Cannabis is one of the oldest medicinal herbs known to humankind. According to archaeological findings, marijuana was used as far back as 2500 years ago, mainly in Southeast Asia. Some of the earliest cannabis uses include relieving headaches, soothing wounds, and for aphrodisiac purposes.
Modern science has since uncovered additional medicinal benefits of marijuana. Just like kratom cannabis might help with various medical conditions, including pain, anxiety, nausea, inflammation, seizures, and insomnia. You can get wholesale kratom in order to reduce the pain and the anxiety.
Now, marijuana produces hundreds of compounds that account for its pharmacological properties. This post examines what cannabis is and the plant’s various components and its effects.
What Exactly Is Cannabis?
Cannabis is a genus of flowering plants that produce numerous species. These species are also frequently called strains or cultivars.
You’re probably already familiar with popular cannabis species, such as Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. But as you shall find, there are scores of other cannabis strains out there, including Cannabis ruderalis and Cannabis hybrid.
Cannabis species differ across various parameters, including their maturation period and cannabinoid profile. Cannabinoids are bioactive compounds that occur naturally in the cannabis plant.
Is cannabis the same as marijuana?
The terms “cannabis” and “marijuana” appear interchangeably in numerous publications (including this one). But scientifically, marijuana is a unique cultivar of the cannabis plant characterized by significant psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels. Marijuana is often contrasted from hemp, another popular cannabis variant that produces high yields of the non-psychoactive compound cannabidiol (CBD).
This post will refer to cannabis using its various popular monikers, including marijuana, pot, and weed for convenience.
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Cannabis Components and Their Various Effects
When looking for the best hash products, you may stumble upon products containing more than one marijuana extract. Therefore, it pays to understand what those compounds are and their distinctive effects.
As we already mentioned, cannabis contains hundreds of compounds. These chemicals broadly fall under two distinct groups, namely cannabinoids and terpenes.
Cannabinoids refer to the specific compounds in marijuana that account for the vast majority of the plant’s medicinal properties. Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two most widely studied cannabinoids.
Both THC and CBD contain immense healing benefits. And like all other marijuana compounds, these substances exert their therapeutic effects by impacting the endocannabinoid system. The difference lies in the exact manner in which each cannabinoid interacts with the endocannabinoid system.
When consumed, CBD alters the chemical structure of specific endocannabinoid receptors located in the body’s peripheral organs and tissues. Such receptors are known as CB2 receptors. CBD’s effects on CB2 receptors are believed to offer relief from a wide range of diseases, particularly conditions whose primary symptoms include pain, anxiety, seizures, inflammation, and insomnia.
CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system by enhancing the body’s access to its neurotransmitters. For instance, CBD increases serotonin signaling. Serotonin is a chemical associated with happiness. CBD might also increase anandamide’s signaling, the neurotransmitter that plays a significant role in pain and anxiety relief.
Tetrahydrocannabinol also impacts the endocannabinoid system. When consumed, the compound binds directly to endocannabinoid receptors near the brain and central nervous system, called CB1 receptors.
THC’s effects on the endocannabinoid system might also offer relief from pain. Since the substance interacts directly with the brain, it can produce effects similar to opioid drugs. Like CBD, THC might also provide relief from anxiety disorders, inflammatory conditions, sleep issues, and seizures.
In terms of individual effects, it’s important to note that tetrahydrocannabinol induces euphoria while cannabinol does not. THC’s mind-altering properties come down to the compound’s direct interactions with brain receptors.
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The following are other cannabinoids besides CBD and THC.
- Cannabigerol (CBG)
- Cannabichromene (CBC)
- Cannabinol (CBN)
- Cannabivarin (CBV)
- Cannabicyclol (CBL)
- Cannabicitran (CBT)
- Cannabielsoin (CBE)
- Cannabigerovarin (CBGV)
- Cannabigerol monomethyl ether (CBGM)
- Cannabichromevarin (CBCV)
- Cannabidivarin (CBDV)
- Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA)
- Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA)
- Tetrahydrocannabiorcol (THCC)
- Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)
- Tetrahydrocannabiphorol (THCP)
Although these compounds are not as widely studied as CBD and THC, numerous preliminary findings suggest that they also contain specific medicinal properties.
For instance, Cannabigerol (CBG) has been shown to relieve inflammatory conditions like inflammatory bowel syndrome and fight glaucoma. CBG might also improve bladder functions, improve appetite, and reduce tumor growth.
Cannabichromene (CBC) might help relieve pain and inflammation, according to a recent study. The compound is also a renowned antidepressant.
To determine the effects of these cannabinoids, you only need to check their names. Generally, cannabinoids that begin with the TH- prefix are psychoactive, whereas those that start with the CB prefix are non-psychoactive.
What About Terpenes?
Terpenes refer to marijuana compounds that give cannabinoids their respective flavors and aromas. Many terpenes also offer additional therapeutic benefits. That explains why marijuana doctors generally recommend using cannabis products formulated with significant amounts of terpenes.
But since terpenes mostly stand out for their aromatic effects, it’s also essential to choose a marijuana product formulated with terpenes that produce your favorite aromas. The table below identifies the most popular cannabis terpenes, along with their individual aromatic and therapeutic effects;
|Limonene||Citrusy||Energizing and Mood-lifting|
|Terpinolene||Woody or Smokey||Sedation|
|Beta-Caryophyllene||Woody and Peppery||Sedation|
|Eucalyptol||Analgesic and mood-lifting|
|Delta-3-Carene||Coniferous and Peppery||Analgesic and anti-inflammatory|
|Humulene||Hoppy||Anti-inflammatory and appetite-suppressing|
|Terpineol||Limey||Anti-inflammatory and antifungal|
The Bottom Line
Despite their reported medicinal effects, it is important to remember that cannabis compounds are still illegal in many countries around the world. Therefore, always check your local marijuana laws before administering any cannabis extract.