Cannabinoids, as we’ve talked about in previous blogs, are chemical compounds unique to cannabis that bind with cell receptors in the brain and body and either get one ‘high’ or have some healing benefit. The two most popular cannabinoids of the over 80 so far discovered in marijuana, and the ones which have been researched the most are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).
THC, the psychoactive element in the herb, is a very effective pain reliever, appetite stimulant, reduces nausea and vomiting, calms asthma attacks, relieves intraocular pressure (Glaucoma), and is a sleep inducer.
CBD is non-psychoactive (doesn’t get you high) and has been shown to be an antioxidant, antiemetic (diminishes nausea and vomiting), antipsychotic, anti-tumor (fights cancer), and the most remarkable and most talked about remedial property of CBD is its very successful use in lessening the number of epileptic seizures people have.
These two stars of the cannabinoid universe have been rightly singled out as miracle workers because of all the things that they can do for human health. However, researchers are now shining the light of science on several other here-to-for unmentioned and unknown cannabinoids for their potential medicinal attributes.
CBN (Cannabinol) is a cannabinoid that is formed when the oxidation of THC occurs. It can happen because of poor storage or through extensive handling, any process that exposes THC to UV light (ultraviolet) and oxygen in the air. CBN will also be formed at a faster rate if it is subjected to higher than normal heat temperatures. Since CBN is created from THC it has some of the basic characteristics of that most famous cannabinoid. CBN is psychoactive but with a very low potency, about 10% the strength of its cousin THC. Still, it can lower the heart rate, cause dizziness fatigue and disorientation. CBN can also attenuate (lessen) the potency of THC along with the anxiety that THC may bring with it.
The many therapeutic benefits of CBN have surprised most researchers who have been ignoring these “minor league” cannabinoids for all these years. Some of the beneficial effects of CBN are:
• Pain reliever – more effective than THC and several times stronger than aspirin.
• Antispasmodic – reduces convulsions and seizures.
• Stimulates bone growth
• Lessens symptoms of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
• Immunosuppressant – helpful in organ transplants and for treating HIV.
The other cannabinoid that has sat quietly in the shadows until now is THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin). This cannabinoid, as its name suggests, is closely related to its big brother THC, but the effects it produces are a bit different. THCV is psychoactive and it enhances the euphoric effects of THC but for a much shorter duration. It is also gives one a burst of energy and a clear-headed buzz.
Some of THCV’s medical uses are:
• It is an appetite suppressant – no munchies here – but it is good for weight loss.
• THCV is being tested on diabetes and is showing very positive signs of being able
to reduce insulin levels and regulate blood sugar in patients.
• It also appears to be able to suppress emotions and is being tested on PTSD
patients who have anxiety attacks.
• THCV stimulates bone growth.
• THCV is being tested on Alzheimer’s sufferers and it is improving brain lesions,
motor control and tremors in patients.
While these are all positive and very promising test results, there is still much work to be done in the study of cannabinoids and marijuana in general. Scientists are also coming to the conclusion that even though individual cannabinoids demonstrate marvelous medical capabilities, they are almost always more effective when they work in conjunction with other cannabinoids in the marijuana plant. That is called the entourage effect. More on that later.