Have you ever heard of cannabinoids? CBD and THC are two of the most well-known types, but there’s a lot more. Cannabinoids are found in Cannabis Sativa, the classic hemp plant from which cannabis is made. They have the ability to interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the human brain. You can find out what cannabinoids are and what they do here!
The three types of cannabinoids – you need to know them
Cannabinoids are a synthetic or natural compound that can have an impact on the endocannabinoid system in humans and animals. The most well-known cannabinoid is δ-tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC. Cannabinoids can be grouped as follows:
- Synthetic Cannabinoids: These are artificially recreated cannabinoids.
- Endocannabinoids: This refers to cannabinoids that your body produces on its own.
- Phytocannabinoids: This refers to the cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant.
When most people hear the term “cannabinoids”, they automatically think of cannabis sativa and therefore THC. In fact, tetrahydrocannabinol is just one of over 140 cannabinoids that can be extracted from the hemp plant. The effects are completely different, unlike THC, for example, cannabidiol has no psychogenic effect.
CBD – the second most popular cannabinoid
Among the legal cannabinoids, CBD is one of the most important. It comes from plants with a THC content of less than 0.3%. These plants are specially bred to make CBD products. Since no impairment of perception is to be expected due to the use of CBD and there is no psychogenic effect, CBD is legal.
It is used in various areas, studies are not yet mature enough to fully prove the effect. It appears that cannabidiol interacts with the body’s CB1 receptors. These are found in the cardiovascular system, nervous system and brain. CBD also has an effect on the CB2 receptor, which primarily serves to strengthen the immune system.
The precursor of CBD is CBDa and it is also characterized by positive effects. Since the discovery, manufacturers of CBD products have primarily focused on full-spectrum products. They not only contain pure CBD, but also CBDa and other cannabinoids.
Cannabichromene – CBC brings some benefits
Along with CBD and THC, cannabichromene is the most common cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. Like CBD, it is not psychoactive, but is said to have benefits for the human organism. The nature of the effect has not yet been researched as widely as with THC and CBD. Initial indications indicate that an influence on tumor growth in human organs might be conceivable. At least in animal models, CBC was able to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells.
It has also been shown in mice that higher doses of CBC can counteract depression. There is still some research to be done before a structure and valid results can really be seen here. So far, experiences with CBC have been based almost exclusively on user reports.
Cannabigerol – CBG as a precursor to THC, CBC and CBD
CBG is created in the hemp plant before the more familiar cannabinoids later develop through further processing. It is considered interesting because it is said to have various positive effects on the human body. THC is known to alter (lower) intraocular pressure in glaucoma, a disease of old age. CBG is expected to have similar effects on eye pressure.
Animal experiments with cannabis and CBG in particular have been shown to reduce intraocular pressure in mice. Drugs with the same purpose often have strong side effects. If it is now possible to develop a therapy against glaucoma via the cannabinoid receptors and a phytocannabinoid, side effects can be reduced or even avoided. This is one of the reasons why the active ingredient is currently being researched very intensively.
Cannabinol – CBN is on the rise
When it comes to well-known cannabinoids, the term CBN is used more and more. It is a metabolite of classic THC that is mostly found in old plants. Although CBN is not classified as psychoactive, substances containing this cannabinoid have a strong sedative effect.
Here, too, the reported effectiveness has so far been based primarily on field reports. For example, CBN is said to serve as an appetite stimulant, improve sleep, reduce bacterial growth and inhibit the progression of the neurodegenerative disease ALS.
Synthetic cannabinoids – is it even legal?
CBD, CBN, CBC – they are all cannabinoids of the classic hemp plant and have no psychogenic effect. They are (currently) legally available on the market and you can buy them. The main active ingredient is almost always CBD, active ingredients such as CBC and CBN are only included. Since it is known that intoxicating properties are not to be expected in mammals in this form, there is no need for a ban.
However, the situation is different with the so-called “legal highs”, as they are incorrectly called. These are mixtures of herbs to which synthetic cannabinoids have been added. They have names like:
- JWH 018, JWH 200, JWH 073
- UR 144, XLR 11
- Hu 210, AM 2201
Ingesting these synthetic cannabinoids can have severely negative consequences. Therefore, they are prohibited, even if the product is supposedly legally offered as a “scented sachet”. The best-known synthetic cannabinoid is the drug Spice. It is designed to simulate the effects of δ 9 – THC, but depending on the manufacturer, it can be laced with different synthetic cannabinoids that are life-threatening and harmful to the body. Spice wasn’t banned in 2009 for no reason!
This is how cannabinoids work from a medical perspective
Endocannabinoids are cannabinoids that are produced by the human body on its own. This knowledge suggests that cannabinoid compounds are understood by the body. This explains the effect of cannabinoids when used.
The human endocannabinoid system is crucial here. It has 2 important receptors, the CB1 receptor and the CB2 receptor.
The CB1 receptor is particularly dominant in the central nervous system. It plays a role in neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS, dementia and Parkinson’s disease. The CB2 receptor is located in the digestive system, immune system and numerous glands in the body. If cannabinoids work here, it can have a positive effect on various health complaints.
Are cannabinoids legal?
The question cannot be answered in general, as it depends on the functions of the respective cannabinoids. Most synthetic cannabinoids are banned and actually have nothing to do with hemp. δ 9 – THC is also generally banned in most European countries. There are only a few exceptions like the Netherlands or some of the Canary Islands.
The situation is different with substances such as CBD, CBN, CBG, etc. These cannabinoids are compounds from the hemp plant and can be purchased as flower, resin or oil. The properties are diverse, but they all have one thing in common: the lack of psychoactive effects. It is virtually impossible to induce a high with cannabinoids like CBD.
Legislation stipulates that the THC content must not exceed 0.2%. The active ingredient would therefore have to be taken in unaffordable amounts to induce a slight intoxication in an adult. Since this only works in theory, cannabinoids without THC are legal in Germany and large parts of Europe!