters in your brain. This changes the overall effect of the marijuana and that's why different marijuana strains are used to treat different ailments. Certain cannabinoid combinations have a greater effect on a specific condition like epilepsy, appetite-loss, arthritis, and generalized pain.