What are Phytocannabinoids?

What are Phytocannabinoids?

Let’s look at what phytocannabinoids are and how phytocannabinoids affect our bodies and minds.

Phytocannabinoids are the cannabinoids which are produced in both cannabis and hemp. There is a big movement in the scientific community towards cannabinoids and the medicinal benefits which they have to offer people around the world. Many countries around the world have been reevaluating the way that they look at cannabis, and it’s many uses. While marijuana was used for its medicinal purposes for centuries, early in the 1900s, it was classified by many countries as a narcotic. Only recently have countries turned back to marijuana and the medical benefits it has to offer.

Some of the more popular phytocannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and cannabidiol (CBD). All the cannabinoids which are produced in plants are known as phytocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are cannabinoids which we produce inside our own bodies! You don’t even have to consume cannabis to produce endocannabinoids. The two main endocannabinoids are anandamide (AEA), and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). Both phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids interact with our endocannabinoid system.

The endocannabinoid system is a series of receptors which are networked together throughout our bodies. The receptors in the brain are generally CB1 receptors, while the receptors in the immune system and central nervous system are mostly CB2 receptors. It’s believed that the endocannabinoid system is responsible for maintaining balance throughout the body and minds. Some researchers believe that it was a hemp-based diet which allowed our ancestors tens of thousands of years ago to develop an intricate endocannabinoid system we enjoy today.

Below are some of the more common phytocannabinoids and how they react and interact with our endocannabinoid system:

Cannabigerol (CBG) 

CBG is considered to be the precursor to most of the other phytocannabinoids. CBG is believed to have a wide variety of different therapeutic applications, proving more effective than CBD in managing neuropathic pain. Enzymes located in the trichomes convert CBG into one of the 113 other cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. After this process, there is very little CBG remaining in the mature plant, normally less than 1%. Read more about CBG here.

Cannabidivarin (CBDV) 

CBDV is another non-psychoactive cannabinoid. CBDV is the analog of CBD. It has a 3-carbon sidechain (propyl), instead of 5-carbons (pentyl). It has many of the same characteristics as CBD, and there is currently research being undertaken into its use as an anticonvulsant.

Cannabidiol (CBD) 

One of the more well-known phytocannabinoids, CBD has the most therapeutic application and is currently one of the most studied. It’s non-psychoactive, meaning it won’t get you high like THC. This makes it legal to buy and possess in many countries around the world. CBD is currently used in the treatment of a variety of different conditions including and utilized as an anticonvulsant, antitumor, anti-psychotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-insomnia, anti-depressant, anxiolytic, antioxidant, and immunostimulant. Read more about CBD here.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) 

THC is probably the most well-known and talked about phytocannabinoid of them all! When you consume marijuana and get high, that’s the THC in the marijuana affecting you. When the THC binds with the CB1 receptors, it stimulates the release of endocannabinoids which regulate both our mood and our appetite. THC is also known to be a powerful anti-inflammatory, with around twenty times the efficacy of aspirin. It was the psychoactive properties of THC which led to lobbying to have cannabis classified as a narcotic. Read more about THC here.

Cannabichromene (CBC) 

CBC is another therapeutic phytocannabinoid found in cannabis. It is considered by many to be the most powerful anti-cancer cannabinoid. CBC interacts with CB2 receptors in tumor cells, producing surface antigens which recruit cytotoxic immune cells which come to destroy it. Another interesting fact about CBC is that it is the only phytocannabinoid which is believed to stimulate the growth of brain cells. This wasn’t even believed to be possible until the late 90s! This has fueled research into the use of CBC as an anti-Alzheimer therapy. Read more about CBC here.

Phytocannabinoids play an important role in our endocannabinoid system, but research into them is still in very early stages. For the last century, cannabis’ status as a narcotic has led to low amounts of research being conducted into its benefits. As the legalization of cannabis and its reclassification for medicinal purposes continues to grow, more and more research and studies are being undertaken.

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What is 2-AG?

What is 2-AG?

Interested in learning more about endocannabinoids? Then let’s check out what 2-AG is and how it works.

2-Arachidonoylglycerol or 2-AG is one of the main endocannabinoids, along with anandamide. 2-AG works by interacting with the CB receptors located in both the central and peripheral nervous systems in our bodies. 2-AG is a full agonist for both CB receptors as well as being the primary binding molecule for the CB2 receptor.

The endocannabinoid system isn’t something you get from consuming cannabis. We all have an endocannabinoid system, and it’s responsible for maintaining balance in our bodies. Cannabinoids and endocannabinoids work by attaching themselves to the receptors located around the endocannabinoid system. When the endocannabinoids and cannabinoids attach themselves to the receptors, there is a chemical reaction. It’s this chemical reaction which produces changes in our bodies. Endocannabinoids and cannabinoids are like the keys which unlock the receptors which are like locks. Cannabinoids are found in the cannabis plant, and endocannabinoids are produced by our bodies.

2-AG is part of the group of molecules which come from arachidonic acid or two other 20-carbon essential fatty acids which are known as a DGLA and EPA. These molecules are known as eicosanoids and are oxidized versions of the essential fatty acids. They play complicated, but important roles in different bodily processes which include inflammation and immunity.

One of the most abundant endocannabinoids found within our bodies, 2-AG plays an important role in the regulation of appetite, pain management, and immune system functions. There are several different ways that you can boost the levels of 2-AG in your body. Cannabis is a great way to help boost and support your endocannabinoid system, but there are also other ways you can help your endocannabinoid system without cannabis.

Below is three different ways that you can boost the levels of 2-AG:

Your Diet 

Because 2-AG is essentially made from fats, or metabolized linoleic acid, you can eat foods high in linoleic acids like eggs, poultry, grains, and hemp seeds. To boost your levels of 2-AG, diets high in omega-6 essential fatty acids is a great way to start. Remember to consume equal amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to get the most benefit to your endocannabinoid system.

Probiotics 

Some research suggests that probiotics help to increase the expression of CB2 receptors located in the gut. You can eat pre-biotic foods like leeks, artichoke, onions, and garlic. It also helps to eat a lot of high-fiver greens.

Sleep 

Sleep is an essential ingredient in maintaining your bodies levels of 2-AG and maintaining the balance in your endocannabinoid system. Make sure that you are getting regular amounts of good sleep every day.

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What is Anandamide?

What is Anandamide?

If you are interested in learning more about endocannabinoids like anandamide and the endocannabinoid system, then just keep reading.

N-arachidonoylethanolamine (Anandamide), is an endogenous analog of THC. Interestingly, anandamide is also known by many people as the ‘bliss molecule,’ or the bodies own version of THC. Anandamide is produced by our bodies and has a very similar chemical makeup to that of THC; it even binds itself to the same receptors in the endocannabinoid system. It has several different properties but can act as neurotransmitter and mood-enhancer.

Unlike cannabinoids such as THC, CBD, CBN, and many others, anandamide is an endocannabinoid. Cannabinoids are found in the cannabis plant, while endocannabinoids are produced naturally by our bodies. Anandamide is produced inside the cell membranes and tissues of the body. It’s synthesized from N-arachidonoyl phosphatidylethanolamine and broken down by fatty acid amide hydrolase, an enzyme.

Anandamide interacts and binds with both the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain. Anandamide is considered a fragile compound as it breaks down in the body quickly. It is produced in the parts of the brain which are responsible for managing your memory, movement control, and our higher thought processes. Anandamide also has an important part to play in many of our physiological processes such as managing our appetite, managing our pain, and also fertility.

How anandamide works in the human body

Anandamide works by interacting with the receptors which are part of the endocannabinoid system. These receptors, the CB1 and CB2 are located throughout the body, brain, and central nervous system. These receptors act like locks. The cannabinoids and endocannabinoids act like keys to the locks, binding to them and creating a chemical reaction. In the central nervous system, the anandamide mostly binds with the CB1 receptors, while in the peripheral it binds with the CB2 receptors.

In an article published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation in 2005, anandamide was shown to help promote neurogenesis. The article stated that anandamide and other cannabinoids promoted neurogenesis in the part of the brain which is responsible for managing our memory, our ability to learn, and our emotions. They were also shown to have some antidepressant-like effects.

A 2007 paper which was published by the research department at the University of Michigan showed that anandamide played an important role in managing our feeding habits and generating feelings of pleasure and motivation in mice. The study showed that anandamide injected into the forebrain doubled the reaction of mice when they received a reward for completing a set task. It also did not affect the negative reaction when they didn’t receive a reward.

Other studies were undertaken at the University of California, and the University of Connecticut discovered that increased amounts of anandamide in our brains could help with the relief of the symptoms associated with anxiety and depression.

Ways that you can increase anandamide levels in your body

With some studies showing the potential health benefits of anandamide, it makes sense that you would want to try and increase the levels of this endocannabinoid.

Some of the different ways that you can increase your anandamide levels include:

• Exercising
• Eating chocolate
• Eating truffles
• Maintaining your focus

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What is CBN?

What is CBN?

Curious about some of the lesser known cannabinoids like CBN? Then let’s check out what CBN is and what some of its medicinal benefits are.

Like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN) is a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. CBN isn’t going to get you ‘high’ like THC and is more like CBD in the fact that it has no psychoactive properties. So, if you’re after the next cannabinoid to get you high, you may want to pass on CBN. What CBN does have to offer users is some seriously interesting and potentially life-changing medicinal benefits.

CBN is often found in higher amounts in older, aged cannabis. As THC ages, or is exposed to oxygen over time, it switches to CBN. If you have left dry herb lying around for months or years, it is more likely to contain higher amounts of CBN. If you’re trying to find high CBN strains of cannabis, you would be better off looking for specific CBN concentrates.

The legalization of cannabis for both recreational and medicinal use in many countries around the world has been fueling massive growth in research and studies into cannabis and its benefits. Cannabis was used for centuries for its medicinal properties, and only in the early part of the 1900s was it reclassified as a narcotic. Lately, many governments have been rethinking their stance on cannabis as a narcotic and looking to the future of cannabis as a legitimate medicinal product.

Our bodies are made up of an endocannabinoid system. This is system is linked throughout our bodies, brains, and central nervous system. The endocannabinoid system is covered with receptors. Cannabinoids attach themselves to these receptors and cause a reaction. Like a key unlocking a lock. When the cannabinoids attach themselves to the receptors, there is a chemical reaction. It’s these chemical reactions which have scientists and researchers so excited about cannabinoids and cannabis.

