Cannabinoids 101

Cannabinoids 101

Over the past couple of years, you have probably heard a lot about CBD, the trendy ingredient in everything from lotion to coffee. And you've also heard about THC, the compound that makes you feel high. But what are these chemicals, and how do they work? These compounds are called cannabinoids, and if you'd like to learn more, this article is for you.

What Are Cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are chemicals found in plants and animals that bind to special receptors in our bodies. These cannabinoid receptors are a part of a larger system called the endocannabinoid system located throughout the brain and the body. Cannabinoids were named after the cannabis plant that aided their discovery. The human body produces two of its own cannabinoids (endocannabinoids), called Anandamide and 2-Arachidonoylglycerol.  Cannabinoids are also produced in plants (phytocannabinoids) that interact with the body's endocannabinoid system.

The cannabis plant contains over 80 different types of cannabinoids. The most popular is THC, which is known for its psychoactive effect on the body that includes changes to pain reception, mood, focus, and appetite. It's what is responsible for the classic "high" feeling. But the other cannabinoid that has gained massive popularity over the past few years is CBD (cannabidiol). CBD doesn't contain any psychoactive properties but proves to have a lot of promise as a therapeutic treatment. Studies show it works as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antidepressant, as well as a wide variety of other uses. 

Other cannabinoids to keep an eye out for are CBN which provides pain relief and spams reduction; THC-V which has been shown to reduce appetite and blood sugar levels; and CBG which is both antifungal and antibacterial and can be used to help bone growth. 

How Do Cannabinoids Work?

Every mammal has an endocannabinoid system that regulates our cellular processes and helps cells communicate with each other. When cannabinoids interact with these receptors, they help mediate functions like pain perception, appetite, press, blood pressure, and many others. Think of the endocannabinoid system as a regulator for all the other systems in our body.

Cannabinoid receptors are located throughout the body but are concentrated in the nervous system, where they bind to presynaptic receptors. That means that cannabinoids can inhibit neurotransmitter release. This can have a range of effects and influence many different parts of our brain and body. 

The Cannabis Plant

The reason researchers believe that cannabis can play such a significant role as a form of medicine is because of the endocannabinoid processes. When you consume cannabis, the phytocannabinoids are released and bind to the receptors, producing a range of physical and mental effects.

Different cannabinoids interact in different areas of the brain and body to produce different effects. That's why certain strains of cannabis work best for certian applications. That's also why it's important to know what you are trying to achieve with cannabis so that you can pick the right products. 

Final Thoughts

Now that you understand what cannabinoids are, you can start to explore how you want to use them. Just remember that everyone is different, and starting your cannabis journey is a learning process. Everyone's endocannabinoid system is unique, so there is no "one size fits all" when it comes to what works. It's always a good idea to consult your budtender for advice and recommendations to help you find something that's right for you.".