The Endocannabinoid System & Cannabinoids
Cannabis is a plant that contains over 100 chemical compounds called cannabinoids, which can interact with a biological system in our bodies called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS was discovered by scientists who were studying how cannabis affects the brain and body. The ECS is composed of endocannabinoids, which are natural molecules that our bodies produce; cannabinoid receptors, which are proteins that bind to endocannabinoids and cannabinoids; and enzymes that break down endocannabinoids and cannabinoids. The ECS is involved in regulating many physiological and cognitive processes, such as appetite, pain, mood, memory, immune function, fertility and more . Cannabis can affect the ECS by mimicking or blocking the action of endocannabinoids, which can have various therapeutic or adverse effects depending on the dose, route of administration, type of cannabinoid and individual factors.
Cannabis and the ECS are still under active research to better understand their functions and potential applications in medicine.
Here are some of the most common and important cannabinoids you should know about:
- THC: This is the main psychoactive cannabinoid that causes the high associated with cannabis. Some people have reported that THC can also have benefits such as pain relief, appetite stimulation, anti-nausea, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects .
- CBD: This is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that can counteract some of the negative effects of THC, such as anxiety and paranoia. CBD can also have therapeutic effects such as anti-inflammatory, anti-seizure, anti-anxiety, anti-psychotic and neuroprotective effects .
- CBG: This is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that is considered a precursor to other cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD. CBG can have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal and neuroprotective effects .
- CBN: This is a mildly psychoactive cannabinoid that is formed when THC degrades over time. CBN can have sedative, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects .
- CBC: This is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that can enhance the effects of other cannabinoids through a phenomenon called the entourage effect. CBC can have anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, antifungal and neurogenesis effects .
These are just some of the most studied cannabinoids in cannabis. There are many more that have yet to be fully explored and understood. The best way to find out how different cannabinoids affect you is to try different strains and products with varying ratios and concentrations of these compounds. Remember to always start low and go slow when consuming cannabis for optimal safety and enjoyment.The benefits listed of these cannabinoids are based on peoples reviews online, for accurate medical advice, we recommend you consult your doctor.