The Science of Cannabis
THC, THCA, CBD, CBDA, CBG, CBN, and more than 100 other cannabinoids are the compounds that create cannabis’ therapeutic effects. Each cannabinoid produces a different array of effects when it interacts with our endocannabinoid system. Knowledge of each specific compound and its concentration in cannabis products will help consumers and patients chose the most appropriate product.
The Most Common Uses of Cannabinoids
THC (Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and its isomer Delta-8)
THC is the most commonly known and sought-after cannabinoid, and as an agonist of the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors in our central nervous system, causes most of the plant’s euphoric effects. In addition, safely processed cannabis containing THC has been reported to have several therapeutic effects.
THC is used in the FDA-approved drug Dronabinol as an appetite stimulant during the treatment of anorexia from Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Off-label uses include failure to thrive in the elderly.
Dronabinol is also prescribed for the prevention of nausea caused by cancer chemotherapy. When dried cannabis is smoked, it alleviates nausea and vomiting that result from chemotherapy.
THC has been used to treat symptoms of inflammation caused by injury, infection, and arthritis.
The cannabinoid CBD was originally thought to be inactive. Contrary to THC, it binds weakly to the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors and has no psychotropic effects. In addition, CBD interacts with serotonin receptors and has a variety of effects.
Taken in many forms, CBD is used for the treatment of muscle spasticity and pain caused by epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, along with inflammation caused by infection and injury.
A number of scientific studies have found that CBD is a helpful adjunct to the treatment of clinical depression.
Like CBD, CBN is a non-psychoactive compound, yet it interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors. CBN is produced by the oxidative degradation (prolonged exposure to oxygen leading to a loss of hydrogen atoms) of THC, which can occur when cannabis is improperly stored, cured, or when it ages. Even as cannabis loses its psychoactive potency due to oxidation, the CBN it produces contain properties that are being utilized for several medicinal applications.
CBN is commonly used as a sleep aid for insomnia.
One of the properties CBN shares with THC is a reduction in intraocular pressure to treat glaucoma.
CBN has proven useful in the treatment of epilepsy and other seizure disorders.
CBC is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that lacks a significant affinity to the cannabinoid receptor; however, it does bind to receptors in the pain pathway.
CBC interacts with the TRPV1 and TRPVA receptors. In entourage with THC and CBD, CBC has been shown to successfully ease physical pain. It has been proposed to be the main antinociceptive and analgesic cannabinoid.
CBC has been shown to be helpful in the treatment of depression whether alone or in combination with other cannabinoids.
CBC alone and in combination has been shown to reduce intestinal tract edema and inflammation.
CBC was shown to have antibacterial and antifungal effects not long after its discovery. Additional promising applications for CBC include migraine prevention, acne treatment, and cancer management.
CBG accounts for less than 1% of cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, and its effects are non-psychotropic. From its precursor Cannabigerolic acid, specific synthase enzymes create Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, Cannabidiolic acid, and Cannabichromenic acid, the precursors to the more well-known cannabinoids THC, CBD, and CBC.
A study of CBG in mice showed a negative effect on cancer cell growth.
Early studies suggest that CBG is effective as an antibacterial agent, which may be useful in case of resistance to conventional antibiotics.
Early studies show that CBG may be helpful in treating bladder dysfunction by inhibiting muscle irritability and contractions.
This information on this website is not intended for the purpose of providing medical advice. All information, content, and material of this website is for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.