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In the US, 12% of adults say they smoke marijuana. While that’s a pretty sizable population, you’d be surprised at just how many don’t really understand how weed works.
For many, they know that the active compound in cannabis is THC. But they might not know that it’s a type of cannabinoid.
So what are cannabinoids exactly? Luckily, you’ll find out in this article!
We’ll discuss cannabinoids in detail so you’ll have a better understanding of these compounds. And as a result, you’ll be able to make choices that are better suited for you in the future.
What Are Cannabinoids?
As we’ve already mentioned, cannabinoids are compounds. More specifically, they are chemical compounds found in cannabis plants, thus the name.
The beauty of cannabinoids is that with each strain, there are different amounts of these compounds. Today, scientists have discovered at least 113 cannabinoids, which means the combinations and ratios are endless!
The Endocannabinoid System
Before we move onto more information about cannabinoids, let’s first discuss the endocannabinoid system. That way, you’ll have a better understanding of how cannabinoids act in your body.
In almost all vertebrate organisms, they have an endocannabinoid system.
Your body actually produces its own endocannabinoids, which are similar to cannabinoids. There are 2 key ones you make: anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG).
There are also receptors all throughout the human body. The main ones you have are CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are mainly found in your central nervous system while CB2 receptors are found mainly in your peripheral nervous system.
When your body produces endocannabinoids, they can bind to either type of receptors. The different combinations of endocannabinoids and receptors will produce different results, as will the location of the receptor.
Once the endocannabinoids have done their jobs, they’re broken down by enzymes. Fatty acid amide hydrolase breaks down AEA while monoacylglycerol acid lipase breaks down 2-AG.
Why Does This Matter?
So why does the endocannabinoid system matter? We only talked about endocannabinoids above, after all.
The thing is, you can get the same results from cannabinoids as well! This means you can help your body do its job by introducing cannabinoids through means like smoking, vaping, or eating edibles.
So what exactly does the endocannabinoid system do? Well, scientists aren’t 100% sure since it’s quite a complicated system.
However, they do have evidence that strongly suggests that it’s either responsible for and/or is linked to your appetite, digestion, metabolism, mood, sleep, liver function, motor control, reproductive system function, skin and nerve function, stress, and a number of other things.
Essentially, your endocannabinoid is responsible for keeping all these smaller systems in balance, or homeostasis. So as you can see, if you can introduce extra cannabinoids as helpers, it can help you maintain your health a lot better!
What Are the Different Cannabinoids?
As we’ve mentioned above, there are at least 113 cannabinoids known to us! Needless to say, it’d be a really long list if we were to tell you all of them!
The most important ones you need to know are THC and CBD, as those are the two most well-known ones. There’s also another called CBG.
THC is the active ingredient that you’ll find in weed that’ll get you high, as well as give you other benefits. People usually know CBD as the cousin as THC, as it can provide the same benefits, but without getting you high.
Another cannabinoid coming onto the scene is CBG. This cannabinoid is also non-psychoactive like CBD, but has some other benefits that CBD and THC don’t provide.
What Effects Can You Get From Cannabinoids?
Now that you know what cannabinoids are, you might be wondering what effects you can get from them. That way, you can choose the right ones to partake in.
As we’ve mentioned above, THC will give you a “high”. This means you’ll feel euphoric and some judgment will be impaired. Other effects include pain relief, relaxation, and even hallucinations and delusions.
Some people use weed with high THC levels specifically to get the euphoric feeling. Others might use it to get its other benefits, such as pain relief.
With CBD, you can get pretty much the same effects. Other effects include anti-inflammation, neuroprotection, and acne reduction.
However, you won’t get high. So for instance, this means you can take CBD products for pain relief without worrying that you won’t be able to think clearly while on the job.
Lastly, CBG won’t get you high either. You’ll get antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects, as well as neuroprotective ones. CBG might also help you with appetite stimulation.
Do notes that CBG only makes up under 1% of a cannabis plant’s cannabinoid profile, which means there’s not very much produced in each plant. This means that research into this cannabinoid is still in its early stages, so who knows what else we can find out about it in the future?
If you want to know more about cannabinoids, this guide has lots of helpful information.
Now You Know All About Cannabinoids
After reading this article, you now have a better understanding of cannabinoids, including what they are and what they can do for you.
In general, most people like to use THC, as it gives them psychoactive effects in addition to all the other benefits. However, if you’d like the benefits but without the psychoactive effects, you’re better off with CBD.
While there are many other cannabinoids available, these are pretty much the main 2 you should know about (with the exception of CBG). And with this knowledge, you’ll be able to make a better choice when dealing with cannabinoids.
If you found this article on cannabinoids helpful, then please take a look at our other articles too!