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Cannabis 101: What Are Cannabinoids?

Cannabis 101

In this photo made Friday, Nov. 21, 2014, former U.S. Marine Sgt. Ryan Begin smokes medical marijuana at his home in Belfast, Maine. Begin had endured 35 surgeries after having his right elbow blown off by a roadside bomb in 2004. He is a proponent of legalizing pot for recreational use and allowing individual citizens the right to grow six plants. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

In today’s culture, there are those who believe in and have experienced the medical benefits of cannabis, and those who think that medicating with cannabis is a more a socially acceptable way of saying you like to get high. However, all one needs to do is understand a little of the chemistry involved in cannabis, and how it works with the body to provide healing benefits, to realize that there’s nothing “nudge, nudge, wink, wink” about it. Cannabis truly offers significant, life-changing medical benefits to those who use it correctly.

Step one in understanding how cannabis works is to understand the cannabinoid system. In short, cannabinoids are chemical compounds produced in the cannabis flower that work in conjunction with other compounds and your body chemistry to produce therapeutic effects. Cannabinoids work with our body by mimicking compounds we produce naturally, called endocannabinoids.

When you consume cannabis, the cannabinoids bind with receptors in your brain. Certain cannabinoids prefer certain areas. THC is the main cannabinoid that people are familiar with, but there are many. Each cannabinoid has unique medical properties and has preferred receptor types it likes to bind with. Through breeding and science, cannabinoid profiles can be manipulated to create strains that produce specific results. Strains grown as a hemp crop will be bred to be low in THC whereas strains bred for medicinal purposes will have higher CBD and THC levels.

There are more than 100 types of cannabinoids in marijuana. Knowing which ones work best for your symptoms will lead to better results than just smoking cannabis strains indiscriminately. Some of the main cannabinoids are:

  • CBG (Cannabigerol)
  • CBC (Cannabichromene)
  • CBL (Cannabicyclol)
  • CBV (Cannabivarin)
  • THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)
  • CBD (Cannabidiol)

While cannabinoids provide medical benefits, not all of them are psychoactive. CBD strains tend to be low in THC and CBD works against the psychoactive effects of THC so you get less high the more there is. Other cannabinoids that don’t have psychoactive effects include CBG and CBC. THC, CBN, CBDL and some other cannabinoids too.

Pro Tip: THC transmutes into the less effective CBN when exposed to air. The longer cannabis is kept out, the less potent it becomes.

Cannabinoids can treat many symptoms and conditions, including but not limited to:

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar
  • Cancer
  • Depression
  • Epilepsy
  • Gastric Problems
  • Neurological Conditions

Coming soon…. Learn more about the main cannabinoids and what they do!