With the 2018 Farm Bill legalizing industrial hemp and the medical and recreational cannabis at the state level, many Americans have started incorporating hemp-derived products in their routines for the possible overall wellness. Hemp belongs to the Cannabis Sativa plant family, like marijuana, but doesn’t cause psychoactive effects. In the last couple of years, the interest in cannabis and its impact on our health has increased. However, even avid CBD users may still not fully understand how this compound can affect one’s health and wellness and how our bodies respond to the intake of CBD containing products.
What are Cannabinoids?
Cannabis, famous due to its so many diverse uses, produces a wide variety of different chemicals, such as terpenes and flavonoids responsible for the plant’s taste and smell. More than 144 out of about 500 other cannabis chemicals are cannabinoids – a class of naturally occurring chemical compounds, like THC and CBD.
The Endocannabinoid System
Cannabinoids are quite similar to endocannabinoids, endogenous lipid-based retrograde neurotransmitters of cannabinoid receptors in the human body. The endocannabinoid system, a biological system, may regulate various physiological processes in humans, such as memory, mood, and appetite, and consists of CB1 and CB2 receptors. Cannabinoids in the cannabis plant bind to and interact with these receptors, some of them activating the endocannabinoid system to maintain its primary functions.
● CB1 receptors are present in the brain, in the cerebellum, male and female reproductive systems, the human anterior eye, and retina. CB1 receptors are among the most common receptors in the nervous system and can affect our memory, mood, and perception of pain and motor functions. They can also play a role in hormone production, pregnancy, cardiovascular health, and digestion. THC, the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, binds to these receptors and causes the feeling of high and impairing effects on humans.
● CB2 receptors are primarily in the immune system, or immune-derived cells, in charge of our response to inflammation and pathogens. CB2 receptors are responsible for the potential therapeutic effects of cannabis.
Millions across the country have incorporated hemp-derived products for rebalancing the endocannabinoid system. The most popular cannabinoids are THC and CBD, which you most probably have already heard of, even if you have never used CBD or recreational marijuana. However, there is more to cannabis than just THC or CBD, and we will discuss some of the major cannabinoids in this article to see how each one can affect your body.
Types of Cannabinoids
Delta-9 THC is the chemical that is responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. THC is usually in the center of attention regarding cannabinoids and is typically why people mistakenly believe CBD can cause the same mind-altering symptoms. THC is the primary psychoactive component of cannabis. While CBD cannot get users high, THC can; it binds with CB-1 receptors in the brain and produces strong psychoactive effects, along with relaxation and possible laughter. Usually, people consume THC by smoking cannabis, and it’s famous for causing a high sensation. Unlike CBD, THC is not legal federally, but many states have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational purposes.
Delta-9 THC after oxidation converts to Delta-8 THC, which is becoming popular in wellness products. In the United States, products derived from marijuana remain illegal. However, wellness products containing hemp-derived Delta 8 THC are still legal (as of October 8th, 2020) when they do not have more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. However, the law may be changing on the Delta 8 THC products soon, as this is a new component that the DEA is currently reviewing (as of October 2020).
CBD, a non-psychoactive component in cannabis, is booming in popularity. Since the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD products started showing up everywhere and 1 in 5 Americans aged between 18-29, started using them. CBD is a hemp-derived compound. While hemp and marijuana both belong to the cannabis Sativa plant family, hemp contains such low THC levels – a psychoactive constituent of cannabis – that it won’t get users high. CBD is federally legal, and products containing this compound are now available at almost any store. CBD has not been shown to be addictive and is considered safe to use.
“In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.” – The World Health Organization.
CBG, short for cannabigerol, is another cannabinoid in the cannabis plant. Like CBD, CBG from hemp is completely legal in the United States, with no more than 0.3% of THC content. CBG is also non-psychoactive and is perhaps a rising start amongst cannabinoids, attracting researchers and cultivators. CBG interacts with CB1 and CB2 in the human body and may have a therapeutic effect, but until now, there isn’t enough research to prove CBG’s treating potential in humans. CBG is also present in much smaller amounts in most hemp strains and is one of the most expensive cannabinoids to produce.
THCV, short for tetrahydrocannabivarin, is a minor cannabinoid similar to THC in molecular structure and psychoactive properties. THCV is present in trace amounts in most strains of marijuana. THCV may provide health benefits, but at this stage, there is not enough research to verify its positive effects on humans. One of the primary challenges of studying THCV’s possible health benefits is its limited amount in marijuana strains. While THC activates CB1 receptors in the brain, small THCV doses don’t activate CB1 and will not get users high. Higher doses can behave as THC produces a psychoactive effect. THCV is not explicitly listed as a Schedule I drug in the United States. Still, because THCV could be considered an analog of THC, possession intended for human consumption remains illegal.
CBC is also a non-psychoactive, minor cannabinoid that could have healing and anti-inflammatory properties. CBC doesn’t activate any of the endocannabinoid receptors in the human body. CBC is most effective when working with other cannabinoids because of the entourage effect. The idea behind the entourage effect is that cannabinoids provide better results when they work as a group than they do by themselves. CBC is present in all cannabis varieties, but it only appears in minimal quantities. Various broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD oils contain CBC in small amounts.
CBN, short for cannabinol, is a non-intoxicating, mildly-psychoactive cannabinoid and derives from the same cannabinoid acid as THC. It is the primary product of THC degradation, and its content increases when THC ages, so older cannabis usually has higher amounts of CBN. CBN also binds to CB1 receptors as, but with ten times less strength than THC. CBN usually is the product of decarboxylation — a chemical reaction converting other cannabinoids, such as CBD and THC, into CBN. There are many opinions regarding CBN’s possible health benefits; however, there is not enough research to prove CBN can improve health or treat any conditions.
CBN derived from hemp is legal, as the 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the CSA’s definition of marijuana. Although CBN is not explicitly scheduled under the CSA, undoubtedly CBN derived from the marijuana plant is illegal.
We hope that the information above will help you better understand how cannabinoids interact with our bodies, potentially benefiting our wellness. If you are looking for premium CBD products to incorporate in your routine, look no further. At New Leaf Botanics, we offer the highest quality available hemp-products and use third-party lab tests to ensure they are free from THC, pesticides, and heavy metals. All of our products are guaranteed to be safe to use daily and contain only the purest, most effective ingredients. Get started today, shop for CBD products online 24/7, and we will ship your order straight to your door.