Beginners Guide To 9 Major Cannabinoids

This article was written by Dr. Jessica Fox , May 31, 2016 and came from Green Flower Media.

Lots of good information!!  Please share with others..... Elizabeth, Pianta Tinta

Have you ever wondered how cannabis actually works in the body?

If you’ve read up on the endocannabinoid system, you’ll know that our bodies are full of receptors that interact with cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that act directly and indirectly on cannabinoid receptors to help the body maintain stability and health.

Our bodies make their own cannabinoids – called endocannabinoids because they are produced internally – to work on cannabinoid receptors. By some happy coincidence of nature, cannabis and other plants also produce cannabinoids that interact with our receptors. These plant cannabinoids are known as phytocannabinoids.

Phytocannabinoids are just one of the cannabis plant’s active ingredients. Other plant compounds known as terpenes and flavonoids also direct how cannabis will work for you.

But the phytocannabinoids are the cornerstone of your medicine’s effect.

What do you need to know about phytocannabinoids?

There are over 85 known phytocannabinoids – some sources put the count well over 100! Here, we will tour the nine phytocannabinoids that have been most thoroughly documented, starting with the two most prominent compounds: THC and CBD.

The ins and outs of THC

Newcomers to cannabis are finding a lot of guidance through knowledgeable physicians.

THC is famous for its psychoactive effects and while those cognitive effects can have a variety of advantages or disadvantages depending on the situation, THC offers additional health properties that should not be overlooked.

THC is particularly valuable for managing pain and reducing inflammation, the compound directly addressing the underlying drivers of chronic pain and inflammatory disorders. THC also has great effect in reducing nausea and vomiting, and on the flip side of that coin, stimulating appetite.

Other common uses for THC include aiding sleep, managing glaucoma, reducing muscle spasms, and protecting the nervous system. The nervous system protection has made THC a useful tool in helping to manage autism, ADHD, and post-stroke symptoms.

THC does have some side effects to be aware of – especially if you take too much.

The most common side effects of THC include rapid heart rate, anxiety and paranoia, sleepiness, increased appetite, dry mouth and dry eyes, forgetfulness, dizziness, reduced blood pressure, and potentially hallucinations if you take a lot. For the most part, side effects resolve when the medicine wears off and are generally considered benign.

Getting your THC dosage just right can help you get the most benefit from your medicine while avoiding unwanted side effects, which typically arise when a patient has dosed over their tolerance. The side effect profile of THC is why cannabis doctors counsel their patients to start with a very low dose – around 2.5 – 5 mg of THC, and to gradually increase the dose according to how well they tolerate it.

Finally, you may have noticed that some of the uses for THC are the same as some of the side effects! This is because cannabis is the ultimate personalized medicine. A negative side effect for one person may be a positive side effect for another. A classic example is a patient with cancer regaining his appetite after medicating – what a blessing for him! Similarly, an insomniac will be deeply grateful for THC’s ability to cause sleepiness after an exhausting day.

CBD – the “new kid” on the block

CBD has changed how a lot of people view cannabis and for good reason.

While it has been around just as long as THC, CBD has only in the past few years become very popular in the medical cannabis world due to its effectiveness against epilepsy and cancer without the head high effects of THC. Though some would argue the claim that CBD is not psychoactive because it promotes relaxation and anxiety relief, it is generally accepted that CBD does not cause the euphoric high that THC does.

In addition to reducing or eliminating seizures and fighting the growth of tumor and cancer cells, CBD is an excellent treatment for anxiety. CBD is also an antipsychotic agent, which is why cannabis can actually be a useful tool in managing mental illness, contrary to mainstream belief.

Other popular uses for CBD include reducing muscle spasms and spasms of the small intestine, and application as a pain reduction and anti-inflammatory agent. Finally, even more so than THC, CBD protects the nervous system, making it a great tool for managing dementia and Parkinson’s disease, and essential for use with THC in autism and post-stroke care.

While typically much better tolerated than THC, CBD can have side effects of its own at very high doses, such as dizziness or lightheadedness, anxiety, decreased appetite, drowsiness, increased heart rate and palpitations, and jitteriness.

A really amazing fact about CBD is that it actually reduces undesirable effects of THC, such as inebriation, sedation, and racing heart. Specifically, in medicines with phytocannabinoid content of 4 parts or more CBD to 1 part THC (a 4:1 CBD:THC ratio or higher), CBD will dampen the head high and side effects caused by THC.

Not only that, but CBD can enhance the pain-relieving, nausea-reducing, and anti-cancer effects of THC (yes – THC is quite active against cancer cells too!).

Bottom line – your medicine is better when it contains both THC and CBD!

You said there were 9 major phytocannabinoids…

Though THC and CBD are the most well known phytocannabinoids, we continue to learn more about the characteristics and applications of the other seven.

