So far, well over a hundred cannabinoids have been identified in the cannabis plant.
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the most abundant and well-known.
For many years, it was assumed that THC and CBD were the most important compounds for curative marijuana benefits. Because of the stigma associated with marijuana and the prohibition on it, there wasn’t sufficient research to truly understand the potential of the plant. As more scientists have the chance to study weed, they have learned that other, less prevalent cannabinoids contribute to medicinal properties. These compounds provide different effects on health and also work together synergistically. Cannabinoids provided by the cannabis plant act on CB1 and CB2 receptors in the human endocannabinoid system (ECS). We only just discovered these receptors about 40 years ago and there are probably more receptors that we are still unaware of. The ECS is found throughout the central and peripheral nervous system and is responsible for homeostasis. The cannabinoids found in marijuana can bind to the CB1 receptors located in the brain and CBD receptors found primarily in the body. The cannabinoids create diverse effects depending on the receptor they bind to. Cannabis strains include a great many cannabinoids that bind to these receptors once consumed. Cannabis is consumed by smoking, vaping, eating edibles, applying topicals, drinking beverages or sublingual absorption. Bioavailability influences the onset, intensity and duration of effects. Smoking, vaping and tinctures provide quicker onset of effects while edibles require the cannabinoids to be processed through the digestive tract. Products with higher ratios of THC provide more potent psychoactive effects. Those options that are strictly CBD cause no high sensation.