CBN may sound a lot like CBD, but it is another unique cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. There are approximately 113 different cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, and all of them can play an important role in our endocannabinoid systems and health and well-being. Some of the benefits which scientists and researchers have been studying CBN include:

• Pain relief
• Promoting the growth of bone cells
• Anti-insomnia
• Anti-inflammatory
• Anti-bacterial
• As an appetite stimulant
• Anti-convulsive

One of the most promising aspects of CBN, and the one researchers are most excited about, is its sedative effect. Some research has gone as far as to suggest that 5mg of CBN could be the equivalent to a 10mg dose of diazepam. The great thing about using cannabis-based pain relief and sleeping aids is the minimized chances of addiction. Many opioid-based pain relief products also come with severe side-effects and a high chance of addiction, especially among younger people.

If you like to get a good night’s sleep by using cannabis, a little bit of CBN could be one of the most effective sleeping aids available! Unlike THC, CBN doesn’t get you high and will leave you with a clear head ready to accomplish any tasks you would usually complete. The biggest downside to CBN is that it isn’t present in the same amounts as THC or CBD. While cannabis flower or bud can contain up to 30% THC or CBD, it usually contains less than 1% CBN.

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What is CBG?

What is CBG?

Curious to learn more about cannabinoids like CBG? Let’s check out what CBG is.

Cannabis contains much more than the two most popular and well-known of the cannabinoids, CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), it also contains many other cannabinoids such as CBG (cannabigerol). While CBG may not be as well-known as the other cannabinoids, or present in the same quantities, it’s there, and it has an important role to play just like the other 113 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant.

CBG is similar to CBD in that it won’t get you ‘high’ as THC does. It contains no psychoactive properties and won’t give you that high that you experience when you consume strains of cannabis with high levels of THC. CBG isn’t considered one of the major cannabinoids because it’s usually only found at very low levels, approximately 1%.

The interesting thing about CBG is that both CBD and THC start out as CBG. The cannabis plant produces cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), this is the precursor to three of the most important cannabinoid lines, THCA, CBDA, and CBCA. The enzymes within the cannabis plant turn the CBGA into either CBDA or THCA, which is then activated by light or heat to create CBD or THC. With most strains of marijuana, the CBGA is converted quickly into CBDA or THCA. When you get more THC, you end up with less CBD, or more CBD and less THC.

In an attempt to get trains of cannabis with higher amounts of CBG, growers, and breeders have been experimenting with cross-breeding of plants and genetic manipulation. There are also ways that more CBG can be recovered from cannabis plants of the plants are harvested in a certain time during the growing cycle. Growers need to pinpoint when the maximum amount of CBG is present, normally six weeks into the eight-week growing cycle.

The potential medical benefits of CBG

Within our bodies, the endocannabinoid system works hard to keep our body balanced in a state of homeostasis. The endocannabinoid helps control different areas of the body, with receptors spread throughout the brain, body, and central nervous system. CBG acts on the very specific areas within the physiological systems, and there has been a lot of promising research focused on this area.

CBG and Glaucoma 

There are receptors located within the eye structure. CBG is thought to be one of the best cannabinoids for treating glaucoma. The CBG works by decreasing the intraocular pressure in the eyes. CBG is also a very powerful vasodilator and has many neuroprotective benefits.

CBG and Inflammatory Bowel Disease 

During a recent study on mice, scientists discovered that CBG was effective in decreasing the inflammation characteristics of inflammatory bowel disease.

CBG and Huntington’s Disease 

During a study undertaken in 2015, researchers discovered that CBG protected neurons in mice that had Huntington’s disease. Huntington’s disease is characterized by nerve cell degeneration and damage in the brain.

CBG and Cancer 

CBG is also proving to have a lot of promise in the fight against cancers. CBG was shown to block the receptors which are responsible for cancer cell growth. In a study undertaken on mice, CBG inhibited the growth of colorectal cancer cells which are responsible for colon cancer growth.

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What is CBC?

What is CBC?

Curious to learn more about CBC and what CBC is? Then this article is worth reading.

Like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), CBC or cannabichromene is another common cannabinoid found in cannabis. CBC is considered to be one of the major six cannabinoids but still doesn’t get as much attention as either CBD or THC. Scientists are still unlocking all the secrets which CBC and the other cannabinoids have to offer us. So far, the results look promising but don’t go searching for high CBC strains of cannabis just yet. They’re still very few and far between.

Like CBD, CBC isn’t going to get you high or leave you ‘couch locked’as THC does. It’s a non-psychoactive compound, but still has a variety of potential health benefits. CBC binds poorly with the CB1 receptors located in the brain. Unlike THC which specifically targets and binds to these receptors. CBC is more likely to bind with the vanilloid receptor 1 (TRPV1) and the transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1), which have been linked to pain perception. When you consume CBC, it binds with these receptors and helps to increase your body’s natural endocannabinoids.

Just like other cannabinoids and endocannabinoids, scientists believe that CBC works better when it’s combined with other cannabinoids. There hasn’t been a lot of studies done into how CBC functions with other cannabinoids like CBD or THC, but studies into how CBD and THC work together are encouraging. The growth in the legal medical marijuana markets and the progressive legalization of marijuana around the world is fueling a rise in research and studies.

