Cannabinoids: a guide to getting the most out of cannabis as your medicine

January 3rd, 2017

The two cannabinoids that have received the most attention have been tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). But did you know that, currently, there are 113 other known cannabinoids in cannabis?

At BPG, we test and label all of our products for 5 different cannabinoids: THC, CBD, CBN, THC-A and CBD-A. We do this because each cannabinoid provides a unique medicinal benefit to the patient.

It is our belief that patients can take full control of their healing by understanding how different cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids work together to affect their mind and body.

Understanding these concepts can help you tailor your medicine to your own specific ailments, which will ultimately lead to a more therapeutic choice in treatment and overall healthier living.

Cannabinoids Image: OpenStrain

 

Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system (ECS), named after the plant that led to its discovery, is perhaps the most important physiologic system involved in maintaining human health. It regulates a variety of important processes including appetite, pain sensation, mood, and memory.

Endocannabinoids are naturally found throughout your entire body. In each tissue, the ECS performs different tasks, but the goal is always the same: homeostasis (stability of your body’s systems). Endocannabinoids, which are naturally found throughout your entire body, play a part in this balancing of the body.

When cannabis is consumed, cannabinoids bind to ECS receptor sites throughout our brain (receptors called CB-1) and body (CB-2). Different cannabinoids have different effects on your ECS, depending on which receptors they bind to.

Endocannabinoid System Receptor Sites Image: Whaxy

 

 

Cannabinoids

Cannabis contains over 500 natural compounds, including terpenes, flavonoids and cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are found only in the small, sticky resin glands on the flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant, which are known as trichomes.

Each cannabinoid, like the endocannabinoids found in your body, uniquely interacts with your ECS to balance and coordinate tissues, organ and body systems.

With a better understanding of how each cannabinoid interacts with your ECS, you can choose a medicine that provides the optimal therapeutic effect for the condition you are trying to treat.

Keep reading to learn the medicinal benefits of THC, THC-A, CBD, CBD-A and CBN:

 

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

THC is probably the most researched cannabinoid. It is known for inducing the ‘high’ associated with cannabis consumption, and is effective in treating a number of conditions. THC can produce strong feelings of euphoria and overall well-being.

  • Medical applications: PTSD, glaucoma, cancer, ADHD, anorexia, HIV/AIDS
  • Reduces: inflammation, anxiety, spasms and convulsions, vomiting and nausea, pain, spread of certain cancers, nerve damage, free radicals in the bloodstream (antioxidant)
  • Promotes: appetite, growth of new nerve tissue, oxygen intake and breathing

Cannabis Dropper TIP! CBD’s medicinal effects are amplified by the addition of THC. CBD can also decrease the euphoric effects of THC.

 

 

Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THC-A)

THC-A is the acid form of THC, and can be found in the trichomes of the cannabis plant. It is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in raw and live cannabis. As marijuana dries, THC-A slowly converts to THC.

  • Medical applications: prostate cancer, arthritis, lupus
  • Reduces: tumors, pain, nausea, insomnia, muscle spasms, inflammation
  • Promotes: appetite, cell growth

Juice Raw Cannabis for THC-A TIP! Raw cannabis contains high amounts of THC-A. Juice cannabis leaves with other fruits and vegetables for a nutritionally-dense, very potent medicine without the psychoactive effects. Image: Marley Natural

 

Cannabidiol (CBD)

CBD is considered to be “non-psychoactive,” and it reduces the euphoric effects of THC. Like THC, a significant amount of research has been conducted on CBD. Its lack of psychoactivity makes it ideal in treating children, the elderly, and patients that prefer to remain clear headed and focused.

  • Medical applications: Rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, alcoholism, PTSD, epilepsy, insomnia, AIDS, arthritis, depression, Crohn’s disease, eating disorders, glaucoma, epilepsy and seizure disorders, migraines, Multiple Sclerosis
  • Reduces: spread of certain cancers and tumors, inflammation, anxiety

Medical Cannabis Syringe TIP! If you’re looking for the medicines with high CBD content, you have many delivery options to choose from: tinctures, capsules, oil applicators, vape cartridges and other extracts, flowers, and edibles.

 

 

Cannabinol (CBN)

CBN is, just like aspirin, a non-narcotic analgesic (pain-killer), but 3 times as strong. CBN is mildly psychoactive, calming, and is a stronger sedative than other cannabinoids. CBN forms when THC has been exposed to oxygen and heat, thus high levels of CBN can be a sign of older cannabis.

  • Medical applications: tension headaches
  • Reduces: pain, inflammation, convulsions and spasms, insomnia, nausea, free radicals in the bloodstream (antioxidant)

Old Cannabis in Glass Jars TIP! Don’t throw out your old cannabis! If you store flowers in a cool, dry place, you can consume them several months later for the medicinal benefits of CBN.

 

 

Cannabidiolic Acid (CBD-A)

CBD-A is the acid form of CBD, similar to THC-A and THC. Like CBD, CBD-A is not psychoactive. While there hasn’t been much research done on CBD-A yet, the research that has been done is quite promising.

  • Medical applications: cancer
  • Reduces: cancer cell growth, bacterial growth, inflammation, nausea and vomiting

CBD-A
 

 

Other Cannabinoids

Other cannabinoids of interest include Cannabigerol (CBG), Cannabichromene (CBC), and Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THC-V). Preliminary research shows that these cannabinoids all have therapeutic values as well.

 

 

Ensemble Effect

A synergistic relationship means that the medicinal impact of the whole plant is greater than the sum of its parts. For example, CBD’s medicinal effects are amplified by the addition of THC. CBD can also decrease the euphoric effects of THC.

We call this the “Ensemble Effect.” Think of the cannabinoids as an orchestra—separately, each cannabinoid (along with terpenes and flavonoids) makes a sound, but together they create a moving performance.

What we know about specific cannabinoids is based on years of anecdotal evidence coupled with new, preliminary research. For the next century and beyond, we will discover more about how cannabinoids interact with the mind, body, each other, and other natural compounds in cannabis.

 
 

If you need help finding a product high in any of the cannabinoids listed above, visit Berkeley Patients Group, where one of our knowledgable dispensary specialists can help you find a medicine that fits your needs.

 

The information provided is not intended to replace a one‑on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional and is not intended as medical advice.

 

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