When thinking of cannabis and all of its wonderful effects, the main compound that comes to mind is THC (or Tetrahydrocannabinol, if you're fancy) responsible for its psychoactive effects. Another well known substance in this plant is CBD (Cannabidiol) mostly associated with cannabis' therapeutic capabilities ranging from aiding the inflammatory response to supporting the body's responses to stressors. These cannabinoids do this by interacting with receptors in the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) located throughout the body by being similar to the cannabinoids already produced within us.
While these two guys bring a lot to the party, there are several other amazing players known as Minor Cannabinoids:
- CBC (Cannabichromene)
- CBG (Cannabigerol)
- CBM (Cannabimovone)
- CBN (Cannabinol)
- THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin)
- THCP (Tetrahydrocannabiphorol)
- And more! (With even longer names, I'm not joking)
There are dozens of cannabinoids that are already known to the scientific community, but due to a lot of social and legal stigma, there's a lack of funding for furthering research on the lesser known cannabinoids. However, as the cannabis industry expands, more and more is coming to light each day! Without going into too much detail in this piece, I'm going to touch on some basic health-supporting attributes:
- CBC: another non-intoxicating cannabinoid, CBC has been shown to inhibit cancer cell growth as well as suppress acne breakouts, even aid in general inflammation throughout the body.
- CBN: also non-intoxicating, CBN has been shown to stimulate appetite, regulate intralocular pressure in Glaucoma patients, and act as a powerful antibacterial agent.
- THCV: in lower doses this cannabinoid is non-intoxicating, but at higher doses it can produce similar effects to THC, with a shortly-lived high because it doesn't fully bind to the same receptors. While other potential medical benefits are currently being researched more thoroughly, not much is known at this time.
There's plenty more to go over, but im saving that for later in order to cover the basics of how these cannabinoids function as a team.
As you may have heard, there's strength in numbers, and that is still true when it it comes to this spectrum of compounds. In tandem, CBD and THC both allow for a variety of affects like those previously discussed. Think of it like getting on a bus, CBD will take up seats so that THC has fewer places to sit and therefore contributes to lesser psychoactive effects. This is because CBD can't bind to the same receptors as THC without that THC being present, and this will essentially gunk up those receptors allowing less THC to get through. Due to this unique form of teamwork, many new cannabis users are advised to enjoy strains with equal amounts of THC and CBD to make for a subtle experience. Allowing for less foggieness, paranoia, and lower chances of "greening out" which is a state of cannabis induced intoxication similar to being drunk. It's not fun, but you can easily avoid it by keeping track of your dosing and know the cannabinoid content of what you consume!
Speaking of cannabinoids working together, there's a truly fascinating theory known as the "Entourage Effect" in which, things like CBD, THC, CBM, and TCHP all produce greater medicinal benefits when they're consumed together. Imagine all the anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and pain reducing properties being enhanced when consumed together! This synergistic effect could potentially be the key to unlocking even more effective treatments, even cures, for things like Glaucoma, many types of cancer, chronic pain conditions, as so much more!
Only time will tell what the full realm of benefits are from cannabis, and more legalization can only benefit the industry and research of the plant even more. I plan on covering things more in depth in future articles, and thank you so much for reading!
Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor, nor am I employed or sponsored directly by the cannabis industry. This writing is not meant to treat, diagnose, or recommend treatment for any medical conditions. This is purely for educational purposes to help bring about the end of the stigmatization of cannabis.
Scholarly articles for further reading for those interested:
- Colasanti BK, Craig CR, Allara RD. Intraocular pressure, ocular toxicity and neurotoxicity after administration of cannabinol or cannabigerol. Exp Eye Res.
- Oláh A, Markovics A, Szabó-Papp J, Szabó PT, Stott C, Zouboulis CC, Bíró T. Differential effectiveness of selected non-psychotropic phytocannabinoids on human sebocyte functions implicates their introduction in dry/seborrhoeic skin and acne treatment. Exp Dermatol.