When breaking down the cannabis plant into its basic parts, you can find more than 480 different natural materials which compose it. Of these, 66 are consider cannabinoids, meaning they exist only within the plant. If you’ve ever heard of THC, you’ve heard of a cannabinoid.
THC, which is short for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is what gives cannabis the psychoactive effect it possesses. There are more cannabinoids, of course, and they all work together to make cannabis do what cannabis does.
What Do Cannabinoids Do?
The 66 different cannabinoids are broken down into multiple subclasses, the most well-known of which are Cannabigerol, or CBG, Cannabichromene, or CBC; Cannabidiol, or CBD; THC; Cannabinol, or CBN; and Cannabinodiol, or CBDL.
The different cannabinoids stimulate different parts of the brain and body, working to either create a psychoactive effect or to help relieve pain or anxiety. These cannabinoids have been able to be broken down separately for different uses, and studies continue to show different ways they can help.
Interestingly, the cannabinoids also work together to have different effects. For instance, the psychoactive effect of THC is put into check somewhat by CBD. CBD makes up the largest percentage of the cannabinoids present in cannabis and is regarded as being the primary player in many of the medical uses of the substance, such as pain and anxiety relief.
In tests performed on the various cannabinoids, it was found that THC had a far stronger psychoactive effect when CBD was not present. The anxiety it caused was also pushed to new heights.
How Do Cannabinoids Help?
In much the same way opiates do, cannabinoids attach themselves to chemical receptors in your body. The effects they have can vary greatly, and certain cannabinoids have better effects on certain conditions than others.
Those suffering from gastro-intestinal issues are going to find the most benefit from THC. It is often prescribed to help with appetite loss, nausea and disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome. For pain and sleep issues, CBD is the go-to, helping out with cramps and headaches, insomnia, and even lessening the pain of fibromyalgia.
The effects cannabis has on various medical conditions is astounding, and it’s all thanks to the chemicals which reside within the plant. Using these in your cooking is a great way to incorporate them into your life. An addition to any flavors which may be added, the medical value of cannabis is incomparable, you just need to know which cannabinoid is best for your specific condition.