Today we’re talking cannabinoids! THC and CBD are the best known cannabinoids, but there are many others lurking in the shadows, waiting to be better understood and brought into the light.
Many of these other cannabinoids need further study - we have some idea that they may produce therapeutic effects, but more research is needed to clearly understand the interactions they have with each other, and within our bodies. What we do know is these other cannabinoids don’t get you high, and are much less abundant than THC and CBD.
How are these cannabinoids made?
The cannabis plant naturally synthesizes cannabinoidic acids - and these acids are transformed into cannabinoid compounds through decarboxylation (more on this next week!).
While many of these cannabinoid compounds don’t have intoxicating effects on their own, they may play a role in influencing how THC (the cannabinoid compound that is known to produce the ‘high’ associated with cannabis) interacts with our bodies. CBD is a great example - alone it is not intoxicating. But it plays an important role in the way THC interacts with your endocannabinoid system, which in turn influences the effects the compounds have on your body. This is why specific combinations of cannabinoid compounds will have different effects.
THC also known as Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol was discovered in 1964 by researchers looking to better understand the psychoactive mechanism in cannabis. More than 20 years later, scientists found a receptor in the brain that bound with THC and called it CB1. Cannabinoid receptors were found outside the brain within 5 years and were named appropriately - CB2 receptors. Both of these receptors have since been found throughout the body, along with many other understudied receptors.
There’s so much more to be said for THC and CBD, as well as their entourage of cannabinoid compounds. We thought this video was a great informational resource: