Welcome to the Cannabis Supply Co. educational series! We’ll be taking an in-depth look at cannabinoids: THC, CBD and more. Want to learn about cannabis species like sativa, indica and hybrid? Take a look at our article here.
Cannabinoids: What are they?
There are three main types of cannabinoids. Plants create phytocannabinoids while human bodies create our own endocannabinoids. There are also cannabimimetics which are what they sounds like: compounds that mimic cannabinoids to be able to interact with the endocannabinoid system. These are created by plants other than cannabis like echinacea, black pepper, chocolate, kava and more. All cannabinoids can interact with our endocannabinoid system. When cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system, they activate the CB1 or CB2 receptors in our bodies. (Wikipedia) Stay tuned for an article all about the endocannabinoid system!
Cannabinoids from cannabis are chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant, concentrated in the trichomes of the flowers. Trichomes are tiny hairs and in the cannabis plant, these hairs are covered in a sticky cannabinoid and terpene resin. Stay tuned for an article all about terpenes! There are 113 cannabinoids that have been isolated in the cannabis plant (check them out here). The most commonly studied and used cannabinoids are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) and they are the cannabinoids that are listed on your medical cannabis containers.
An important and often confusing fact about legal CBD in Canada: while CBD and other cannabinoids can be found in trace amounts in other parts of the cannabis plant, they are highly concentrated in the flowers. It is illegal to process or harvest flowers from industrial cannabis, so if you see hemp oil marketed as a CBD product, it is either illegal and unregulated CBD oil from the flower, or it is misrepresented and does not contain the amount of CBD advertised. Remember: the only legal way to obtain CBD in Canada is through a licensed producer or growing your own!
Cannabinoids act on the mammalian endocannabinoid system. All mammals (and some other creatures such as reptiles and birds) have an endocannabinoid system which is a system of CB1 and CB2 receptors that are built to accept and interact with cannabinoids. Today we’re going to talk about the relationship between humans and cannabis, but keep in mind that other animals can experience the same interactions! The endocannabinoid system regulates many physiological and cognitive processes like fertility, mood, pain and more. (Wikipedia) Stay tuned for an article all about the endocannabinoid system!
Cannabinoids: How will they make me feel?
Currently, THC and CBD are the only cannabinoids reported on your medical cannabis packaging. If you have dry flower, you will see a percentage content of each. If you have oil, you will see milligrams per milliliter. With oils (extracts) the cannabinoids are bioavailable which means they are already decarboxylated and ready to be consumed with no heating process. With dry flower, the cannabinoids need to be heated to decarboxylate and become bioavailable. This means that if you were to eat a nugget of dry flower, you wouldn’t feel much but if you vaporized it, you would feel the full effects. This also means that the method of heating will affect how much of the cannabinoids are decarbed. Smoking will decarb everything, while vaporizing has many different temperature settings so you can have much more control over how much of your cannabinoids you’re dosing with. Stay tuned for future articles about decarboxylation! You can learn more about the difference between smoking and vaping here.
Once you know the type of effects you’d like to feel by the cannabis species, you will then look at the cannabinoid content as your next choice. Cannabis species can have a wide range of THC and CBD content so it’s important to always know the cannabinoid percentage of your cannabis so you don’t end up with effects you don’t want to experience. Learn more about cannabis species in part 1 and part 2.
|Common Effects||THC is the psychoactive compound that makes you feel “high”
||CBD will not make you feel “high” and can counteract the psychoactive effects of THC
|Conditions that may be helped||Late stage cancer pain, nausea from cancer treatment, PTSD, insomnia and sleep issues, and more||Epilepsy, MS, muscle spasms, chronic pain, PTSD, anxiety, depression, and more|
Your cannabis strain will have a percentage rate of cannabinoid content. For example, 10% THC and 5% CBD. The higher the percentage, the more powerful the effects of the cannabis. It is recommended to start with low percentages of cannabinoids to make sure you are comfortable with the effects before moving to higher percentages of cannabinoids – especially THC.
Stay tuned for our next article: The Endocannabinoid system!
Stay tuned for the rest of Cannabis Supply Co.’s educational series on all things cannabis!
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