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The Endocannabinoid System
The Endocannabinoid system is an essential component of the central and peripheral nervous systems. Anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol are naturally occurring endocannabinoid neurotransmitters involved in the regulation of cognition, sleep, appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory. THC is a phytocannabinoid (plant-based cannabinoid), which latches to endocannabinoid receptors throughout the body when consumed, resulting in pharmacological enhancement of the processes regulated by the endocannabinoid system.
Δ9-THC is the principle psychoactive constituent of cannabis and its mechanism of action within the endocannabinoid system affects physiological processes resulting in potentially medicinal effects. Substantial evidence suggests that ingestion of Δ9-THC reduces symptoms of spasticity, chronic pain, inflammation, insomnia, and anxiety.
CBD is a non-psychoactive chemical component of cannabis. It does not produce a “high” sensation. However, ingestion of CBD modifies the endocannabinoid system, yielding potentially medicative results. Like Δ9-THC, CBD aids in the treatment of pain, inflammation, and anxiety. Additionally, CBD can relieve symptoms of epilepsy, psychosis, migraines, and depression.
CBN is a metabolite of Δ9-THC, usually found in cannabis that has been exposed to ultraviolet light for prolonged periods. Presence of CBN in cannabis samples indicates improper storage or transport. The psychoactive effects of CBN ingestion are mild compared to those of Δ9-THC. Medicinal effects are negligible unless CBN synthesizes with Δ9-THC.
Less Common Cannabinoids
CBG, CBC, THCV, CBDV, & CBL
Less research exists on the psychotropic and physiological effects of these phytocannabinoids. However, therapeutic studies on THCV suggest it is helpful in managing diabetes and other metabolic disorders. Clinical trials determining the efficacy of CBDV relieving symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder are currently underway and expected to produce promising results. Also, studies testing the effects of CBG and CBC against cancer cell line production are ongoing.
The most abundant cannabinoids present in raw cannabis flower are the cannabinoid acids: THC-A and CBD-A. Heating and/or curing of cannabis causes decarboxylation of the cannabinoid acids producing psychoactive Δ9-THC and non-psychoactive CBD.
Cannabinoid content is calculated and reported as Total Cannabinoid Percentage. Cannabinoids are measured in units of mg/serving.
- Total THC% = (THC-A x 0.877) + Δ9-THC
- Total CBD% = (CBD-A x 0.877) + CBD