CBC’s medicinal potential

While research is still ongoing, there are already some potential medicinal benefits linked to CBC and other cannabinoids. While marijuana has been used medicinally for centuries, it’s classification as a narcotic in the early 1900s has stunted the research into how it works with our bodies and how cannabinoids affect our endocannabinoid systems.

CBC and cancer 

CBC could potentially be a very powerful ally in the fight against cancers. This is because of the way that CBC interacts with our endocannabinoid system and how it interacts with anandamide. CBC could lower the rate that anandamide is absorbed into the bloodstream, allowing it to circulate throughout our bodies for longer periods of time. One study conducted recently showed that CBC could slow and inhibit inflammation and tumor growth. Because anandamide has been shown to fight breast cancer, it goes without saying that any compound which prolongs anandamide in our bloodstreams longer could be an ally in the fight against breast cancers.

CBC pain and inflammation 

CBC has been shown to block both inflammation and pain which is associated with osteoarthritis. Using cannabinoids can be a healthier way to handle pain and inflammation, avoiding the nasty side effects associated with prescription medicine and opioid pain relief.

CBC and brain cells 

A study undertaken in 2013 on mice showed that CBC had a positive effect on neural stem progenitor cells. NSPCs cells are essential to give us healthy brain functions. This could be an important breakthrough in the fight against Alzheimer’s Disease.

CBC and acne 

Many cannabinoids, including CBC, have shown promising results for people suffering from acne. CBC could be a powerful inhibitor of acne and other skin conditions.

CBC and depression 

Like other cannabinoids, CBC seems to work well when partnered with THC and CBD as a weapon to help fight mental health conditions such as anxiety, stress, ADD, PTSD, and depression.

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What is THC?

What is THC?

In the following article, we’re going to talk about THC and how it works.

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the compound found in cannabis or marijuana that’s responsible for the ‘high.’ For many people, THC is responsible for every ‘stoner’ stereotype that they have ever seen in movies or on their television screens. It’s important to understand that cannabis is made up of a variety of different compounds. While CBD and THC may take up the biggest percentage, there is a variety of other important, but lesser known compounds that all have their part to play.

THC is one of the biggest cannabinoids found in cannabis, but it’s not alone. Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds which are found in cannabis, and they interact with the receptors in our bodies endocannabinoid system. It’s these reactions to the endocannabinoid system which produce different responses throughout our bodies and brains. There are almost a hundred cannabinoids in cannabis, maybe even more. It’s THC that we’re focusing on for this article.

An Israeli chemist, Raphael Mechoulam, who first isolated THC in 1964. Using Lebanese Hashish, Mechoulam isolated and synthesized the THC compound. It was this early discovery and work which would lead to the discovery of other cannabinoids and also research into the endocannabinoid system and its receptors. You may be surprised to learn that our bodies all produce endocannabinoids naturally. You don’t even need to smoke cannabis!

Cannabinoids are known as secondary metabolites. This means that they are chemicals which the cannabis plant produces that actually have no role in the cannabis plant’s growth. Many people believe that these secondary metabolites work as an immune system for the cannabis plant, helping it to fight off pests, parasites, bugs, and predators.

The easiest way to understand the endocannabinoid system is to image the receptors spread throughout the body as locks, and the cannabinoids as keys to those locks. When the right cannabinoids bind to the right receptors, there is a chemical reaction which unlocks the locks. THC binds to the receptors in our brain and central nervous system, creating a chemical reaction which many people experience as a psychoactive high. There are also many other reactions which scientists are only just beginning to understand.

When you first experiment with THC, it’s important to take it slowly. While different strains of cannabis have different strengths, everybody reacts differently to THC. Some people may find that using THC can have a relaxing and calming effect; other people experience higher levels of anxiety and paranoia. One interesting fact here is that CBD, another cannabinoid found in cannabis, can help lessen the effects of THC. Different cannabis strains will give you different reactions, and it’s important to take things slowly until you understand how your body reacts.

Effects of THC

Some of the short-term effects of THC usage may include:

• Elation
• Relaxation
• Sedation
• Pain relief
• Memory impairment
• Energy
• Hunger
• Drowsiness
• Increased heart rate
• Dry mouth
• Red eyes
• Slowed perception of time
• Laughter
• Dizziness
• “Couch-lock,” or feeling heavy
• Anxiety/paranoia

THC has many medicinal benefits that are only now starting to be understood. There are hundreds of studies being undertaken into cannabis and its health benefits. The rise in popularity of cannabis and the legalization and legalization for medicinal use has been fueling innovation across the medical and pharmaceutical industries.

Health benefits of THC

There are several different conditions which THC may offer some health benefits too. Some of these are:

• PTSD
• Neuropathic and chronic pain
• Insomnia
• Nausea
• Inflammation
• Arthritis
• Migraines
• Cancer
• Crohn’s disease
• Fibromyalgia
• Alzheimer’s disease
• Multiple sclerosis
• Glaucoma
• ADHD
• Sleep apnea
• Appetite loss

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What is cannabidiol?

What is cannabidiol?

