The cannabinoids are chemical compounds present in the species Cannabis sativa (and other plants). Cannabinoids are naturally present within these plants and are part of their biological structure. It must be remembered that cannabinoids found inside plants are technically called “phytocannabinoids”, but fall into the collective category of cannabinoids.
You could compare cannabinoids to ingredients in a recipe — without them you wouldn’t have the final product, in our case the hemp plant. Although cannabinoids are essential, they are only a part of the recipe. We also need flavonoids and terpenes — but we’ll explain their function in another article.
The different cannabinoids of cannabis
Each cannabinoid has a slightly different purpose, but overall it is believed that there are over one hundred within a single hemp plant. Part of the difficulty in understanding how each cannabinoid works comes from the fact that they are not all present simultaneously or in similar concentrations. Many are present only while hemp grows, while others need exposure to the atmosphere or sunlight before they can develop.
Generally, mature plants (the ones we use to extract CBD) have similar reports of cannabinoids, including CBD, CBN, CBC and many others. These letters are acronyms for their scientific names and help to distinguish between their chemical structure.
In hemp, CBD is the main cannabinoid, while the others are present only in small traces. By using sophisticated machinery, it is possible to isolate specific cannabinoids and turn them into a usable product — oil, capsules, CBD lotions, etc.
It is fine to have dozens of cannabinoids on hand, but without a useful function, they are quite useless to us – this is where the SEC intervenes. Thanks to millions of years of evolution, each of us (including the dog and the domestic cat) has an endocannabinoid system (SEC). This regulatory system is able to interact with cannabinoids, triggering a wide range of changes within the body.
Cannabinoid receptors and the endocannabinoid system
The endocannabinoid system is a vast network that extends from the central nervous system to the main organs and to almost everything in the middle. Cannabinoid receptors are located at various points in the SEC. These receptors act as activation points, reacting only when they are stimulated or inhibited by cannabinoids.
When a cannabinoid is consumed (usually orally), it passes through our digestive system where it is broken down by our liver, before being distributed throughout the body through the bloodstream. When traveling around the body, it targets a receptor to interact with. However, it does not do it with everyone. Cannabinoid receptors work using a padlock-and-key principle — that’s why some cannabinoids have effects that others don’t.
For example, CBD will only interact with receptors that correspond to its chemical structure. The same rules apply to all other cannabinoids, since each can only interact with specific receptors in specific positions throughout the body. The position of that receptor determines which biological outcome is activated.
There are dozens of cannabinoids and they all do something different
We discussed many things, so it’s worth summarizing. CBD is one of dozens of cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa species . Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that have the unique ability to trigger changes within our body thanks to the endocannabinoid system. The SEC has evolved over millions of years and is present throughout our body.
Its main role is to maintain the balance between all our biological systems. This is important for our body to function best when it is in a state of homeostasis (dynamic balance). Finally, by consuming cannabinoids we can encourage a series of light biological changes thanks to cannabinoid receptors linked to the SEC.
Although the CBD is the cannabinoid we are most interested in, there are dozens more — all with unique characteristics. We will not go into details in this article, but stay tuned for in-depth research on each individual cannabinoid. If you have any questions about cannabinoids, you can trust Cibdol for the answer.