In my last post, I wrote extensively about different types of CBD oils, focusing mostly on full spectrum oils and isolate oils. As I mention in that post, Calm Vape decided to go with full spectrum CBD oils because of the synergistic health effects that you get when a bunch of different cannabinoids are working together. CBD on its own is still very effective, but a lot of studies have found that its beneficial effect can be enhanced with other compounds found in cannabis plants, such as other cannabinoids and terpenes.
To explain the full benefit you’re getting with Calm Vape’s CBD oil pods, it’s important to learn a bit more about all the cannabinoids and their interactions with our endocannabinoid system. To do that, we first have to dive into the endocannabinoid system itself, and learn the difference between phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids. Keep in mind that there’s a whole lot we don’t know about both of these, so this list of cannabinoids and their effects will be expanded in the future as we get more verified scientific data.
The Human Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system that seems to regulate a lot of our bodily functions and is essential when it comes to our bodies working properly, has been a complete medical mystery for centuries. Actually, it was discovered, by accident, in the 1990ies by Dr. L.A. Matsuda. The goal of Dr. Matsuda research was to find key receptors in our brains and bodies that allowed certain cannabinoids to have such a profound influence on us (the real question, we might argue, was, ‘why are people even affected by certain compounds in the cannabis plant?’). That research lead to the discovery of the first type of cannabinoid receptors in our body, CB1. CB1 receptors are largely clustered in our brain and peripheral nervous system, which is logical since they binded with THC to produce psychoactive effects.
Subsequent research discovered the existence of a second cannabinoid receptor (CB2). However, it also discovered that our bodies are full of compounds that bind with those receptors. We know know for certain that there are two types of these – AEA and 2AG – and they are more commonly known as endocannabinoids. The word endo means that they are native to our bodies and produced by them, as opposed to being introduced from something external, such as the cannabis plant.
Effectively, the search for the answer to the question of why we get high when smoking pot provided the basis for a much larger scientific discovery. That discovery was our innate endocannabinoid system, a system that plays a very important role in regulating our bone density and the immune system, preventing diabetes, and managing the symptoms of a number of other diseases. With the exception of insects, every animal on the planet has a developed endocannabinoid system, and scientists speculate that it first emerged over 600 million years ago.
Phytocannabinoids – A Growing List of Plant-Based Cannabinoids
In recent years, three more endocannabinoids have been discovered – 2AGE, NADA, and and OAE. There are also indications that there may as much as additional three cannabinoid receptors as well (G protein-coupled receptor 55 is the strong contender for the third one). However, there are indication that there might be even more. While the hunt for those continues, cannabis researchers were able to identify around 113 phytocannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids fall into the same group as endocannabinoids – they bind with our bodies’ cannabinoid receptors (CB1, CB2, or both) to trigger various effects that are mostly beneficial to our health. The only difference is that they are not naturally-occuring on our bodies.
List of 9 Major Phytocannabinoids & Their Effects
Although the scientists have have identified 113 phytocannabinoids, we don’t know much about a lot of them. That’s why this list of cannabinoids will focus on the ones that have received a bit of attention – a group that we call major phytocannabinoids. Notice that I’ve included cannabinoid acids here as well. In the raw form, only those acids exists – they lose their carboxyl group (the molecules that make them acids) when heated. These acids, such as THCA and CBDA, are similar to their non-acidic counterparts, but have unique health benefits all of their own.
Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA)
THCA is a predominant compound in some cannabis strains. Before it’s heated and turns into THC, it’s completely non-psychoactive, which means that it doesn’t alter consciousness or make you high. Research into THCA is still in its infancy stage, however. What we know so far is that it has anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties, making it a possible candidate for treating conditions ranging from autoimmune diseases to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. It can also help to calm the stomach, so it’s good for treating nausea and appetite loss.
One study shows that THCA can be extremely helpful when it comes to treating various seizures and epilepsy. This study found that just two milligrams of THCA administered daily can reduce the frequency of seizures by up to 90%. Another study, conducted on mice, concluded that the same cannabinoid acid can reduce proliferation (growth) of prostate cancer cells.
THC is probably the best-known cannabinoid in the world. It’s responsible for the majority of cannabis’ psychoactive effects. But, it has numerous health benefits as well. Due to its unique structure, it’s a partial agonist for both CB1 and CB2 receptors – this means that it binds with both, but has a limited effect when compared to full agonists. Even with that limited effect, THC has been identified as a mild painkiller that helps with pain management for numerous degenerative and chronic conditions. It also has antioxidative properties. Studies into THC are limited because of permits required to conduct research. Of the studies that have been done, most conclude that it’s beneficial when treating some symptoms of multiple sclerosis, such a central pain and spasticity. Calm Vape CBD oils do not contain any THC at this point because even a small amount can be detected in a standard drug test. We’re hoping we will be able to introduce it once its legal status changes (learn more about legality of CBD in the United States in this post).
Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA)
CBDA is a predominant compound in cannabis strains that eventually yield high CBD dosages. While still very under-researched, CBDA is thought to help with chronic inflammations (by reducing them similarly to non-steroidal drugs, NSAIDs). It’s also more effective in treating nausea than any other cannabinoid currently being tested for that. One research also found that CBDA might be very effective when it comes to halting progress of cancer – more accurately, breast cancer. Last, but not least, CBDA is being looked into for its ability to help with various mental disorders – psychosis, anxiety, and depression. One pharmaceutical company (GW Pharmaceuticals) even went as far as including CBDA in a patent on the use of this cannabinoid in combination with various anti-psychosis medication.
CBD is, perhaps, the most research compound in this list of cannabinoids. Interestingly, while it can bind (not perfectly) to both CB1 and CB2 receptors, much of the beneficial effects of cannabidiol come from its various interactions with other receptors in the body, and its indirect effect on the endocannabinoid system. For example, by activating the TRPV1 receptors, CBD can have beneficial effects on body temperature, pain perception and intensity, as well as anti-inflammatory properties. It also inhibits the Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase (FAAH). This inhibition can result in higher levels of anandamide, the first endocannabinoid ever discovered. As a result, people using CBD can experience more neural pleasure and motivation (both partially regulated by anandamide). In addition to all that, CBD has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-seizure properties, as well as acting on cancer cells to prevent their growth, migration, and reproduction. It’s also an anxiolytic and can reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. One study identified CBD is a strong contender for fighting diabetes – only 32% of mice that received CBD developed diabetes, compared to 100% in the control group.
CBN is a cannabinoid that results from the degradation of THC. Very little of it is available in a raw cannabis plant. As for its effects, CBN is a very powerful sedative that often leads to a state called ‘couch lock’ – a state of drowsiness that could very well be key in treating conditions such as insomnia and sleep disorders. A 2007 study found that CBN can help stimulate bone growth and regeneration, which means that it could potentially be used for treating fractures. Additionally, some studies found that it can inhibit human keratinocyte proliferation (slow down skin regeneration). Although further studies are needed, this signals a potential use for CBN in treatments for psoriasis and similar skin conditions.
A non-psychoactive cannabinoid, CBG’s has strong antibacterial properties that can alter already established effects of other cannabinoids. It slows or kills bacterial, slows the growth rate of tumor cells, and promotes the growth of healthy bone tissue. It also has very pronounced anti-inflammation properties, especially in its acidic form (CBGA). In 2018, studies were conducted on CBG which showed that it interacts with both CB1 and CB2 receptors, but additional studies are needed to ascertain its full impact on the endocannabinoid system.
CBC is non-intoxicating, so it doesn’t produce a euphoric high like THC. While it binds poorly to CB1, CBC does bind extremely well with other receptors in the body – some examples are vanilloid receptor 1 (TRPV1) and transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1). Both of these receptors are linked to pain perception and, when CBC activates them, natural endocannabinoid anandamide is released. Research has found that CBC is the second-best cannabinoid when it comes to inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.
Additionally, CBC has a very positive effect on NSPC cells (neural stem progenitor cells), which are essential for maintaining healthy brain function. These cells become more viable when CBC is introduced, and help maintain brain homeostasis. To top the list of CBC benefits, some studies have also concluded that it can have a very positive anti-inflammation effect, particularly when it comes to to skin. This means that it might have a bright future as a key ingredient in anti-acne medication.
Although extremely similar to THC in chemical structure, THCV has very different properties to it. The compound’s lack of two carbons (which is the only difference to THC) nonetheless makes it an appetite suppressant, which is the total opposite of THC. THCV can also help with diabetes by reducing insulin resistance and regulating blood sugar. It also reduces panic attacks by acting like a mild anxiolytic. People affected by osteoporosis can benefit from potential drugs that have THCV as an ingredient since it has been shown that it stimulates bone growth.
Recent and ongoing studies have shown that CBDV can be extremely beneficial when it comes to treating epilepsy and other neurological conditions. Various studies on mice confirm that it’s a very effective antiepileptic and anticonvulsant that works to to stop convulsions even if an epileptic episode does happen. In September of 2018, a drug for two distinct forms of childhood epilepsy has been given a DEA approval. The main active ingredient of the drug is cannabidivarin. Additionally, CBDV is an appetite suppressant that can potentially help with treating obesity as it doesn’t have any psychoactive properties or side effects that usually accompany drugs for appetite suppression.
Cannabinoids – The Drug of the Future?
While this is by no means an exhaustive list of cannabinoids and their effects, it is the best one that can currently be drawn up. Cannabinoid research is still very much in its infancy, and is also extremely hampered by the fact that cannabis is treated as a Class I substance in the US, which limits scientists from looking into it as freely as they otherwise would.
However, uncomplete as it is, this list if cannabinoids clearly demonstrates that they are extremely beneficial to our health, as well as the fact that we need to start seriously looking into making cannabinoid-based drugs mainstream.
If you have any questions or comments, make sure to comment. I will do my best to answer in a timely manner. Until then, keep researching, keep learning, and keep pushing the lawmakers to re-examine cannabis classification because cannabinoids save lives!