Today, marijuana is a widely accepted part of society. In fact, 15 states have legalized recreational weed, and another 20 have legalized medical marijuana.
With weed culture being so mainstream nowadays, it’s no surprise to see people from all walks of life indulging in cannabis products. Not only that, but an industry’s risen from the R&D of cannabinoids, and we’re not just talking about THC either!
If you’re wondering about the different types of cannabinoids available, then you’re in the right place. Here, we’ll give you an in-depth view of cannabinoids, including a look at what the endocannabinoid system is and how it interacts with cannabinoids.
What Are Cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are a type of chemical compound that you’ll find in cannabis plants (hence the name). To date, there have been over 100 cannabinoids identified, although it’s certainly very possible that more will be discovered.
One that most people have heard about is THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. This is the active compound in marijuana that gets people high, which is why so many people are familiar with this compound.
Another cannabinoid that people have heard of is CBD, or cannabidiol. Basically, it’s able to give you the same benefits as THC, except without getting high. As you can see, this can be highly advantageous for several reasons.
Of course, these aren’t the only 2 cannabinoids, and even what we’ve told you about them barely scratches the surface. If you want to learn more about the different cannabinoids around, then skip to that section.
In the meantime, let’s explore how cannabinoids work.
What Is the Endocannabinoid System?
Before we can dive into how cannabinoids work, we need to first understand the endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a relatively new discovery. We’ve only known about it since the early 1990s, and this was only thanks to the research scientists were making in THC.
This system is actually present in pretty much every living being, including both vertebrates and invertebrates. While more research needs to be done into exactly what the ECS does, scientists have found that it’s linked to things like your memory, moods, sleep, appetite and metabolism, and fertility.
Endocannabinoids: Your Body’s Natural Cannabinoids
While you might think that you need to indulge in cannabis to activate your ECS, that’s not true at all. This is because your body makes endocannabinoids, which are essentially natural cannabinoids.
Your body mainly makes anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). The beauty of nature is that your body knows exactly how much of each to make so you’re in homeostasis for all the things listed in the previous section.
Endocannabinoids don’t just float around in your body. For them to work, endocannabinoids need to bind to endocannabinoid receptors.
In humans, we have 2 main receptors. CB1 receptors are mostly found in the central nervous system (CNS) while CB2 receptors are mostly found in the peripheral nervous system (PNS). More specifically, CB2 receptors are mainly concentrated in immune cells.
Whatever endocannabinoids are present, they can bind to both CB1 and CB2 receptors. The different combinations of endocannabinoids and receptors allow for different outcomes, such as pain relief or reduction of inflammation.
Again, endocannabinoids don’t just float around, even after they’re used up. They’re removed from your body through enzymes, which essentially eat up the spent endocannabinoids.
There are different enzymes responsible for breaking down each type of endocannabinoid. Fatty acid amide hydrolase is responsible for eliminating EAE while monoacylglycerol acid lipase is responsible for eliminating 2-AG.
How Do Cannabinoids Work?
Now that you know more about the endocannabinoid system, we can go into detail about how cannabinoids work in your body.
Basically, cannabinoids work in the same way that endocannabinoids do: they attach to the multiple receptors found in your body to provide different events.
However, instead of your body making the cannabinoids, you have to introduce them yourself. This can be done through things like the act of smoking marijuana or taking cannabis oil drops.
As you can see, you can make up for an endocannabinoid deficiency by taking cannabinoids through marijuana products. These can then provide effects like pain relief and appetite stimulation, as well as reductions in:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Tight muscles
- Cancer cells
Essentially, consuming cannabinoids can help you maintain homeostasis more easily.
The Entourage Effect
When using cannabis products, the important thing to note is that you should take advantage of the entourage effect. This is where you benefit from more than just the effects of THC.
The entourage effect occurs when you allow other compounds in cannabis to interact with THC and amplify one another. This means not only allowing other cannabinoids to be in the product (such as CBD or CBN), but also other compounds like terpenes and flavonoids.
So when you’re buying marijuana products, choosing an isolate product isn’t necessarily a good thing. While it certainly means that you’re getting the cannabinoid in pure form, this means there are no other compounds present, which means you won’t experience the entourage effect.
Instead, go for either broad or full-spectrum products. Broad-spectrum products will contain less than 0.3% THC while full-spectrum ones will contain more. If you’re looking to pass drug tests, we’d suggest sticking to broad-spectrum products since the THC amount should be low enough that you won’t fail them.
The Different Types of Cannabinoids
As we mentioned earlier, there are over 100 types of cannabinoids that we’ve discovered. They can all do wonders for us, but some are more important than others. Plus, if we delved into every cannabinoid available, we’d be here forever!
So below are some cannabinoids you should know about, especially if you’re considering using cannabis products in the near future.
THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol) is the main component in weed that gets people “high.” This is where you feel euphoric and even couch-locked after you’ve either smoked, vaped, or eaten weed. It’s the compound that gives you those psychoactive effects.
Not only can THC get you high, but it can also relieve pain, improve your appetite, decrease nausea, help with insomnia, act as an antidepressant, and more. Some research has also shown that it can act like an antioxidant, which has additional health benefits attached. For instance, it can prevent or slow down free radical damage done to your healthy cells.
Not surprisingly, marijuana plants are made up of mainly THC when it comes to cannabinoids. In fact, there are cannabinoids found within THC that are different.
For example, there’s delta-8 THC, which differs from delta-9 THC, which is the active compound in marijuana. Find out here if you want to learn more about this fascinating chemical compound.
CBD (or cannabidiol) is another hot topic when it comes to cannabinoids. This is because it’s very similar to its cousin THC, except it doesn’t have significant psychoactive effects. So for those who have tried weed before and don’t like the effects it had on them, CBD is a wonderful alternative.
While you can’t get high on CBD, the psychoactive effects it’ll have are alleviating anxiety and depression. Like THC, it can also relieve pain and reduce inflammation. This cannabinoid can also be safely used for things like cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy.
All of these benefits make CBD a great option if you want to avoid the adverse side effects of pharmaceutical drugs. CBD is also non-addictive, which means you won’t get hooked on it and won’t suffer from withdrawal symptoms if you stop using it either.
The next cannabinoid you should know about is CBN (or cannabinol). This is actually a cannabinoid that you can only get by aging marijuana. It’s an oxidation product of THC.
Because CBN comes from aged cannabis, it may not sound like a very appealing compound. However, try to think of it like wine, in that the more it’s aged, the more benefits you can reap.
CBN is helpful in stimulating your appetite and easing glaucoma symptoms. Also, if you combine it with THC, it has powerful sedative effects, which means you can conquer insomnia with it.
Other uses for CBN include antibiotics and ALS treatment.
Next to CBD, THCV (or tetrahydrocannabivarin) is the next most popular cannabinoid. This is also a compound that’s very similar to THC, but has its own benefits. Because it’s so chemically similar to THC, THCV is actually one of the few cannabinoids that have psychoactive effects.
What does this mean for you if you ingest it? You’ll actually get high, but most people report it to be relaxing yet energizing at the same time.
THCV is very effective for anxiety and some even use it as a weight loss aid since it may reduce your appetite instead of stimulating it. This cannabinoid also boosts your metabolism, which is a win-win when it comes to shedding weight.
THCV can also be a powerful protectant when it comes to your bones and brain.
Like with THCV and THC, CBDV (or cannabidivarin) is a very similar compound to CBD. This means it’s non-psychoactive.
Not a whole lot is known about this cannabinoid. However, it shows promise for treating epilepsy and nausea.
CBG (or cannabigerol) is another cannabinoid that doesn’t have psychoactive effects, so it can be a great option for those who need relief from ailments without getting high. It’s less commonly found in cannabis, but it’s still found in a high enough quantity that you can reap its benefits.
This cannabinoid is best used for pain and inflammation. It’s such a powerful anti-inflammatory that it may actually protect you against degenerative diseases like Huntington’s. CBG may also help with a wide variety of cancers, such as oral, prostate, and colorectal cancer.
Also, CBG shows promise for treating glaucoma and skin conditions. This cannabinoid can also be used as an antibacterial agent or antidepressant.
CBGV (or cannabigerovarin) is an analog of CBG, like the other V-varieties of cannabinoids on this list. This means you can expect it to have similar effects to CBG.
For example, like CBG, CBGV is very good for pain and inflammation. It also shows promise for treating cancers, such as leukemia.
But one thing that sets it apart from CBG is the fact that it can alleviate dry skin conditions. Despite the vast number of cannabinoids, not many can do this!
CBC (or cannabichromene) is yet another cannabinoid that can act as a powerful antibiotic. It’s also great when combined with THC since it can help with pain, inflammation, and moods.
Like some other cannabinoids on here, CBC can also have neuroprotective properties.
CBC also has its own analog: CBCV. However, there hasn’t been much research done on this cannabinoid just yet, which means scientists still aren’t sure about what it does exactly. But it’s reasonable to assume that like with all the other analogs that CBCV has similar benefits as CBC.
Know Your Cannabinoid Options
Now you know all about the different types of cannabinoids, as well as how they work with your endocannabinoid system to bring you many benefits. By learning more about your cannabinoid options, you’ll be able to take advantage of what cannabis products have to offer you.
But most importantly, remember that all these cannabinoids (and other compounds, such as flavonoids and terpenes) work together to give you the entourage effect. As a result, you’ll be able to maximize on the benefits and improve your quality of life significantly.
For more articles like this one on cannabinoid types, make sure you check out the rest of our blog page now.