Naturally occurring cannabinoids are the chemical compounds secreted by cannabis flowers. They bind to specific endocannabinoid receptor sites throughout the brain (CB1) and body (CB2) and imitate compounds our bodies naturally produce. Endocannabinoid receptors regulate a wide range of important biological functions. There are many different types of cannabinoids, and because endocannabinoid receptors are found all over the body, the potential benefits are almost limitless.
The Different Types of Cannabinoids
There are more than 100 cannabinoids found throughout the stalks, seeds, and flowers of cannabis plants like hemp. The synergistic effect of multiple cannabinoids working in cooperation is known as the entourage effect. Harmonious interaction of different types of cannabinoids works more effectively as medical treatment.
- CBC (Cannabichromene): The third most common cannabinoid, CBC is non-psychoactive. Research indicates that CBC offers, to varying degrees, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-depressant, and anti-fungal properties. The therapeutic value of CBC is significantly enhanced when combined with other cannabinoids such as THC, CBD, and CBG. CBC has shown the potential to promote the growth of new brain cells (neurogenesis), which indicates the possibility of an effective, preventative treatment for conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease.
- CBD (Cannabidiol): Among the most abundant of all the cannabinoids and the topic of thousands of scientific studies, CBD has been shown to possess significant antioxidant and neuroprotective properties. There is great potential benefits in treating neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis. It has also been proven effective for reducing, or even eliminating seizure activity in people with refractory epilepsy disorders. A non-psychoactive cannabinoid, CBD is the preferable option for children or anyone seeking the balancing effects of cannabinoids without the high.
- CBN (Cannabinol): CBN is most commonly produced when cannabis flowers grow old and stale. It has mild psychoactive properties and is shown to substantially increase appetite (even more than THC). CBN functions as an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory and also offers powerful sedative and pain relieving qualities. With the ability to lessen ocular pressure, CBN provides potential therapeutic value for glaucoma patients. In 2005, a study on mice with a rodent version of Lou Gehrig’s disease suggested that CBN delayed the onset of symptoms. These findings suggest potential for CBN to ease the symptoms of patients with progressive neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS.
- CBG (Cannabigerol): Only present during the early growth cycle of the cannabis plant, CBG is typically found in minute quantities. Non-psychoactive, this cannabinoid has shown to have antibiotic, anti-fungal, and antidepressant properties, while also promoting bone growth. It effectively treats skin diseases such as psoriasis and has been proven to have mild anti-tumor effects for certain types of cancer. It is considered a more powerful painkiller than THC.
- THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol): The most abundant cannabinoid in the cannabis plant, THC works in conjunction in anandamide (the body’s own endogenous cannabinoid), activating receptors in the brain (CB1) and bringing the neurotransmitters back into balance. Some of the multitude of psychoactive effects include euphoria, relaxation, introspection, creativity, sedation, sensory alteration, appetite stimulation, focus, and energy. Studies have shown amazing medicinal promise, including for pain relief, inflammation, autoimmune disorders, spasticity, insomnia, nausea, depression, and anxiety. THC also shows potential as a possible anti-cancer agent, neuroprotectant, and antioxidant.
- THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin): THCV, a mildly psychoactive cannabinoid, is only found in certain strains of cannabis and most often in small concentrations. Structurally very similar to THC, the difference is the three carbons of the THCV molecule, while THC has five. The effects of each cannabinoid, however, are very different. While THC stimulates appetite, THCV suppresses it. THCV also offsets some of the negative, anxiety-related psychoactive effects of THC. THCV has further shown anti-epileptic and neuroprotective properties.
- CBDV (Cannabidivarin): Small changes to the molecule result in significant variations between the way CBDV and CBD interact with the body. A tremendous amount of research and limited studies suggest that CBDV has the potential to help epileptic patients and patients with gastrointestinal problems.
- Delta-8-THC: A milder form of THC, this cannabinoid has fewer psychoactive effects. More research is necessary, but initial studies have demonstrated that Delta-8-THC has powerful appetite-stimulating and anti-nausea properties.