Cannabis is also commonly known as marijuana. It is a drug that comes from the cannabis plant, which is flowering plant in the family Cannabaceae. The main active drug component in cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC. THC is one of the 400+ known compounds in the cannabis plant, including a large number of cannabinoids, which can help in treating certain conditions.
Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds secreted by cannabis flowers that provide relief to an array of symptoms including pain, nausea, anxiety, and inflammation. These work by imitating compounds our bodies naturally produce, called endocannabinoids, which activate to maintain internal stability and health. To put a complex system simply, they mediate communication between cells, and when there is a deficiency or problem with our endocannabinoid system, unpleasant symptoms and physical complications occur.
When cannabis is consumed, cannabinoids bind to receptor sites throughout our brain (receptors called CB-1) and body (CB-2). Different cannabinoids have different effects depending on which receptors they bind to. For example, THC binds to receptors in the brain whereas CBN (cannabinol) has a strong affinity for CB-2 receptors located throughout the body. Depending on a cannabis product’s cannabinoid profile, different types of relief are achievable.
This concept is the cornerstone of marijuana as medicine, and the results are so promising that these cannabinoids have been synthesized for legal prescription use. Some synthetic cannabinoid medications include Marinol, Nabilone, and Rimonabant. While these synthetic forms are effective, research shows that herbal marijuana contains a far wider variety of therapeutic compounds.
Cannabis contains at least 85 types of cannabinoids, many of which have documented medical value. Products and strains have been developed to deliver larger doses of different cannabinoids, so knowing which types best treat your symptoms is a handy piece of knowledge to bring to your next dispensary visit.
Industry Expert, Michael Backes, visited Solevo Wellness to discuss the difference: