Cannabinoid Crash Course
A couple of weeks ago, I warned you all against the use of synthetic cannabis and told you about what’s going on chemically with that methajuana. Then I told you about the medical cannabis listening session that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health held.
But what exactly does weed have in it that treats our ailments and improves our disposition? The marijuana plant contains five major active ingredients that affect our bodies in a bunch of ways, especially when they’re working together, which is why synthetic THC doesn’t help as much as a jar of the plant does.
Source: Wikimedia Commons/CC
- THC– This is the most well known element, and probably rightly so because Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol is the psychoactive ingredient in the plant that is the main cause of the high associated with smoking cannabis . Average plants will yield 5-12%THC in a bud, with more being present in Sativa strains.
- Cannabidiol– Also known as CBD, this is the second most abundant element in weed. It’s not really psychoactive, but it works to enhance the effect of the THC as well as being the more therapeutic compound. CBD helps to reduce inflammation and combats the munchies that THC brings. If you’ve ever heard of “couch-lock,” this is what causes it. There’s more CBD in indica strains, and it is preferred by those who want to avoid the high, or need help falling asleep.
- Cannabinol– CBN for short, this is what people used to think CBD was. However, the plant does not make this; instead, it is a result of THC oxidizing. It has much less psychoactive potential than THC, but it works to potentiate it. It’s not necessarily a good thing, but it is in there.
- Tetrahydrocannabivarin– Or THCV, shows up more in strains that you would find in Asia. If you were to get Afghan Kush, almost half of the cannabinoids would be THCV. It’s not exactly desirable either, because it blocks the effects of THC. However, this is useful in suppressing appetite.
- Cannabichromene– Also known as CBC, this is a cannabinoid that has no psychoactive effects in humans, but is speculated to enhance THC’s effect.