Think THC and CBD are the only active compounds the cannabis plant has to offer? Think again, because scientists have identified at least 100 different cannabinoids to date.
What are cannabinoids? You probably already know about THC and CBD since cannabis naturally contains high concentrations of these compounds. THC and CBD are also relatively well-researched since they may provide some incredible health effects.
Yet, recent studies have revealed that THC and CBD aren’t the only things you can get cannabinoids with amazing benefits. That’s why we’re bringing you this guide.
From CBN to CBG and all the cannabinoids in between, we’re about to give you the 4-11 on cannabis’s most interesting active compounds.
Ready to find out what you’ve been missing out on? Then you better keep reading, because this one’s for you.
Did you know that all humans naturally produce cannabinoid-like compounds? Anandamide and 2-AG are known as endogenous cannabinoids, or simply endocannabinoids, with “endo” meaning that they come from inside our bodies.
Endocannabinoids work by interacting with the human endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS regulates a whole host of bodily functions, including:
What exactly do anandamide and 2-AG do for us? We’re telling you next, so check it out.
Anandamide was the first endocannabinoid ever discovered. Considering that it’s the most abundant cannabinoid our body produces, it’s no wonder.
Researchers have located anandamide in the brain and peripheral nervous system (PNS). However, it’s more active in the PNS. Arguably, the most interesting of anandamide’s functions is its regulation of reward and pleasure.
Unlike anandamide, 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) is far more abundant and active in the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS includes the brain, the spinal cord, and their associated nerves.
It should be no surprise then that 2-AG plays a role in pain signaling and inflammation. This endocannabinoid is also associated with emotional processing, cognition, and homeostasis.
Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the most well-known exogenous cannabinoid. Exogenous means your body doesn’t naturally produce THC like it does with anandamide and 2-AG. Instead, scientists must harvest THC from cannabis.
THC exerts its effects by binding to the same receptors as endocannabinoids. This cannabinoid is highly active in the brain, which explains one of its most well-known properties: the “high” it produces.
But this signature high isn’t THC’s only characteristic. It’s is also known to boost your mood, encourage relaxation, alleviate pain, and improve digestion.
You may be surprised to learn that cannabinol (CBN) was the first cannabinoid researchers discovered. Now, we know that cannabis flowers produce CBN when THC gets exposed to oxygen.
For this reason, you won’t usually find high concentrations of CBN in cannabis. Unless you leave cannabis flower out in exposed air for a prolonged period of time, that is.
As its close relation to THC suggests, CBN is slightly psychotoxic. That means that like THC, this cannabinoid can get you high.
Researchers have only just begun to look into the benefits of CBN. So far, scientists think CBN could provide support for sleep. Some studies have also shown that CBN may be effective against arthritic conditions.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is everyone’s favorite exogenous cannabinoid. Unlike THC, this cannabinoid is less active in the brain, and it doesn’t get users high.
Research into CBD has accelerated over the past few years. While there’s tons of anecdotal evidence about CBD’s effects, there are only a few benefits with scientific evidence backing them.
For example, some studies show that CBD may improve your appetite, combat insomnia, and help you manage stress. Another interesting quality of CBD is that it may reduce the high experienced after using THC.
Cannabichromene (CBC) shares many commonalities with CBD. It’s non-psychotoxic, may reduce the effects of THC, and could potentially provide medical benefits.
The most exciting research into CBC’s effects has been done in the brain. Studies show that CBC may play a role in neurogenesis (the production of new brain cells) and neuroplasticity (your brain cells’ ability to change).
If you’ve never heard of cannabigerol (CBG), you’re not alone. This is a less well-known cannabinoid because it’s present in extremely low concentrations in cannabis. Recently though, it’s gotten attention for its potential medical benefits.
CBG is yet another cannabinoid that won’t get you high.
What will it do? Research suggests that CBG may be beneficial for individuals with glaucoma, irritable bowel diseases (IBDs) like Crohn’s and IBS, and possibly even cancer.
While we won’t be discussing all of the more than 100 cannabinoids in this guide, we did want to talk about two more that are starting to make waves in pharmacological research: THC-V and CBD-V. Read on to find out more.
Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THC-V) is a minor cannabinoid that’s related to THC. Like THC, it’s psychotoxic, meaning it will make you feel high.
Researchers are taking notice of THC-V as a potential post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment. Other studies provide evidence for possible anti-anxiety benefits and weight loss effects.
Cannabidivarin (CBD-V) is a minor cannabinoid that’s related to CBD. As you may guess, this cannabinoid is non-psychotoxic and won’t get you high.
Scientists think CBD-V could be a beneficial treatment for epilepsy. In fact, the makers of an FDA-approved CBD prescription medication for epilepsy are currently running human clinical trials to test this theory.
We’ve barely scratched the surface with this list of the most well-known cannabinoids effects. Keep an eye out for the latest cannabis research to get in the know about all the incredible benefits cannabinoids have to offer!
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