Cannabinoids are naturally occurring chemical compounds. They are bioactive metabolites. Originally isolated from the cannabis plant in the 1940's, scientists have no uncovered them in many other medicinally beneficial plants including Theobroma cacao (chocolate), echinacea (coneflower), and radula marginata (liverwort).
Cannabis contains more than 113 cannabinoids, producing diverse effects on the human body. In marijuana, cannabinoids are a vicious resin originating from the glands, known as trichomes, of the plant. Along with other chemical compounds, including terpenes and flavonoids, the trichomes protect the flower from disease pests, and environmental threats. The phtocannabinoids produced by cannabis, and other plants, interact seamlessly with the human endocannabinoid system. They replicate and improve the characteristics of endocannabinoids. Each cannabinoid has a unique effect on the human body, and have powerful medicinal qualities.
* Endocannabinoids: chemical communicators produced by the human body
* Phytocannabinoids : Chemical compounds produced by plants, including cannabis.
Cannabinoids and The Human Body
* Cannabinoids either activate or inhibit endocannabinoid receptor activity.
* Cannabinoids can also increase or decrease the effects of human's endocannabinoids
* Effects can be entirely dose- dependent, with low does attributed to one result and high does triggering an opposite effect.
* Most cannabinoids indirectly interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors and do not form a direct link.
* THC, the only known psychoactive cannabinoid, forms a direct link with the CB1 receptor in the brain. The THC molecule fits like a key into a lock, with the CB1 receptor. This relationship is responsible for the 'high.'
* Once absorbed by the bloodstream, cannabinoids metabolize into other compounds (ex: THC-COOH is a THC metabolite). These compounds are then stored in fat cells.
* Only THC is psychoactive
* Drug testing only test for THC and the related metabolites. There are no drug tests for other cannabinoids.
Coming next: Introduction to the Endocannabinoid System
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