Cannabis plants are chemical powerhouses that produce more than 400 different compounds. Of these 400 compounds, more than 60 of them belong specifically to the plant genus Cannabis. These special compounds unique to Cannabis are called “cannabinoid acids”.
Out of those 60 plus cannabinoid acids, there are two that are especially critical: cannabidiol acid (CBDa) and tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THCa). These two cannabinoid acids must be “activated”, usually by heat, to yield the compounds that most consumers are after, THC and CBD.
While these two cannabinoids are the most dominant in cannabis plants, in addition to CBDa and THCa, there are a number of other lesser known cannabinoid acids that have beneficial qualities. There is reason to believe that these other cannabinoids work synergistically with CBD and THC to help potentiate their interaction with the body and enhance their effects. This is what is referred to as the entourage effect, and why we advocate the use of whole plant extracts over isolated compounds.
Click here, to read about how cannabinoids interact with the body, through the interface of our endocannabinoid system, and how we naturally produce two cannabinoids in the body. Anyone would think we were made for each other….
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the second most active ingredient in cannabis, but probably the most popular ingredient of cannabis to be used medicinally. It is used for many conditions, and patients report CBD to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, manage anxiety, and reduce seizures and muscles spasms, though the World Health Organization reported in 2017 that CBD may play a role in a plethora of other conditions.
CBD binds to the cannabinoid receptors in the body, NOT in the brain, so it does not cause mood elevation or “euphoria”, also known as the high commonly associated with the cannabis plant. It does not contain any psychoactive properties, and in fact, blocks the high associated with the psychoactive cannabinoid THC.
It can come in the form of paste, oil, or chemical isolate. CBD products on the market contain varying levels of CBD, and most often the price will reflect the quality and strength of the product.
CBD oil can be made from hemp (industrial strain of Cannabis sativa with low THC) or cannabis (medical or recreational strain of Cannabis sativa with higher THC). A lot of CBD oil tends to be produced from hemp for a number of reasons. Firstly, the cultivation of hemp is not illegal whereas cannabis or. ‘marijuana’ is, and secondly, because most consumers are looking for CBD oil that will not have a psychoactive effect, so the presence of the THC compound in the plant is not necessary.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the most active ingredient in cannabis, and is responsible for the plant’s psychoactive effects. It does this by attaching to, and activating, cannabinoid receptors in the brain that are associated with thinking, memory, pleasure, coordination, and time perception. Research has shown it can have a positive influence over pain relief, PTSD, poor appetite, and treatment of cancer.
THC can come as an extract in paste form as is often the case for medical use, or it can come in whole plant form for medical or recreational use.
THC Is extracted from medical cannabis. There are two strains of the Cannabis genus that are used for medical cannabis, Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa (and actually there are far more than two strains if you include the many hybrids of the two). It’s often said that sativa has a more mentally europhic affect known as a high, and indica has a more body relaxant affect known as stoned, however there is no scientific research to back this up. THC is not extracted from hemp cannabis as the levels present are far too low.