What are Cannabinoids?
The cannabis plant, like all plants, is made up of several chemical compounds. Within cannabis specifically, these compounds are called cannabinoids. There are also terpenes, flavonoids, and more.
The human body actually has an Endocannabinoid system designed to receive these compounds and use them to achieve a healthy equilibrium.
Let’s look at the word “endocannabinoid.” “Cannabinoid” comes from “cannabis,” and “endo” is short for “endogenous,” which means that it is produced naturally inside of your body. So “endocannabinoid” simply means cannabis-like substances that naturally occur inside us.
The ECS itself is made up of three parts:
- Receptors in the nervous system and around your body that endocannabinoids and cannabinoids bond with
- Enzymes that help break down endocannabinoids and cannabinoids
Why Is the Endocannabinoid System Important?
There’s still much to learn about the ECS, but we do know that it plays an important role in the regulation of many internal processes. Which cannabinoid bonds with which receptor determines the specific signal or “communication” being sent, and the body reacts accordingly. For example, if your body needs energy, your ECS will signal your stomach to growl, letting you know it’s time to eat. If you get too hot, your ECS will instruct your body to start sweating in order to cool you down.
While the body does have all the pieces necessary to carry out these actions, sometimes our environment creates more imbalances than it can manage on its own. Fortunately, despite the changes that occur in your environment, your endocannabinoid system is always seeking to maintain internal balance. This is why supporting our ECS with cannabinoids can have such a strong impact.
Endocannabinoids bond with different cannabinoid receptors in both the central and peripheral nervous systems, as well as in immune cells.
Our body contains two types of cannabinoid receptors—CB1 and CB2.
CB1 regulates neurotransmission and a range of peripheral functions, whereas CB2 regulates immune and inflammatory pathways.
Through those receptors, the ECS helps regulate a lot of important functions, such as:
Appetite & Digestion
Inflammation, including neuroinflammation
Mood & Sleep
Memory & Pain
Is a nonpsychoactive cannabinoid, meaning that it doesn’t make you feel high like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Many people use CBD products to reduce anxiety symptoms or to help manage chronic pain.
Please click here to find out more about CBD!
CBD is always going to be the primary cannabinoid in CBD oils. However, getting to know the other cannabinoids in CBD oil gives you a better understanding of how CBD does what it does. Below are some of the most common cannabinoids:
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
- Cannabigerol (CBG)
- Cannabinol (CBN)
- Cannabichromene (CBC)
- Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (DELTA-8 THC)
Just like CBD, CBG is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. In the early stages of the growth of cannabis there is a higher concentration of CBG and as the plant matures this converts to CBD and other cannabinoids.
What that means is that cannabis must be harvested early to maximise the chances of gathering plenty of CBG. The farmers have a delicate race to play out making sure they can harvest at just the right time to get the most CBG possible. This also leaves cultivators with a choice: either grow cannabis with the express purpose of producing CBG, meaning that you can harvest the crop early before this conversion completes; or allow the crop to fully mature, so that some of the crop can be sold for other purposes but the rest will have a lower CBG content for extraction.
CBG interacts with the body in a different way. This means it has different effects than CBD does. It is thought that CBG has a calming effect on the body, causing a relaxation of the nerves.
Other potential benefits:
Inflammatory Bowel Disease(IBD) – Researchers induced inflammations similar to IBD in the colons of mice and then administered CBG. CBG was found to reduce the inflammation and the production of nitric oxide. It also reduced the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the intestines. They concluded that CBG should be considered for clinical experimentation in IBD patients.
Glaucoma – Medical cannabis seems to effectively treat glaucoma, and CBG might be partly responsible for its efficacy. A study published in 2008 suggests that CBG might be effective in treating glaucoma because it reduces intraocular pressure.
Huntington’s Disease – CBG might have neuroprotective properties, according to a 2015 study that looked at mice with a neurodegenerative condition called Huntington’s disease. The study concluded that CBG might show promise in treating other neurodegenerative conditions.
Antibacterial Properties – A 2020 study on the antibiotic potential of cannabis, found that CBG has antibacterial properties. Especially against methicillin-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a bacteria which causes staph infections and is drug-resistant.
Cancer – A 2014 study looked at colon cancer in rats and concluded that CBG might reduce the growth of cancer cells and other tumors.
- Appetite loss – A 2016 study on rats suggested that CBG could stimulate the appetite. Appetite-stimulating chemicals could be used to help those with conditions such as HIV or cancer.
While these studies are promising, it’s important to remember that they don’t confirm the benefits of CBG. Much more research is needed to fully understand how CBG works in the body. Read more about CBG here!
Cannabichromene (CBC) is non-psychoactive and does not affect the psychoactivity of THC. One of the biggest benefits of CBC is its role in the entourage effect. CBC acts as a real team player and works with other cannabinoids to increase their effects.
What Are the Potential Benefits of CBC?
Inflammation and Pain – Several studies suggest that as well as interacting with the ECS, CBC may interact with other receptor sites that play a role in inflammation and pain sensitivity. These receptor sites are known as transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1 for short) and transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1). Although these names sound strange, most people will be familiar with the experience of interacting with at least one of them. It happens every time you bite into a chili pepper! The chemical capsaicin, which gives chili peppers their hot, pungent taste, activates TRPV1 receptors, leading to that sensation of heat permeating throughout your mouth.
TRPV1 receptors are found on many other cells besides taste buds, including nerve cells. These TRP receptors are sensitive to stimuli like heat, acidity, pressure, and other irritants. Although it might seem counterintuitive at first, research has found that cannabinoids, including CBC, may over time have a desensitizing effect on TRP receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and gastrointestinal tract with the result that they release smaller and smaller amounts of chemicals that cause inflammation. In addition, CBC and other cannabinoids promote production of our own endocannabinoids. And so, the combination of reduced inflammatory substances and increased endocannabinoid levels may help moderate the experiences of pain and inflammation.
Acne– A research team that had previously shown CBD’s effect on acne studied other cannabinoids, including CBC, for the same effects. Indeed, CBC was shown to be a powerful inhibitor of acne. As a skin disease, acne is characterized by excess sebum production and sebaceous gland inflammation. It turns out that CBC exhibited powerful anti-inflammatory properties and also suppressed excessive lipid production in the sebaceous glands. CBC also reduced levels of arachidonic acid (AA), which is needed to create the lipogenesis. More research is needed, but CBC might just one day become a very powerful anti-acne treatment.
Cancer – CBC as a potential cancer fighter was first published in a 2006 study that looked at cannabinoids other than THC and their possible effects on cancer. While THC is known for its anti-tumor properties for several different forms of cancer, its powerful psychotropic qualities can make it difficult for chemotherapy use. So far, research has found CBC to be the second-most-potent cannabinoid at inhibiting the growth of new cancer cells (CBG was the most potent).
Promotes healthy brain activity – A 2013 study, published by the Endocannabinoid Research Group in Italy, concluded that CBC was an effective agent in promoting neural stem progenitor cells (NSPCs)—cells that are essential to brain function as well as healthy pathology. Researchers concluded that CBC improves the viability of NSPCs.
Improves stress and moods – In a 2010 study published by the National Institute of Health, CBC natural interaction with our ECS has shown significant stress relieving effects. Other prominent forms of cannabinoids like cannabinol (CBN) and cannabigerol (CBG) did not show similar mood improving effects.