#1) THCA is the acidic parent of THC found in the raw cannabis plant. When exposed to heat, sunlight, or time, the THCA in the harvested plant will convert to THC. THCA is non-psychoactive and is particularly useful for reducing nausea, reducing seizures, reducing muscle spasms, and fighting tumor and cancer cells.

#2) CBDA is the acidic parent of CBD found in raw plant. CBDA converts to CBD when it is exposed to heat, sunlight, or time. Like THCA, CBDA is non-psychoactive. CBDA is also great for reducing nausea, reducing inflammation, and fighting tumor and cancer cells.

#3) CBN is a breakdown product of THC. As harvested cannabis ages, THC will gradually be converted to CBN. CBN is known to be particularly useful for aiding sleep, and also good for reducing pain and muscle spasms.

#4) CBGA is actually the precursor molecule that is turned into THCA and CBDA as the cannabis plant develops, so it is found only in tiny amounts in the mature plant. In the harvested plant, remaining CBGA converts to CBG with exposure to air and light.

#5) CBG is useful as an antidepressant, a muscle relaxant, an antibiotic and antifungal agent, and as a blood pressure reducer.

#6) CBC is also found only in tiny amounts in the cannabis plant. CBC has pain reducing, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antifungal, and anti-cancer effects.

#7) THCV does have psychoactive properties, but much less than THC. THCV has been found to suppress appetite and can aid weight loss, and also has antiseizure effect.

Which phytocannabinoids are right for you?

An experienced physician can guide patients to getting the most out of cannabis.

Your goal should be to tailor the phytocannabinoid content of your medicine to the conditions and symptoms you want to treat. As noted before, cannabis is a very personal medication, with every person requiring a different medicine composition for even the same condition. As such, there is often much trial and error that goes into finding your ideal phytocannabinoid content.

You can use the details outlined above to help get you started in finding the best composition for your medicine, and here are some examples of the phytocannabinoids that may be useful for the most common conditions seen in many cannabis clinics:

Chronic pain: There are several different forms of chronic pain. Nerve pain may be best managed with CBD and THCA. Muscular pain often responds well to THC. A combination of THC and CBD can be useful for bone pain. Inflammatory pain can be managed with THCA or THC. Skeletal and internal muscle spasms can be relieved with CBD.

Insomnia: THC and its breakdown product, CBN, are particularly useful for aiding sleep. And spoiler alert for the follow-up article on terpenes and flavonoids: the terpene called Myrcene is a great tool for improving sleep!

Anxiety: CBD is the best remedy for anxiety, but at high doses can actually increase anxiety. THC can also be useful for anxiety, but only at low doses. Again, whether you’re using high CBD or high THC medicine, you should always start at a low dose and increase only gradually as needed to achieve the relief you’re seeking.

How does Cannabidiol (CBD) Work???

This article was originally published in O'Shaughnessy's Reader and reposted on the ProjectCBD website. Although some of it went over my head....I did get some interesting info from it. So give it a read and take what you can!!

Elizabeth - Pianta Tinta

Cannbidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of the marijuana plant, has generated significant interest among scientists and physicians in recent years—but how CBD exerts its therapeutic impact on a molecular level is still being sorted out. Cannabidiol is a pleiotropic drug in that it produces many effects through multiple molecular pathways. CBD acts through various receptor-independent channels and by binding with a number of non-cannabinoid receptors and ion channels.

Here are some of the ways that CBD confers its therapeutic effects.

CBD and FAAH

Unlike psychoactive THC, CBD has little binding affinity to either the CB1 or CB2 cannabinoid receptors. Instead, CBD indirectly stimulates endogenous cannabinoid signaling by suppressing the enzyme fatty acid amide hydroxylase (FAAH)—the enzyme that breaks down anandamide, the first endocannabinoid discovered in the mammalian brain in 1992.

Whereas the cannabinoid molecules found in cannabis are considered “exogenous ligands” to the cannabinoid (CB) receptor family, anandamide is an “endogenous” cannabinoid ligand—meaning it binds to one or more cannabinoid receptors and is found naturally inside the mammalian brain and body. Anandamide favors the CB1 receptor, which is concentrated in the brain and central nervous system. Because FAAH is involved in the metabolic breakdown of anandamide, less FAAH means more anandamide remains present in the body for a longer duration. More anandamide means greater CB1 activation.

CBD enhances endocannabinoid tone by supressing FAAH.

By inhibiting the enzyme that metabolizes and degrades anandamide, CBD enhances the body’s innate protective endocannabinoid response. At the same time, CBD opposes the action of THC at the CB1 receptor, thereby muting the psychoactive effects of THC.

CBD also stimulates the release of 2-AG, another endocannabinoid that activates both CB1 and CB2 receptor. CB2 receptors are predominant in the peripheral nervous system and the immune system.

The Vanilloid Receptor

While CBD has little binding affinity for either of the two cannabinoid receptors, it has been shown to directly interact with other “G-protein-coupled” receptors and ion channels to confer a therapeutic effect. CBD, for example, binds to the TRPV-1 receptor, which is known to mediate pain perception, inflammation and body temperature.

