Cannabinoids: Definition and More

Cannabinoids Definition and Much More

What are Cannabinoids?

Here is the Cannabinoids definition. The marijuana plant, which is scientifically known by the taxonomic name of Cannabis sativa, is comprised of over 480 compounds which occur naturally. A cannabinoid is one of 66 components found naturally within Cannabis sativa which is unique to the plant.   The most well-known compound and cannabinoid in Cannabis sativa is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9-THC) which causes the psychoactive effects of cannabis.

What are the different types of Cannabinoids?

Now that you know the cannabinoids definition, lets look at the different type of cannabinoids. There are many different types of cannabinoids and they can be separated into different categories. Cannabinoids can be in the following subcategories: Cannabichromenes (CBC), Cannabigerols (CBG), Cannabidiols (CBD), Cannabinol (CBN), Cannabinodiol (CBDL), and other cannabinoids such as cannabicyclol (CBL). These cannabinoids can have different, and even antagonistic, effects on the human nervous system.

How does the Cannabinoid system work in Humans?

 

To fully understand cannabinoids it isn"t good enough to simply understand the cannabinoids definition and different types, but we also need to look at out they work in the human body. Cannabinoids act on the nervous system by interacting with specific receptors, called cannabinoid receptors, which are found in different parts of the central nervous system. Two cannabinoid receptors have been discovered: CB1 and CB2. The human body endogenously produces compounds which bind to cannabinoid receptors. In 1992, researchers discovered a compound in the body which binds to CB1 receptors, which they termed “anandamide.” Since then, more compounds that occur naturally in the body have been isolated and characterized, and these compounds, in conjunction with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, are called the “endogenous cannabinoid system.”

The effects of cannabinoids vary depending on the areas of the brain they interact with. A circuit in the brain called the Limbic System, which involves brain regions involved in memory, cognition, emotion, and psychomotor performance is affected by cannabinoids. Activity in the mesolimbic pathway, which is associated with the processing of rewards and the feeling of reward, is also associated with cannabinoids. Endocannabinoid receptors are also widely distributed in areas of the brain dedicated to the perception and processing of pain.

People who power through a difficult workout, for example, may have higher levels of the internally-produced endocannabinoid anandamide. Levels of this endocannabinoid are elevated after exercise, as are endorphins, which act on the body’s opioid system, and both are thought to be involved in the feelings of euphoria experienced after a workout, sometimes called “runner’s high.”

Much remains to be discovered about the endogenous cannabinoid, or endocannabinoid, system. A current area of research has focused on the various possible medical uses of man-made cannabinoids.

Effects of Different Cannabinoids in the Nervous System

Three types of cannabinoids, CBG, CBC, and CBD, are not known to be psychologically active. THC, CBN, CBDL, and some other cannabinoids, however, may have varying degrees of psychoactivity.

The most abundant cannabinoid is CBD, which contributes to up to 40% of cannabis resin. CBD is thought to produce anti-anxiety effects, lessening the psychoactive effects of THC. A plant with a greater percentage of CBD may be able to reduce the intensity of THC effects. Using a cannabis plant with less CBD has been determined to have an increased impact on cognition and brain function, leading to unwanted effects such as anxiety.

The Different Nervous system effects of CBN vs CBD

There are many differences in CBD vs. CBN. While CBD comprises most of the cannabinoid present in cannabis sativa, CBN can be formed in the plant by exposing cannabis to air. CBN is the oxidized by-product of THC. CBN, which is only very weakly psychoactive, can also interact with THC to reduce its effects. Cannabis that has been left out and is unused will react with the oxygen in the free air over time and, therefore, have a decreased concentration of the psychoactive compound THC.

Cannabis’ Effect on Neurotransmitters

effects of cannabinoids on neurotransmitters The brain has an endogenous cannabinoid (endocannabinoid) system which includes CB1 and CB2 receptors located in the body. CB1 receptors are located in the brain and CB2 are generally localized to the peripheral nervous system. The stimulation of the CB1 receptor is thought to be the classical mechanism by which a marijuana user obtains a “high.” The endocannabinoid system helps maintain homeostasis, or balance, in the brain, and means that humans already create natural versions of some of the compounds in cannabis in the body.

The cannabis plant both binds to receptors in the endocannabinoid system and has various effects on other neurotransmitter systems. Various compounds in the cannabis plant can have different effects. For example, it is thought that CBD does not interact directly with the endocannabinoid system of the body except at very high concentrations, but when it does interact with this neurotransmitter system, it can create a host of direct and indirect actions. CBD is a weak antagonist of the CB1 receptor and has a stronger antagonistic effect on CB2. CBD stimulates the endogenous cannabinoid response by suppressing the metabolism of the endocannabinoid anandamide. Because it is an antagonist of the CB1 receptor, it may block the “high” feelings obtained from cannabis, and specifically, THC.

The actions of psychoactive substances on neurotransmission can be complicated. CBD also has other effects in other neurotransmitter systems – namely, serotonin, adenosine, and a class of sensory (pain) receptors known as TRPV-1. CBD stimulates the 5HT1a receptor (the receptor that LSD operates on to give users its psychedelic effects) , the adenosine receptor, and the TRPV-1 receptors.

CBN Cannabinol Effects

CBN, the product that is created when the cannabis plant is exposed to air, can have an antagonist effect on the psychoactive properties of THC, which contributes to the “high” experienced by cannabis users. CBN is thought to decrease the potency of the cannabis plant. Cannabis that has been exposed to air such that the overall amount of THC decreases is said to lose potency.

What is Cannaboid Oil?

Cannabinoid oil, or CBD oil, is an oil extracted from the cannabis plant. Some people who suffer from chronic conditions use CBD oil to alleviate pain, but more research is necessary to determine whether CBD is truly effective as a pain management tool. CBD is a cannabinoid that does not contribute to the “high” feeling experienced by marijuana smokers. CBD also carries a host of associated side effects, including dizziness, fatigue, and irritability. However, it has shown potential as a therapeutic tool in pain management. CBD is also thought to have anti-seizure, anti-inflammatory, and antispasmodic properties.

SOURCES used in writing this article on the cannabinoids definition can be found below :

http://adai.uw.edu/marijuana/factsheets/cannabinoids.htm, http://www.healthline.com/health/cbd-oil-for-pain, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26264914

The Effects of CBD on the Human Body, as explained by a Doctor

 

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