This is a basic guide to understanding what cannabidiol is

CBD is short for cannabidiol. CBD is one of the main cannabinoids which are found in the cannabis plant. Medical marijuana and cannabis research is going through a period of rapid growth around the world. Many governments and pharmaceutical companies are looking into the health benefits associated with cannabis and how CBD could help with many different health conditions.

CBD doesn’t get you high like THC. CBD is a non-psychoactive compound and won’t leave you feeling ‘high’ or ‘stoned’ like cannabis products which contain THC. If anything, CBD can reduce the effects of THC. Many patients are experimenting with the use of CBD on anxiety, pain relief, inflammation, psychosis, spasms, and seizures. There are hundreds of clinical trials underway around the world into how CBD can help treat chronic conditions and help people move away from pharmaceutical products.

In our body, we have an endocannabinoid system. This is something which we all have and not just people that use cannabis-related products! The endocannabinoid system is spread throughout the body and is full of small receptors. When you take CBD products, the CBD reacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the body. When cannabidiol binds to the receptors in the endocannabinoid systems, it produces several different chemical reactions. It’s these chemical reactions which have scientists scrambling to understand how CBD works with our bodies and the benefits CBD could have.

Below are just some of the many studies being undertaken into the benefits of CBD.

CBD is being used to treat the seizures associated with epilepsy

One of the biggest studies published into CBD was a 2012 study published by the British Epilepsy Association titles ‘Cannabidiol exerts anticonvulsant effects in animal models of the temporal lobe and partial seizures.’ Basically, they found that CBD could help lower the amount of seizures people experience and the severity of those seizures.

CBD could help with neurological disease such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, and Alzheimer’s

A study in 2006 found that CBD could help to protect nerve cells from degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. CBD works by protecting the protein pathway, and this line of research is one of CBDs most promising aspects.

CBD for pain relief

Around the world scientists is looking into the effects of CBD and how it can work with painkillers like Morphine and other opioids. One of the biggest problems with conventional opioid pain relief is the addictive nature of the medicine. A study in 2015 found that not only did CBD help to enhance the effects of opioid pain relief; it also lessened the side-effects such as addiction.

We will keep you updated

There are many more uses for CBD being explored every day. If you’re interested in CBD, there are several different ways that you can try it for yourself. CBD oils, CBD ointments and creams, CBD e-liquid for vaporizers, CBD supplements and CBD edibles. It’s important to always check on the legal status of CBD in your country before purchasing large amounts of CBD.

CBD is fueling innovation across the scientific community, and here at Formula Swiss we will be staying abreast of all CBD studies.

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What is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)?

What is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)?

The endocannabinoid system - or ECS in short - is responsible for regulating balance in our body’s immune response, communication between cells appetite, metabolism, memory, sleep, appetite, digestion, hunger, mood, motor control, immune function, reproduction and fertility, pleasure and reward, pain and temperature regulation.

In spite of the integral role this system takes on, until the mid 1990s it remained an unknown part of the human body’s functions.

The system is named after the plant that inspired its discovery, the endocannabinoid system is important to your overall health and equilibrium, but its importance is only recently becoming fully understood by the medical community. It is through this system that the naturally occurring cannabinoids from CBD oil interact with our bodies and trigger its many beneficial effects. With the potential to greatly affect the way our bodies work, a healthy endocannabinoid system is essential and it’s key that we recognize how to maintain it.

The endocannabinoid system is made up of several integrated mechanisms:

  • Enzymes responsible for creating and destroying cannabinoids
  • Receptor sites on cells to receive cannabinoids
  • Endocannabinoids themselves (cannabinoid-like compounds that are naturally produced in the human body)
  • These mechanisms are predominantly responsible for communication within the body to best regulate various biological responses.

One of the prime questions raised in these early studies was whether or not the body produces its own natural equivalents to the previously discovered compounds called phytocannabinoids, like THC and CBD, found in the cannabis plant. The answer turned out to be positive – in the form of the endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-AG, which are like the two prominent analogs to THC and CBD. With the understanding that we humans create our own cannabinoids, the door to deconstructing their purpose was opened.

Endocannabinoids as a response

Endocannabinoids are created in response to needs within the larger physiological system and are largely understood to be used for the body’s regulatory functions. Acting backwards on presynaptic cells, they control the volume at which communicating signals are sent. It is in this way that endocannabinoids affect duration and intensity of the wide range of physiological processes under their control.

However, it has been repeatedly noted that, while the endocannabinoid system is linked to a number of important processes and is concentrated in the brain, nervous system, and reproductive organs, it does not affect regions of the brain controlling heart and lung function. This characteristic is one of the main reasons that fatal overdoses of cannabinoids do not occur.

How does the endocannabinoid system work?

Whenever there are deviations from homeostasis in the body’s functions, the endocannabinoid system is activated and begins to respond accordingly by synthesizing endocannabinoids, which act as neurotransmitters.

When the body creates neurotransmitters for the endocannabinoid system, they are picked up by specialized cannabinoid receptors, which sit on the surface of cells. These receptors are found in a wide range of physiological regions, such as in:

  • The immune system
  • Organs and glands
  • Connective tissue
  • The brain (most significantly)

Like a key fits into a lock, endocannabinoids interact with these receptors and transmit information about changing conditions to kick-start a response, with the goal of helping the body achieve homeostasis, or equilibrium, within the body despite outside influences.

