CANNABINOIDS AND THEIR EFFECTS
Cannabis produces a wide variety of compounds known as cannabinoids , many of which have yet to be discovered in any other plant. Nobody is entirely sure how many cannabinoids there are , there are reports of there being dozens , whilst other reports state there could be over 100, it is difficult to give a precise number. Many of these cannabinoids are present at very low amounts which makes it extremely difficult for them to be detected. The most important thing is that they are present and there are many of them which is good news . In this article we will look at some of the major cannabinoids that can be found in products and what their effects are .
THE 8 MAJOR CANNABINOIDS:
Cannabis doesn’t directly make the most well known cannabinoid associated with it , THC and CBD . Cannabis synthesises several cannabinoid acids, these acids need to be activated (decarboxylated) through heat to provide the compounds that many consumers are interested in (THC and CBD) . However in addition to THCA and CBDA there are several related cannabinoid acids that can be produced .
- CBGA (Cannabigerolic acid )
- THCA (∆⁹- tetrahydrocannabinolic acid )
- CBDA(Cannabidolic acid )
- CBCA(Cannabichromenenic acid )
- CBGVA (cannabigerovarinic acid )
- THCVA (Tetrahydrocanabivarinic acid )
- CBDVA (Cannabidivarinic acid )
- CBCVA (Cannabichromevarinic acid )
THCA and CBDA are the most abundant cannabinoids within cannabis strains. The other major cannabinoid acids mentioned above include CBGA , THCA, CBDA and CBCA . CBGA is the starting compound that the plant enzymes use to produce the other 3 . In addition to these there are an equal number of corresponding “V” compounds which have a slightly shorter chemical structure, CBGVA, THCVA,CBDVA , and CBCVA.
It appears that cannabinoid acids do not produce the intoxicating effects like THC, however they do have a wide variety of interesting properties . Many cannabinoid acids have antibacterial or insecticidal properties , this is most likely the plants own defence system .
When a cannabinoid acid is exposed to heat energy they lose the “A” part of their make-up and turn into a neutral rather than an acidic, following decarboxylation each cannabinoid acid produces a corresponding cannabinoid compound :
- CBG ( Cannabigerol)
- THC ( ∆⁹- tetrahydrocannabinol)
- CBD (Cannabidiol)
- CBC (Cannabichromene)
- CBGV (Cannabigerivarin)
- THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin)
- CBDV (Cannabidivarin)
- CBBCV (Cannabichromevarin)
THC is the only cannabinoid that we know for sure has intoxicating effects , although there is some evidence to suggest that THCV may also have some intoxicating effects depending on dosage amounts. However like most other cannabinoids THCV is not present in significant enough quantities in commercial strains and products to have an effect.
While most cannabinoids are not intoxicating themselves their presence can influence how THC effects you. The best example of this is CBD , even though you wouldn’t get intoxicated from CBD alone, it does influence the CB1 receptors in your endocannabinoid system and therefore influence how a cannabis product will effect you.
THCV may also effect the influence of THC . At relatively low doses THCV appears to lower THC’s ability to activate CB1 receptors , like CBD does. However at relatively high doses THCV may start to activate CB1 receptors in the same manner as THC. The exact dose that you consume greatly influences how a compound affects you. But because THCV and other lesser known cannabinoids are generally less abundant in cannabis, they have therefore been studied less.
Another well known cannabinoid is CBN (Cannabinol) This another cannabinoid which is not directly made by the plant . CBN is a breakdown product of THC , therefore older plant products tend to have higher levels of CBN , especially if they have not been stored correctly , with time and exposure to oxygen THC breaks down into CBN .
It has been observed that CBN has greater sedation benefits when combined with THC and may also be a anticonvulsant ,anti-inflammatory and contains antibiotic properties. This is however an understudied cannabinoid and further research is required before we can be sure of its precise effects .