Cannabinoids are a heterogeneous group of compounds characterized by their ability to bind to specific cannabinoid receptors located on the surface of cells. Cannabinoids belong to the group of lipids (fat-soluble molecules).
They are divided into three groups:
- synthetic cannabinoids.
Phytocannabinoids are produced in certain plants, with the highest concentration found in the cannabis plant. They are produced in resin glands called trichomes that are distributed throughout the surface of the cannabis plant. Trichomes secrete resin, which contains various important compounds, including cannabinoids and terpenes. The resin primarily serves to protect the plant from external influences such as insects and drought during its growth. Over 140 species of cannabinoids have been discovered, with the most well-known ones:
- THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), which is an activator of CB1 receptors and is psychoactive,
- CBD (cannabidiol), which is not psychoactive but has calming effects.
Some other cannabinoids: CBG (cannabigerol), CBDA (cannabidiol acid), THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid), CBN (cannabinol)….
Phytocannabinoids are so identical to endocannabinoids in their chemical composition that they can activate the same receptors in our body. In this way, they are naturally welcome in our endocannabinoid system.
Endocannabinoids are molecules that act as a kind of key for the two most important endocannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, and are produced in the tissues of vertebrates, with humans producing them in our nerve cells. CB1 receptors are mostly found in the central nervous system but are also found in some peripheral organs and tissues, such as the spleen, white blood cells, endocrine glands, and parts of the digestive tract. CB2 receptors are mainly found in immune cells and do not create a psychoactive reaction, which is why they are potentially a very good starting point for treating inflammation and neuropathic pain.
Synthetic cannabinoids are produced in the laboratory through chemical reactions, but according to current research, they are less effective than natural cannabinoids.
The effects of cannabinoids occur when the cannabinoid receptors are activated, and the body’s homeostatic response is triggered by the interaction of cannabinoids with cannabinoid receptors. Since our body uses endocannabinoid molecules to regulate functions, phytocannabinoids of cannabis, due to their identical composition, can activate many cannabinoid receptors in our body. This triggers the process of communication in the body and has an effect on the regulation…