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  • Michele Spence

All About Cannabinoids

In the past year, you would have to have lived under a rock to not have heard of CBD or not known of someone who has tried it. Stores are setting up shop in communities across the country where CBD is legal. And while CBD is federally legal in all 50 states, some states have been slow to accept and pass legislation legalizing it. Thankfully, Georgia has seen the promise that this plant brings to so many folks and we’re at the tip of the iceberg when learning about all this plant can do.


There are over 120 naturally occurring cannabinoids that are currently known to exist in the cannabaceae family. Scientists have discovered some fascinating properties associated with the most abundant cannabinoids found; the research is both promising and amazing.

Quick Review – Both hemp and marijuana come from the Cannabis Sativa plant. However, marijuana comes from plants that have been hybridized to change their cannabinoid, terpene, and flavonoid profiles. When I refer to cannabis in this article, I am referring to hemp which is legal in the state of Georgia.

How Do Cannabinoids Work

Cannabinoids produce effects in the body by attaching to certain brain receptors. The human body produces certain cannabinoids on its own and two receptors called CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are present in the brain and nervous system, as well as in the lungs, liver, and kidneys. CB1 receptors are involved with coordination, movement, pain, emotions, and mood, thinking, appetite, memories, and other functions. CB2 receptors are found in the immune system, with a heavy concentration in the spleen and the gastrointestinal tract and affect inflammation and pain.

CBD – Cannabidiol

CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid is the most abundant compound in cannabis. It seems to direct the body to use more of its cannabinoids and bind to these receptors. A full-spectrum CBD product binds with CB1 and CB2 receptors. A broad-spectrum CBD binds to CB2 receptors. CBD has been shown to help with conditions as epilepsy, schizophrenia, and certain cancers. CBD also shows great promise helping with chronic pain from fibromyalgia, depression, and anxiety.

THC – Tetrahydrocannabinol

THC is the psychoactive component in cannabis or the part that gets people “high.” However, the “bad boy” of the cannabis world has shown great promise with its powerful analgesic capabilities. Cannabinoid receptors are activated by anandamide, which is a neurotransmitter and natural cannabinoid that the body produces. THC mimics anandamide and binds to the cannabinoid receptors that activate neurons in the brain affecting the mind and body. Research has shown that it helps chemo patients with their appetite and could reduce the eye pressure in those with glaucoma. As medical marijuana use becomes more mainstream, scientists will be able to study this cannabinoid in more depth.

Lesser-known cannabinoids

CBC – Cannabichromene

The research is new, but the non-psychoactive cannabinoid, CBC is showing great promise for helping with chronic pain, especially when paired with THC. CBC binds poorly with CB1 receptors, however, it works with other cannabinoids and binds with other receptors in the body which are linked to pain perception. Recent research has also shown that it has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and shows promise for its ability to potentially repair brain damage, help get rid of acne, and improve mental health.

CBN – Cannabinol

CBN is another non-psychoactive cannabinoid that is formed after THC has been exposed to oxygen, it degenerates into CBN which makes it more difficult to study. Some recent research has shown that it attaches to CB2 receptors and may help with insomnia because of its natural sedative-like properties. A recent study has shown that 2.5 mg – 5 mg of CBN is as effective as a 5 – 10mg dose of Diazepam. Since higher concentrations of CBN are found in older cannabis plants research has been ignored by much of the cannabis industry.

CBT- Cannabitriol

As of today, scientists have identified 9 types of CBT, they’re not always present if they are, their concentrations are extremely low and it is unknown if it is psychoactive or not. The chemical structure is similar to THC, but it hasn’t been widely studied to determine any benefits or adverse effects it may have. In 2007, there was a study on the addictive effects of THC and it was found that CBT degraded the effects of THC in marijuana abusers. It’ll be interesting to see what science finds as they continue to research this cannabinoid.

CBG – Cannabigerol

The final non-psychoactive cannabinoid I’m going to talk about today is CBG, interestingly, it’s the precursor of both CBD and THC and interacts with both CB1 and CB2 receptors. Found in very small quantities, this cannabinoid has shown great promise helping with colorectal cancer, IBD, cystitis, glaucoma, blood pressure, MRSA, and Huntington’s disease. Since it only makes up around 1% of the total cannabinoids in a cannabis plant, it’s extremely expensive.

As time goes on, more and more research will be done on these amazing natural compounds. For now, most scientists are proponents of the entourage effect. The entourage effect is the belief that the most benefit is gained when all cannabis compounds (cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, etc.) are present.

Buyer Beware

Not all CBD is alike, know your source. Just because a product is mass-marketed doesn’t mean that it is a superior product. You must be an educated consumer, read the labels. If you’re seeing things like ascorbic palmitate, silica, and things you cannot pronounce put the bottle back. If a sweetener is one of the top ingredients on the label or it’s lacking MCT oil, walk away. Know what you are purchasing, how it was extracted, what they added to it, the type of carrier oil, chemical flavors, and fillers, etc. Look at the lab results, I wouldn’t purchase anything without looking at the labs first.


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