Weed Word of the Week: Cannabinoid

This series is meant to explain the various cannabis-related terms you may have heard. The following is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to condone the use or consumption of the term being defined. For more information, please refer to our disclaimer

The chemical compounds that are known to be responsible for relief from medical ailments as well as positive changes in mood, enhanced perception and increased (or decreased) appetite after you consume or use cannabis topically are called cannabinoids.

These compounds mimic the endocannabinoids that our bodies naturally produce, and bind to receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This action can create the familiar high feeling attributed to consuming cannabis; it’s also the process that relates to cannabis’ connection to medicinal benefits such as relief from pain and anxiety, a reduction in inflammation and nausea, and even helping to build your immune system.

Research by Israeli doctor Raphael Mechoulam in the 1990s revealed two main cannabinoid receptors in the body called cannabinoid 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid 2 (CB2) that interact with these compounds in the cannabis plant. Some of the lesser known cannabinoids like CBC (cannabichromene), CBN (cannabinol) and CBG (cannabigerol), which don’t have any psychotropic effects, have been shown to have benefits as well, from reducing depression by acting as a mood stabilizer to working as an antibiotic.

Although there are over 100 known cannabinoids that have been found in cannabis, the most well-known (and most understood) ones are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the primary psychotropic component of cannabis. Cannabidiol (CBD) is better known for its therapeutic and analgesic properties. However, the cannabis plant naturally produces THCA (tetrahydrocannabinol acid) and CBDA (cannabidiol acid), which are turned into THC and CBD once they come into contact with heat.

Story by K. Astre

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