The endocannabinoid system’s receptor sites include CB1 and CB2 receptor variants, which respond differently to various cannabinoids. CB1 receptors are most prevalent in the central nervous system and are linked to the following benefits:

  • Modulation of stress and anxiety
  • Increased appetite
  • Decreased nausea
  • Balance of immune system
  • Inhibition of tumors

CB2 receptors are found mostly on cells in the immune system and seem to dominate in fighting inflammation and damage to tissue. Some cells can even contain both types of receptors, each responsible for a different function.

There are two major endocannabinoids – 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and Anandamide (AEA).

2-AG is considered a full agonist of both CB1 and CB2 receptors. This means that it binds with, and fits well inside, both receptors to activate them to stimulate a physiological response.

Anandamide is considered a partial agonist of both receptors, because, while it binds with and activates the receptors, it doesn’t fit as well inside them and subsequently doesn’t trigger such a powerful physiological response (Parcher, Batkai & Kunos, 2006).

Once the function that had deviated from homeostasis returns to equilibrium and the endocannabinoids are no longer needed, the third piece of the system – the metabolic enzymes – breaks down and degrades them.

Fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) degrades Anandamide, and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) breaks down 2-AG. By eliminating the endocannabinoids, the endocannabinoid system “turns off” the molecular signals and ends whatever physiological activity it had stimulated.

How does the endocannabinoid system affect your health?

Since discovering the endocannabinoid system and its parts, researchers have worked to further understand how the endocannabinoid system may be used therapeutically to:

  • Decrease pain 
  • Fight cancer 
  • Prevent neurodegenerative diseases 
  • Promote general health

Overall, research indicates that the endocannabinoid system helps ensure that the body’s immune and central nervous systems are running correctly. Finding ways to modulate the endocannabinoid system’s activity opens pathways to an amazingly disparate set of chronic diseases and disorders (Pacher and Kunos, 2013).

For example, evidence indicates that stimulation of cannabinoid receptors may aid in the deletion of old traumatic memories and provide clinical benefits in age-related diseases associated with brain inflammation (Ruehle et al, 2012) (Marchalant, et al., 2008). This list also includes difficult conditions like Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and cancer.

Memory

There is also evidence that the endocannabinoid system may aid in the deletion of old memories (Ruehle et al, 2012). The extinction of aversive memories is important to the progress of PTSD patients and in behavior conditioning for those with chronic anxiety. By allowing patients to forget painful memories, they can reset their stress and anxiety responses to certain experiences and substitute a more positive reaction.

Appetite & weight

Cannabis has a well-known ability to increase appetite. However, because endocannabinoids are used internally for appetite control, inverse agonists to the CB1 receptor can be used to combat obesity by shutting off the body’s desire for food (Pagotto et al, 2005). The opposite can be accomplished by stimulating appetite in those suffering from wasting syndrome and allowing them to gain weight (Kogan and Mechoulam, 2007).

Finally, endocannabinoids also regulate metabolism and help control the transfer of energy through cells, ensuring optimal use of the food we do take in.

Anxiety

In today’s world, it is a common reality that the natural cycle of anxiety and physical response cannot be shut off due to constant exposure to stressors. Because cannabinoids affect the body’s glandular response to continued stress to regulate and temper response, the endocannabinoid system has implications for the way in which modern humans process long term stress and other enduring anxiety triggers (Akirav).

Immune function & inflammation

Additionally, endocannabinoids promote proper immune function to allow for a greater overall wellness. The role they play in immune homeostasis prevents “spontaneous activation of immune cell function”, helping to prevent inflammation and possibly even resulting neurological diseases (Pandey et al, 2009).

How do cannabinoids from CBD oil work with the endocannabinoid system?

As scientists learn more about the endocannabinoid system, they also explore the potential role the cannabis-derived cannabinoids like THC, cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN), and more could play in supporting the system.

Cannabinoids mimic the behavior of endocannabinoids and interact with the cannabinoid receptors to augment the endocannabinoid system. As the cannabinoids interact with the cannabinoid receptors, they stimulate various physiological responses.

THC, the well-recognized psychoactive compound found in medical marijuana, activates receptors to elicit a chemical response. It is considered an agonist of both CB1 and CB2 receptors because it directly binds to the receptors and activates them. THC tends to favor CB1 receptors because it fits very well inside them and therefore is able to stimulate a strong physiological reaction.

When THC reacts with CB1 receptors, this is what causes the well-known “high” feeling from marijuana. THC also directly activates CB2 receptors, but is considered a partial agonist and therefore doesn’t elicit such a strong physiological response.

CBD causes chemical changes by blocking receptors. It tends to have low affinity for both CB1 and CB2 receptors, and instead acts as an indirect antagonist of agonists. This means that CBD sits imperfectly inside the receptors, not activating them but preventing other chemical messengers like THC from binding to them.

As we continue to learn more about the endocannabinoid system, we will also learn about the potential for the scope of active compounds from cannabis (like THC, CBD, and CBN) to be used therapeutically.

Why should I add cannabinoids from CBD oil to my body?

One theory about how the endocannabinoid system relates to our overall health is the proposed endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome, or CECD, which speculates that. for some people, the body does not generate enough endocannabinoids (Smith and Wagner, 2014). This concept, originally proposed by researcher E.B. Russo in 2004, further speculates that the deficiency could be the root cause of many autoimmune disorders, including migraines, fibromyalgia, and IBS (Russo, 2004).

