Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found in cannabis. To date, there are approximately 113 cannabinoids that have been isolated from the cannabis plant. These compounds are typically either psychoactive or non-psychoactive. Psychoactive means that it provides the "high" feeling that is often associated with cannabis use.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the most common and has significant psychoactive properties. THC has also been shown to reduce pain, inflammation, nausea, all while stimulating appetite. While THC may be the most well-known cannabinoid, there are a few others that you should have on your radar as well, such as THCA, another derivative of the marijuana plant, which has been shown to protect against nerve damage. A few others worth notable mention cannabinoids that are psychoactive and non-psychoactive are: CBD, CBN, CBG, CBC, and THCV.
Known Potential Benefits of Other Cannabinoids
- Cannabidiol (CBD) - studies suggest that CBD prevents seizures and reduces anxiety, nausea, and inflammation. Consumers should know that creams and gels often contain menthol to reduce pain and inflammation. Often, this may cool the skin and redden it, which can help with the absorption of CBD by dilating the blood vessels.
- Cannabichromene (CBC) - reduces inflammation and pain while constricting blood vessels.
- Cannabidivarin (CBDV) - alleviates nausea.
- Cannabidolic Acid (CBDA) - is an anti-inflammatory.
- Cannabigerol (CBG) - Reduces inflammation and is shown to be antibacterial.
- Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) – anti-inflammatory.
- Cannabinol (CBN) - antibacterial, reduces inflammation. reduces appetite.
Tidbits on THC
Since THC is the most controversial of the cannabinoids right now it's important to understand it's potential effects. Some of those effects include:
- Dry mouth, red eyes, increased appetite, and racing heart are all symptoms of THC use.
- If inhaled, peak effects occur after approximately 30 minutes.
- If taken by mouth, peak effects occur after between 60 and 90 minutes.
- Consumers should be counseled to wait an appropriate amount of time before ingesting a second dose to prevent over-consumption.
Cannabinoids Can Have More Benefits than Risks
- Some cannabinoids can help with seizure control in epilepsy (CBD and CBDV).
- Some are used as an anti-inflammatory or for pain relief (THC, THCA, CBC, CBDA, CBD, and CBG). Increase appetite and reduce nausea for chemo patients.
- Some are used to increase appetite or reduce nausea (THC, THCA, CBD, CBDV). Some physicians have recommended cannabinoids for the treatment of common headaches or peripheral pains in arms or legs.
- Lessen anxiety (CBD)
- Lessen gastrointestinal spasms (CBN, THC, THCA)
- Reduce headaches or other pain (although there is little evidence that cannabinoids are any more effective than over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin)
As cannabis becomes more widely available and closely studied more research will begin to arise on the different cannabinoids and debunk its mystery opening doors for a lot more medical advancements.