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What are Cannabinoids? What are their types?

2021-10-22
What are Cannabinoids? What are their types?

There is no doubt that cannabis in its processed form is the most common and most marketed drug. People who want to feel its psychoactive effects reach for stimulants containing the compound THC. However, there is another compound present in cannabis that does not have an intoxicating effect. Although both compounds belong to the same chemical group carrying the name 'cannabinoids', CBD is responsible for the fact that cannabinoids can actually be used in medicine. What is worth knowing about these chemical compounds?

Cannabinoids - what are they?

The term used for the chemical compounds present in cannabis is directly related to the receptors present in our body called cannabinoid receptors. It is these receptors that are affected by cannabinoids, which are the chemical compounds present in various types of cannabis. At the same time, each such compound has different effects on the body, and while some are used only for intoxicating purposes, others clearly have a purely medicinal effect. This makes it possible to make use of the exclusively health-promoting properties offered by certain cannabinoids. Medicines produced in the presence of CBD are important in the treatment of certain diseases, as will be explained later in this article.

How do cannabinoids work?

The invariably great interest, even fascination, with cannabinoids has to do with how they affect our receptors. It is in the case of humans that one can speak of the unique and, at the same time, very specific effects of these compounds. At the same time, it should be taken into account that the effect of cannabinoids depends on the exact compound that affects us. THC, for example, is responsible for the psychoactive effect of cannabis, which is the reason why it is banned in a large proportion of countries. At the same time, this compound can lead to impaired learning processes and memory, which is why the medical community in particular takes a negative view of these cannabinoids. The side effects of THC, however, have nothing to do with CBD. Derived from the cannabis plant, CBD has been successfully used not only as a non-addictive compound, but also one that has been shown to negate the effects of THC. CBD's effects are:

  • Relaxing,
  • Calming,
  • Combating insomnia,
  • Antipsychotic,
  • Anticonvulsant.

What types of cannabinoids are there?

Currently, the literature points to three main sources of cannabinoid compounds, each acting in a slightly different way. The first two are natural cannabinoids:

  • Plant-based (phytocannabinoids) - as the name suggests, they are extracted from plants, including cannabis. In fact, however, they are successfully found in many other plant species. Such cannabinoids are divided into, among others, the aforementioned CBD and THC, but also the full spectrum of compounds belonging to the same chemical group.
  • Endocannabinoids - endogenous compounds produced by our body. Once they are produced, they bind to the corresponding receptors in our body. Achievements made in laboratories by scientists have led to the emergence of synthetic cannabinoids over the years. Their manufacture was initially based on natural, cannabis-derived counterparts, but later began to be effectively modified. At the same time, the medical use of synthetic cannabinoids is only authorised in some countries, as these compounds are not as unequivocally beneficial to health as natural CBD.

Medical use of cannabinoids

We already know that the calming, sedative properties of CBD are appreciated. Recent research indicates that there are elements of the endocrine system that are clearly affected by cannabinoids. The thyroid is a prime example of this. The use of CBD makes it possible to restore the proper functioning of the endocrine system.

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