By modulating the endocannabinoid system (Kaur, Ambwani & Singh, 2016), several diseases and conditions could possibly be treated, including:

  • Pain
  • Inflammation
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Anorexia
  • Epilepsy
  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • Obesity
  • Schizophrenia
  • Cardiovascular disorders
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Tourette’s syndrome

One of the main obstacles to the acceptance and use of cannabis and its active cannabinoids in medicine is the problem of abuse for its psychoactivity. However, this issue does not arise in a number of possible approaches to the regulation of the endocannabinoid system:

  • When an antagonist to the CB1 receptor is applied
  • When the production or transportation of endocannabinoids is altered
  • When a non-psychoactive agonist to the CB2 receptor, like CBD, is used for therapeutic results (Pacher and Kunos, 2013).

Phytocannabinoids, like the THC from cannabis or the concentrated CBD in hemp, obviously affect the endocannabinoid system. However, it has also been shown that non-psychoactive phytocannabinoids from other plants, and even other compounds like terpenes and flavonoids, are picked up by receptors in our endocannabinoid systems.

Because small doses of phytocannabinoids can encourage the body to create more naturally occurring endocannabinoids and their receptors, it may be possible to bolster the sensitivity of our native systems with regular cannabinoid supplements.

Overall, significant research must still be done to better understand the impact of the endocannabinoid system on our overall health and how supplementing our natural endocannabinoid production with plant-based cannabinoids may play a significant therapeutic role in our health. However, extensive early studies show great potential for using this vital system to the benefit of patient health.

We found this video, which visualize the endocannabinoid system and might be helpful for your understanding of the importance of the sinaling system.

Sources used for the articles:

Akirav, I. (n.d.) Role of the endocannabinoid system in anxiety and stress-related disorders. Intech Open. Retrieved from http://cdn.intechopen.com/pdfs/17314/InTech-Role_of_the_endocannabinoid_system_in_anxiety_and_stress_related_disorders.pdf

Alger, B. E. (2013). Getting High on the Endocannabinoid System. Cerebrum: The Dana Forum on Brain Science, 2013, 14. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3997295

Gaoni, Y., and Mechoulam, R. (1964). Isolation, Structure, and Partial Synthesis of an Active Constituent of Hashish. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 86(8), 1646-47. Retrieved from http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ja01062a046.

Gertsch, J., Pertwee, R. G., & Di Marzo, V. (2010). Phytocannabinoids beyond the Cannabis plant – do they exist? British Journal of Pharmacology, 160(3), 523–529. Retrieved from http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.00745.x

Kaur, R., Ambwani, S.R., Singh, S. (2016). Endocannabinoid system: A multi-facet therapeutic target. Current Clinical Pharmacology, 11(2), 110-7. Retrieved from http://www.eurekaselect.com/141330/article.

Kogan, N. M., & Mechoulam, R. (2007). Cannabinoids in health and disease. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 9(4), 413–430. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3202504.

Lee, M. (2012). The Discovery of the endocannabinoid system. Retrieved from http://www.beyondthc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/eCBSystemLee.pdf

Mandal, A. (2014, June 14). Phytocannabinoids. News Medical. Retrieved from http://www.news-medical.net/health/Phytocannabinoids.aspx.

Marchalant, Y., Cerbai, F., Brothers, H.M., & Wenk, G.L. (2008). Cannabinoid receptor stimulation is anti-inflammatory and improves memory in old rats. Neurobiology of Aging, 29(12), 1894–1901. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2586121.

Mechoulam, R., and Hanus, L (2000, November). A historical overview of chemical research on cannabinoids. Chemistry and Physics of Lipids, 108(1-2), 1-13. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0009308400001845.

National Cancer Institute. (2016). Cannabis and cannabinoids. Retrieved from http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/hp/cannabis-pdq#section/_11

Pacher, P., Batkai, S., & Kunos, G. (2006). The Endocannabinoid System as an Emerging Target of Pharmacotherapy. Pharmacological Reviews, 58(3), 389–462. http://doi.org/10.1124/pr.58.3.2. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2241751.

Pacher, P., & Kunos, G. (2013). Modulating the endocannabinoid system in human health and disease: successes and failures. The FEBS Journal, 280(9), 1918–1943. Retrieved from http://doi.org/10.1111/febs.12260.

Pagotto, U., Vicennati, V., & Pasquali, R. (2005). The endocannabinoid system and the treatment of obesity. Annals of Medicine. 37(4):270-5. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16019725.

Pandey, R., Mousawy, K., Nagarkatti, M., & Nagarkatti, P. (2009). Endocannabinoids and immune regulation. Pharmacological Research : The Official Journal of the Italian Pharmacological Society, 60(2), 85–92. Retrieved from http://doi.org/10.1016/j.phrs.2009.03.019.

Pertwee, R.G. (2006). Cannabinoid pharmacology: the first 66 years. British Journal of Pharmacology, 147(Suppl 1), S163-S171. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1760722.

Ruehle, S., Rey, A. A., Remmers, F., & Lutz, B. (2012). The endocannabinoid system in anxiety, fear memory and habituation. Journal of Psychopharmacology (Oxford, England), 26(1), 23–39. Retrieved from http://doi.org/10.1177/0269881111408958.

