A CLOSER LOOK: CANNABINOIDS & TERPENES
THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) works as the bridge between body and mind and its primary purpose revolves around maintaining homeostasis. Homeostasis refers to the ability of the body or a cell to seek and maintain a condition of equilibrium (balance) with in its internal environment when dealing with external changes.
This system balances and strengthens our nervous and immune system; initiates pain control; calms inflammation; and initiates neurogenesis (the production of new nerve cells which is essential for brain recovery and memory function enhancement).
Cannabinoids act as neuromodulators and help regulate every physiological system such as our nervous system, digestive system, reproductive system, immune system, endocrine system, and muscular system. Cannabinoid receptors are found throughout the entire body and are embedded in membranes of cells. If cannabinoid receptors function as a lock, then cannabinoids are the key.
Cannabinoid receptors are divided into two main subtypes : CB1 and CB2.
CB1 receptors are most commonly found in the brain and effect functions like sleep, pain, nausea, and movement. The activation of CB1 receptors can help regulate the aforementioned functions and more.
CB2 receptors are found primarily in the immune system, but also are located in the gastrointestinal system, brain, and peripheral nervous system. The activation of CB2 receptors reduces excessive sensitivity towards inflammation and neuropathic (pertaining to the nervous system) pain.
The two main Cannabinoids from Cannabis are: Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD).
THC is best known for being the psychoactive component in cannabis. It binds equally to CB1 and CB2 receptors and is a neuroprotectant. THC has been known to cause some people to feel anxious or paranoid, but it is believed to be responsible for the plant's sleep-inducing effects. THC is also a strong anti-inflammatory, bronchodilator, anti-spasmodic, muscle relaxant, a powerful neuroprotectant and antioxidant.
CBD (cannabidiol) has recently started to draw attention from the medical community because it cannot get you 'high.' CBD is the second most common cannabinoid in cannabis and the most common in hemp plants. CBD rich cannabis (4% or more) provides potent therapeutic benefits without the euphoria or lethargy of many high THC varieties. Studies show that CBD acts to promote wakefulness, and is thus a poor sleep aid.
CBD is as beneficial and versatile a cannabinoid as THC in addressing many hard to manage conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, epilepsy, antibiotic-resistant infections, alcoholism, PSTD and neurological disorders.
CBD has very strong anxiolytic (reduces anxiousness), anti-convulsant, anti-emetic (reduces nausea), anti-inflammatory, antioxidant (stronger than vitamins C & E), anti-depressant and anti-psychotic properties.
One of the most exciting aspects of CBD is its combined strong anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and neuro-protective properties, which yields great promise for the treatment of Alzhiemer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and all neurodegenerative-related diseases.
There are at least 113 different cannabinoids isolated from cannabis, exhibiting varied effects, but only 5 occur in any large amount in the strains present today.
Other noteworthy cannabinoids that appear in trace amounts in cannabis that offer therapeutic benefits are:
Cannabidiol (CBD) relieves convulsions, inflammation, anxiety and nausea—many of the same therapeutic qualities as THC but without psycoactive effects. It is the main cannabinoid in low-THC cannabis strains, and modern breeders have been developing strains with greater CBD content for medical use.
Cannabinol (CBN) is mildly psychoactive, decreases intraocular pressure, and seizure occurrence.
Cannabichromene (CBC) promotes the analgesic effects (pain relief) of THC and has sedative (calming) effects.
Cannabigerol (CBG) has sedative effects and antimicrobial properties, as well as lowers intraocular pressure.
Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is showing promise for type 2 diabetes and related metabolic disorders.
Discover more about Cannabinoids
Terpenes are the aromatic constituents of all essential plant oils and are found in all spices, fruits, and vegetables. They are the most common plant chemicals in nature, and Cannabis produces over 200 terpenes. Terpenes are pharmacologically active and work together with cannabinoids to provide a greater therapeutic effect.
Some significant terpenes found in cannabis are myrcene, pinene, limonene, terpinolene, limonene, linalool, ocimene, and beta-caryophyllene.
Discover more about Terpenes
The information on this page is intended for educational purposes and Positive Energy does not recommend anything as medical treatment.
Always speak with your doctor before using medical cannabis and other drugs.
Cannabis Pharmacy - The Practical Guide to Medical Marijuana by Michael Backes