The factors that make a strain feel, smell, and taste the way it does are extensive. While different types of cannabis affect everyone differently, we’ve generally known that when in a dispensary, we are told that Sativas are usually best for daytime use, Indicas are better for nighttime, and Hybrids are an ideal combination of the two.
Although this holds mostly true, there are many naturally-occurring compounds in cannabis that can also play into how a strain feels.
Cannabinoids: What Are They?
The word cannabinoid refers to every chemical substance that binds to cannabinoid receptors in the body and brain. Cannabinoids show their effects through interaction with receptors in different parts of our central nervous system. In simpler terms, cannabinoids help to regulate our body’s natural processes.
Cannabinoids in cannabis imitate the compounds our bodies naturally produce called endocannabinoids, and when a problem occurs within our endocannabinoid system, certain symptoms or complications occur.
When consuming cannabis, cannabinoids will bind to specific receptor sites throughout our brain ( CB-1) and body (CB-2). Different types of treatment and relief can be achievable and mimicked depending on a product’s cannabinoid profile.
Cannabinoids can be broken down into two main categories: phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids. The difference is that phytocannabinoids are produced by plants, while endocannabinoids are produced by us (mammals).
The Abundant Cannabinoids
We can also split down the categories of abundant and minor cannabinoids. Although it’s been found that the cannabis plant produces between 80 and 100 different cannabinoids, the two most abundant in cannabis are THC and CBD.
The most present and popular cannabinoid found. Delta-9 THC activates the CB1 receptor that has been shown to activate the brain’s reward system – triggering feelings of euphoria. Much of THC’s ability to relieve pain is due to its interaction with CB1 receptors.
Being the second-most abundant cannabinoid, CBD has many potential therapeutic benefits, including anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties. Cannabidiol can be sourced from and is found in abundance in both marijuana and hemp plants.
Rising Minor Cannabinoids
Out of the many cannabinoids found, THC and CBD are the only two compounds that are considered major or abundant cannabinoids. Let’s take a look at some of the rarer compounds that are on the rise.
CBG or cannabigerol
This minor cannabinoid is sometimes called the “mother of cannabinoids”, due to being the original cannabinoid produced early in the cannabis plant’s growth cycle. From this early cycle, CBG synthesizes other cannabinoids through metabolic processes while the plant matures.
CBG activates the CB1 receptor just as CBD does which decreases psycho-activation, meaning that if you’re consuming cannabis with a higher concentration of CBG there could be potential to counteract the psychoactive “high”.
CBN, or cannabinol, is the byproduct of degrading the psychoactive component of cannabis. It is considered less psychoactive than THC and is believed to have anticonvulsant effects. CBN is also believed to decrease anxiety and improve levels of relaxation.
Acidic Cannabinoid Forms:
THCA and CBDA
THCA is the most common cannabinoid found in the raw cannabis plant. THCA is non-intoxicating but converts into the intoxicating THC when decarboxylated.
Just like THCA, CBDA turns into CBD through decarboxylation. The full effects of THCA and CBDA are still being investigated.
Other Forms of THC:
Delta-8 and Delta-10 THC
Two other cannabinoid forms of THC called Delta-8-THC and Delta-10-THC are on the rise. Although they are only a few molecular bonds different than Delta-9-THC, Delta-8 is reportedly less psychoactive than its more popular cousin and many say it offers a more “clear-headed” feeling. On the other hand, delta-10 is more difficult to produce and found in smaller, trace amounts while offering a more “energizing” feeling.
The smallest changes in a cannabinoid’s structure can cause vastly different physiological and physical effects. The more cannabinoids discovered, the more difficult its been to separate them and get an idea of the full potential of their effects on the human body.
However, with more and more cannabis research and interest on the rise, expect to see a greater number of cannabinoids accompanied by a greater understanding of these cannabinoids.
Attention Canna-Lovers and Consumers and Mass Residents near Clinton, MA!
We’re proud to announce a new member of our team, Avery Leveston who shows a deep passion for cannabis and understanding of the plant demonstrated through care and attention to every customer’s needs.