Get to Know Cannabinoids and Consume Like A Pro
Posted Decmber 3rd
Essential in determining how a cannabis strain will make one feel, cannabinoids are proving to be a key tool in science’s efforts to unlock the plant’s full powers.
Thanks to recent scientific innovations, today’s cannabis consumers have an entirely new vocabulary at their disposal when it comes to discussing the specifics of the plant. Despite the lasting belief that a strain’s classification as sativa or indica offers comprehensive insight into what effects it may provide, today we know that the two most crucial factors when it comes to how a given strain may hit or heal you are the specifics of its terpene and cannabinoid content.
While terpenes largely determine a strain’s flavor, smell, and. coloring, they also factor in when it comes to how a bowl of GG4 or a joint of Cherry AK will make you feel. In fact, we prefer to make alternative strain recommendations based on similar terpene composition, rather than simply strain classification. Additionally, much of the responsibility also lies with cannabinoids.
In the simplest of terms, cannabinoids are literally the chemical compounds which cannabis flowers secrete as part of their growing cycle.
Most weed smokers are likely already familiar with two of the most famous cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, THC and CBD, but in reality, there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 cannabinoids that we’ve thus far identified. As more products featuring minor cannabinoids like THCa, CBN, and CBG begin to hit the market, there’s never been a better time to familiarize yourself with the vital role cannabinoids play in the consumption process.
CANNABINOIDS ARE YOUR CHEAT-SHEET TO AN IDEAL HIGH
If you’ve ever felt a bit overwhelmed in trying to decipher what all of the different weed products in a dispensary are all about, we get it. As fast as the legal cannabis industry has moved to establish a major foothold in markets across the country, so too have scientists worked diligently to better understand this plant and its myriad of promising medicinal properties.
One major breakthrough in our quest to unlock the secrets of cannabis concerns our understanding of cannabinoids in relation to our own endocannabinoid system.
Essentially, the cannabinoids found in cannabis serve as a chemical substitute for the compounds our bodies naturally produce (endocannabinoids). These cannabinoids bind to receptor sites
located throughout our brains, and the variety of receptors to which they bind is reflected in the range of different effects consuming certain weed strains can bring about.
Thus, by identifying which endocannabinoids tend to bind with the receptors responsible for regulating everything from sleep to pain to arousal, we can begin to take confidence when it comes to pairing certain strains with an individual’s specific complaints. To fully illustrate how this process plays out, let’s take a look at the main cast when it comes to the cannabinoids most commonly found in cannabis.
MEET THE CANNABINOID CREW
As noted above, the most well-known cannabinoids in the mix here are THC and CBD. While THC remains the lone plant cannabinoid the world has discovered that definitively causes intoxicating effects, CBD has also enjoyed a strong slice of the spotlight as of late, thanks to its reputation as a non-psychoactive alternative to the tried-and true experience of consuming THC.
We’re also learning a lot about the ways in which cannabinoids interact with one another within our own bodies. Thus, even if CBD on its own isn’t capable of making you feel “high,” it still absolutely plays a significant role in determining how a given quantity of THC will affect you. This is what’s referred to as the entourage effect, which itself has an infinite array of variation in the form of products which feature ratio formulas built on various balances of THC, CBD, and sometimes even other cannabinoids as well.
One so-called minor cannabinoid is cannabinol (aka CBN). Created as byproduct of THC naturally breaking down over time — a process which is aided with excess exposure to oxygen — CBN is reputed to be a powerful sleep aid. That’s why you’ll find that many cannabis products geared specifically for sleep are now emphasizing the inclusion of CBN.
When it comes to cannabinoids with promising anti-inflammatory properties, by contrast, all eyes are on THCa. Not to be mistaken for THC, this non-psychoactive cannabinoid is actually THC’s precursor, as it is present in raw cannabis but becomes THC when ignited or smoked. Nowadays, balms and other weed products are highlighting THCa for its power to soothe inflammation as well as its possible status as a neuroprotectant.
Another notable entry in the field of minor cannabinoids is cannabigerol (aka CBG), which is actually a chemical compound precursor to both CBD and THC. Regarded as a cannabinoid with
properties similar to CBD, one area in which CBG has shown promise is in the relief of symptoms related to inflammatory bowel disease as well as its potential in helping to slow the growth of colorectal cancer cells. We remain hopeful the continued medical research will support these initial findings and hypotheses.
CANNABINOIDS ARE A STORY THAT CONTINUES TO BE WRITTEN
For as much as we now know about cannabinoids, there’s a whole lot of information that we’re still waiting to get.
As changing laws continue to allow for better, more focused research on the science of cannabis, our understanding of cannabinoids and the role they can potentially play in our healing and health should only continue to grow and grow. Already, we’ve entered an era of weed consumption in which tailored cannabis solutions to medical complaints are becoming the expected norm. With that in mind, don’t miss our Lab Results page which will allow you to find and review the lab results associated with the product you purchased, and view its full cannabinoid and terpenoid testing results.
Moving forward, cannabinoids should also prove to be of vital value in the great quest to make the process of medicating with cannabis as close to perfect as possible. Next up, read How to Gift Cannabis for the Holidays.