Smith, S. & Wagner, M. (2014) Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD) revisited: can this concept explain the therapeutic benefits of cannabis in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and other treatment-resistant conditions. Neuro Endocrinol Letters. 35(3):198-201. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24977967.

Wood, T.B., Spivey, W.T.N., and Easterfield, T.H. (1896). XL. – Charas. The resin of Indian hemp. Journal of the Chemical Society, Transactions, 69, 539-546. Retrieved from http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/1896/ct/ct8966900539#!divAbstract.

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What are cannabinoids?

What are cannabinoids?

Interested in learning more about cannabis and cannabinoids? 

Cannabinoids are a collection of active compounds which are found in the cannabis plant. You may be surprised to learn that there are several different compounds in marijuana that all play different roles. Terpenes provide flavor and aroma, chlorophyll which is found in the leaves makes the plant green. The most important compound of all, however, is the many different cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are what gives the cannabis plant it's medicinal and recreational properties that has so many people excited! You may already know about the main cannabinoids, CBD and THC, but there are many other cannabinoids that are equally important.

What are cannabinoids?

There could be as many as 113 different cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. The most researched of these cannabinoids is by far CBD and THC. The cannabinoids in the marijuana plant are stored in the trichomes, or crystals of the cannabis plant. It’s the trichomes in the cannabis buds which give it that shiny or sparkly look. Most growers focus on producing strains of cannabis with high levels of the THC cannabinoid. It’s THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol that is responsible for the euphoric ‘high’ feeling you get when you consume marijuana. The other main cannabinoid is CBD, or cannabidiol works against THC to counteract that high. CBD doesn’t have any psychoactive properties and is 100% legal in many countries around the world. Some of the other exciting cannabinoids are cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), and cannabichromene (CBC).

The endocannabinoid system and how It works

Endocannabinoids are cannabinoids which are naturally produced by our bodies. The word ‘endo’ stands for endogenous, that means originating within the body. These cannabinoids are different than the cannabinoids found in cannabis, but they share similar effects and properties. They interact with the same pathways in our bodies, brains, and the central nervous system. These pathways are known as receptors. The most studied and understood endocannabinoids are the anandamide and 2-AG. Some of the other endocannabinoids are noladin ether, virodhamine, and N-arachidonyl dopamine (NADA). The consensus among most scientists is that these endocannabinoids are responsible for maintaining balance within the body.

The endocannabinoid system is made up of cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors. The cannabinoids are like keys. They bind to the cannabinoid receptor, unlocking it, and this causes changes to how the cells function. These changes lead to a variety of different effects throughout our bodies. When you consume cannabis, THC and CBD enter the endocannabinoid system and bind to the cannabinoid receptors. The two types of cannabinoid receptors are CB1 and CB2. Most of the CB1 receptors are found in the brain. It’s the CB1 receptors which THC binds too. CB2 receptors are more spread out through the body, and it’s these receptors which CBD binds too.

What are the major cannabinoids?

There are two main varieties of cannabinoids. There are endogenous cannabinoids which are produced naturally by our bodies, and the exogenous cannabinoids which are known as phytocannabinoids because they originate from plants. The cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant are known as phytocannabinoids.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) 

This is the most common cannabinoid associated with marijuana. It can be found in concentrations of up to 30-40% in the cannabis plant.

Cannabidiol (CBD) 

The next major cannabinoid found in the marijuana plant is CBD. It has no psychoactive properties and actually works to lower the effects of THC.

Cannabinol (CBN) 

CBN isn’t produced by the cannabis plant. CBN is a result of THC which hasn’t been stored correctly. When THC is exposed to excessive light or heat, the chemical structure changes and it becomes CBN.

Cannabichromene (CBC) 

In some strains, CBC can be the second most prevalent cannabinoid behind THC. CBC is like CBD as it doesn’t bind well to the CB1 receptors in the brain which means that it has no psychoactive properties.

Cannabigerol (CBG) 

CBG acts as a foundation for all the cannabinoids found in marijuana. Through the enzymatic process, CBG acts as a foundation for the other cannabinoids to build off.

2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) 

2-AG is an endocannabinoid that activates the CB1 receptors which are located in the brain. 2-AG is produced by our bodies as required and then metabolized after use.

Anandamide 

Anandamide is another endocannabinoid that is found mostly in our bodies. Many scientists believe that anandamide is responsible for that ‘high’ many people experience after they workout. It plays a major role in our moods and how we feel.

Cannabinoids in conclusion

Cannabinoids are a very diverse group of different molecules which all share common character traits with each other. Marijuana produces over 113 different cannabinoids, the benefits or side effects of which have yet to be discovered. Endocannabinoids are produced naturally by our bodies. All these different compounds interact with the endocannabinoid system, binding with our CB1 and CB2 receptors. It’s these interactions with our endocannabinoid system which produce different reactions. All of which can have positive effects on our health and wellbeing.

There is a growing rise in the legalization of cannabis around the world, both for recreational and medicinal use. It’s this change in attitude which is fueling the innovation across the medical and pharmaceutical industries and allowing scientists to discover more and more about cannabinoids and how they react with the endocannabinoid system.

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