TRPV is the technical abbreviation for “transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V.” There are several dozen TRP receptor variants or subfamilies that mediate the effects of a wide range of medicinal herbs. 

Scientists also refer to TRPV-1 as the “vanilloid receptor,” named after the flavorful vanilla bean. Vanilla contains eugenol, an essential oil that has antiseptic and analgesic properties; it also helps to unclog blood vessels. Historically, the vanilla bean has been used as a folk cure for headaches.

CBD is a TRPV-1 “agonist” or stimulant. This is likely one of the reasons why CBD-rich cannabis is an effective treatment for neuropathic pain.

Capsaicin—the pungent compound in hot chili peppers—activates the TRVP-1 receptor. Anandamide, the endogenous cannabinoid, is also a TRPV-1 agonist.

The Serotonin Receptor

Jose Alexandre Crippa and his colleagues at the University of San Paulo in Brazil and at the King’s College in London have conducted pioneering research into CBD and the neural correlates of anxiety.

At high concentrations, CBD directly activates the 5-HT1A (hydroxytryptamine) serotonin receptor, thereby conferring an anti-depressant effect. This receptor is implicated in a range of biological and neurological processes, including (but not limited to) anxiety, addiction, appetite, sleep, pain perception, nausea and vomiting.

5-HT1A is a member of the family of 5-HT receptors, which are activated by the neurotransmitter serotonin. Found in both the central and peripheral nervous systems, 5-HT receptors trigger various intracellular cascades of chemical messages to produce either an excitatory or inhibitory response, depending on the chemical context of the message.

CBD triggers an inhibitory response that slows down 5-HT1A signaling. In comparison, LSD, mescaline, magic mushrooms, and several other hallucinogenic drugs activate a different type of 5-HT receptor that produces an excitatory response.

The Adenosine Receptor

CBD’s anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties may in part be attributable to its activation of the adenosine receptor. Adenosine receptors play significant roles in cardiovascular function, regulating myocardial oxygen consumption and coronary blood flow. The adenosine (A2A) receptor has broad anti-inflammatory effects throughout the body.

Adenosine receptors also play a significant role in the brain. They down-regulate the release of other neurotransmitters such as dopamine and glutamate.

GPR55

Whereas cannabidiol activates the TRPV-1 vanilloid receptor, the A2A adenosine receptor, and the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor, some studies indicate that CBD functions as an antagonist that blocks, or deactivates, another G protein-coupled receptor known as GPR55.

GPR55 has been dubbed an “orphan receptor” because scientists are still not sure if it belongs to a larger family of receptors.

GPR55 is widely expressed in the brain, especially in the cerebellum. It is involved in modulating blood pressure and bone density, among other physiological processes.

GPR55 promotes osteoclast cell function, which facilitates bone reabsorption. Overactive GPR55 receptor signaling is associated with osteoporosis.

GPR55, when activated, also promotes cancer cell proliferation, according to 2010 study by researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai. This receptor is expressed in various types of cancer.

CBD is a GPR55 antagonist, as University of Aberdeen scientist Ruth Ross disclosed at the 2010 conference of the International Cannabinoid Research Society in Lund, Sweden.

By blocking GPR55 signaling, CBD may act to decrease both bone reabsorption and cancer cell proliferation.

PPARs

CBD also exerts an anti-cancer effect by activating PPARs [peroxisome proliferator activated receptors] that are situated on the surface of the cell's nucleus. Activation of the receptor known as PPAR-gamma has an anti-proliferative effect as well as an ability to induce tumor regression in human lung cancer cell lines.

PPAR-gamma activation degrades amyloid-beta plaque, a key molecule linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. This is one of the reasons why cannabidiol, a PPAR-gamma agonist, may be a useful remedy for Alzheimer’s patients.

PPAR receptors also regulate genes that are involved in energy homeostasis, lipid uptake, insulin sensitivity, and other metabolic functions. Diabetics, accordingly, may benefit from a CBD-rich treatment regimen.

CBD’s enzyme-mediated activation of the PPAR-alpha receptor may have antipsychotic effects. Polymorphisms or mutations in the gene encoding PPAR-alpha can result in deficient PPAR-alpha signaling, which has been linked to schizophrenia. PPAR-alpha activation is both anti-inflammatory and can decrease dopamine release, thereby minimizing schizophrenic symptoms.

Misconceptions of CBD (Cannabidiol)

Cannabis contains several hundred compounds, including various flavonoids, aromatic terpenes, and many minor cannabinoids in addition to THC and CBD. Each of these compounds has specific healing attributes, but when combined they create what scientists refer to as a holistic “entourage effect,” so that the therapeutic impact of the whole plant is greater than the sum of its single-molecule parts. The Food and Drug Administration, however, isn’t in the business of approving plants as medicine.

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