Elements of the Plant
Cannabinoids are the naturally occurring chemical compounds that can be derived from the cannabis plant. There are more than 100 active compounds but the two most common are THC and CBD.
The human body has an endocannabinoid system which has receptors that accept cannabinoids (CB1 and CB2 receptors). CB1 receptors are primarily found in the brain while CB2 receptors are primarily found in the immune system. The cannabinoids interact with the receptors and produce a wide array of effects throughout the body.
Terpenes are the aromatic oils of cannabis and many other plants like trees, flowers, fruits and even some insects. While they give cannabis it’s unique fragrance and taste, they also have medicinal properties.
For example one common terpene - Caryophyllene is known to be an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and pain reliever and besides cannabis it can be found in hops, basil and oregano. Another common terpene is Limonene which may kill cancer cells in laboratory studies. More research is required on humans. It is found in citrus peels and certain strains of cannabis.
Cannabidiol “CBD” is found in both marijuana and hemp plants and does not have any psychoactive effects. Because it does not have the “high” associated with THC it can be an option to use for wellness. Early clinical research has shown it to be a potential treatment of inflammation, pain, anxiety, seizures, etc. but more sufficient research is needed.
It is believed that CBD does not attach to the CB1 or CB2 receptors but instead helps the body to use more of its own cannabinoids.
Tetrahydrocannabinol “THC” is the most commonly known cannabinoid from the cannabis plant because of it’s psychological effects. THC attaches to cannabinoid receptors in the brain activating the centres responsible for pleasure, coordination, memory, sensory and others. THC stimulates cells in the brain to release dopamine, creating euphoria, according to National Institute on Drug Abuse. THC has been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes but its benefits and effects are just now being researched.