Many like to call cannabis a miracle plant, which is not an exaggeration considering its therapeutic potential. This article will help you understand various active cannabinoids and their collective effect on your brain.
The cannabis plant has an extensive range of active compounds called phytocannabinoids. Some of these include:
The most potent substances are THC and CBD.
The human body has an endocannabinoid system consisting of a complex network of receptors all over the body. They interact with naturally produced analogs of cannabinoids to modulate bodily functions like immunity, emotional development, memory, and pain. These receptors respond to the exogenous cannabinoids and produce similar effects, giving you a “high” feeling. The medical aspects of cannabis are also based on the interaction of cannabinoids with these receptors. They attach in your body and trigger pathways to control mechanisms that create healing effects.
Along with phytocannabinoids, cannabis also contains terpenes. These are aromatic compounds, volatile in nature, and give cannabis its particular smell and flavor. Terpenoids are their denatured and oxidized forms, and both these terms are frequently used to explain terpenes.
Until recently, these terpenes were thought to be responsible for repelling insects and pathogens with their pungent fragrance. However, now there is mounting evidence that terpenes offer more than the psychoactive smell of cannabis. Aromatherapy is based on the healing powers of smell and terpenes play an important role in that.
Around 200 terpenes are found in cannabis, but some have more powerful effects. These terpenes include:
Terpenes manipulate receptors and neurotransmitter activity in your body. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that act on your neurons to create different sensations and emotional responses. Since terpenes are capable of binding and dissolving lipids, they trigger structural changes in neurotransmitters. This results in:
All these neurotransmitters are involved in the regulation of mood, alleviation of depression, and modulation of cognitive function. The similar effect is mimicked by terpenes.
Not every strain of cannabis has all these compounds in a combination form. Some only possess THC while others have CBD and other cannabinoids additionally. Each cannabinoid, however, has a unique property:
The research shows that different cannabinoids and terpenes act in synergy to generate a powerful therapeutic, called an entourage effect.
A double-blinded study conducted by Carlini et. al concludes that cannabis strains that contain CBD and CBN along with THC are more powerful than those with THC-alone. The effect of a combination strain is two to four times higher.
Another study shows that THC, being the most active compound in cannabis, can exert better psychoactive effects when combined with other cannabinoids.
The entourage effect is beneficial because it reduces the psychoactive element of cannabis and pushes it into a therapeutic index. THC is notorious for its neurosis provoking abilities. But CBD and terpenes reduce the potency of the psychiatric effects induced by THC. They relax muscles and lessen the time of peak effect of THC.
Besides, CBD cannot directly bind to the endocannabinoid system. It exerts itself by facilitating the binding of other cannabinoids to the receptors and initiating their effect. The research shows that CBD helps in the biding of β-caryophyllene to the CB2 receptor in the body and modulates a pathway involved in chronic pain reduction.
In short, by acting in synergy, these compounds potentiate a medicinal impact of THC like the alleviation of headache, inflammation, and emesis. This generates a delicate balance and eases anxiety often induced by THC.
There are various types of CBD extractions available.
|CBD extractions||Contents||Entourage Effect|
|Full Spectrum||CBD, other cannabinoids, terpenes, essential oils, and THC present. It comes in variety with <0.3% THC.||Yes|
|Broad Spectrum||CBD, other cannabinoids, and terpenes present. No THC.||Yes|
|CBD Isolate||The pure form of CBD with no cannabinoids, THC, or terpenes||No|
CBD isolate is the most concentrated form of CBD available and provides medicinal effects without psychoactive tendencies. It is either produced from CBD only strains or other phytochemicals extracted from the mixture during processing. Although to experience the entourage effect, you need to use full to broad spectrum CBD, CBD isolate has its benefits.
Cannabis has a versatile range of psychoactive and medicinal ingredients. Each has different capabilities but the synergistic effects of all phytochemicals, along with THC, produce a cloud influence, called the entourage effect. Although more research is needed to get an in depth understanding of the mechanism that leads to the entourage effect, sufficient evidence is available to prove that it exists. To achieve entourage effects, you need to find a full spectrum CBD extract that contains all cannabinoids including CBD, THC, and terpenes. However, a broad spectrum with THC eliminated is also accessible, which produces an entourage effect without psychosis. CBD isolate alone may not create a powerful entourage effect but it does have its own, purely medicinal, benefits that help with pain and inflammation.