The Top Seven Cannabinoids and Their Health Benefits

Cannabinoids, as we’ve discussed in some of our previous blogs, are chemical compounds that are found in the cannabis plant. They are not just ordinary chemical compounds, (there are over 400 chemical compounds in the marijuana plant) but ones that interact with receptors in the body to produce specific effects in your physical, mental and emotional being. How many cannabinoids are there in marijuana? Well, the numbers vary from 80 to over a hundred, depending on which article you read and who is doing the counting.

Since legal medical and scientific research is limited because marijuana is still listed on the dangerous drug schedule of the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) not all of the identified cannabinoids, whether the number is 80 or 110, have been thoroughly analyzed for the health benefits they may provide. Some cannabinoids, however, have been researched much more than others and have been found to contain very practical and remarkable healing properties. We have listed the top seven cannabinoids below, along with their medicinal characteristics in no particular order. We’ve left it for you to decide what order of importance they should be in.

THC Delta 9

 (Tetrahydrocannabinol)

This is the psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana and it is the element that gets people high. Amazingly, this fundamental component of cannabis is also a real medicinal miracle worker. Some of the benefits and maladies this cannabinoid has been useful for over the last few decades are:

• Pain reliever

• Crohn’s Disease

• PTSD

• Multiple Sclerosis

• Parkinson’s Disease

• Neuropathic pain

• Cancer

• Alzheimer’s Disease

• Appetite stimulator

• Anti-nausea

CBC

(Cannabichromene) 

This cannabinoid is definitely not psychoactive and won’t get anyone high. It is a common element in cannabis and besides showing signs that it can help brain cells grow it has also been shown to be:

• Anti-depressant

• Anti-tumor

• Anti-inflammatory

• Anti-fungal

CBG

(Cannabigerol) 

Even though this non-psychoactive element in marijuana is found in small quantities it is becoming more and more popular with research scientists for its potential medicinal abilities. It has many great qualities and some of them are:

• Anti-fungal

• Anti-microbial

• Pain reliever

• Anti-tumor

• Anti-psoriasis

• Anti-depressant

• Mood stabilizer

THC Delta 8

This cannabinoid is similar to THC Delta (9) but is less psychoactive. Its healing properties include:

• Anti-anxiety

• Neuroprotective abilities

• Appetite stimulant

• Anti-nausea

CBD 

(Cannabidiol)

This cannabinoid is the one that has changed the most minds about marijuana being legalized for medical purposes. It is not psychoactive and can be isolated and refined from the marijuana or the hemp plant and its most famous use is that of stopping and/or greatly reducing epileptic seizures. This is the element in cannabis that influenced Dr. Sanjay Gupta, of CNN News to change his mind about the legalization of medical marijuana. Before he saw clear proof that CBD reduced Gran Mal seizures in a six-year old girl from 300 per week to 3 to 4 a month, Dr. Gupta was absolutely against any kind of marijuana legalization. CBD was hailed as a medical break through by many and now several companies have isolated this cannabinoid and are marketing it as an anti-seizure drug.

Other wonderful medicinal benefits from CBD are:

• Anti-emetic and anti nausea

• Anti-psychotic

• Anti-inflammatory

• Anti-oxidant

• Anti-cancer

• Anti-depressant

• Reduces the effects of the THC high

CBN

(Cannabinol) 

When the marijuana’s dried buds or flowers sit out in the air for a period of time, the THCa breaks down and becomes another cannabinoid altogether: CBN.

This newly transformed cannabinoid has the following medicinal properties:

• Antibiotic

• Appetite stimulant

• Pain reliever

• Anti-asthmatic

• Sedative

• Anti-glaucoma

THCv

(tetrahydrocannabivarin) 

This is another cannabinoid that is similar to THC Delta (9) but it is about 1/5 a psychoactive as its counterpart and namesake THC. It is one of the many cannabinoids that work best when they are paired with other cannabinoids, creating an entourage or synergistic effect. THCv also mitigates some of the more negative effects of THC, which, many times is very useful to the user. This cannabinoid has many healing properties, some of which are:

• Anti-convulsive

• Neuroprotective

• Helps with weight loss

• Promotes Bone Growth

• Reduces symptoms of PTSD

The cannabinoids are obviously very important elements in the medicinal world. More research is opening up even though cannabis is still listed a schedule one drug, and as more research is done on marijuana the more positive benefits will be discovered, which will ultimately be good for all of us.

Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett.

The Benefits of Cannabis

There are so many naysayers out there regarding marijuana that we thought we’d brighten up your day a bit and pass on some interesting, informative and good news to you. There are some obvious and very well documented health benefits from ingesting cannabis, such as pain relief, reduction of epileptic seizures and the decrease in eye pressure for those suffering from glaucoma, but we wanted to give you a few more that might surprise you.

Weight loss is probably not the first thing that comes to people’s minds when they think of marijuana. There have been several studies at major universities (Harvard and University of Nebraska) that have found that people who use marijuana are skinnier than their friends who don’t use it. Apparently, the pot friendly people had smaller waists than non-users even though the munchies caused them to eat up to 600 more calories a day than usual. Go figure.

Lung capacity increase for people who smoke marijuana was reported by the National Health and Nutrition Examinations Survey. It also found that lungs were not affected negatively by cannabis smoke.

Depression was found in much lower levels in those who smoked cannabis occasionally or daily compared to people who never used marijuana. This was found in studies done by USC and SUNY Albany.

ADHD and anxiety symptoms were found to be relieved with small doses of cannabis. This was also found in the same studies done by USC and SUNY Albany.

Cancer cells have been killed in patients with leukemia who smoked pot. That was in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, which basically said that cannabis turns off the cancer gene and stops the cancer from spreading.

Arthritis pain has been successfully reduced in many patients who ingest marijuana. The THC stifles the chronic pain that accompanies arthritis. Patients generally reduce pain, get more sleep and their inflammation is also greatly diminished.

Opiate addiction has been decreased when addicts substitute marijuana for the opiates they have been using.

Multiple Sclerosis pain has been shown to significantly decrease when patients use marijuana.

There are many more benefits to those who use cannabis; we just wanted to share a few with our readers. Don’t forget that pot can bring out your creativity also. Many artists and aspiring artists say that their creative doors magically opened up and worlds that they never imagined previously were now theirs to explore. Go explore and be happy!

Where Is All The Cannabis Research Coming From?

Since our government still has marijuana listed as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, that is, as dangerous as heroin with no medicinal value, there are only several laboratories that have been given permission to do any type of research on cannabis in this country. While much of our knowledge of the healing properties of marijuana comes from anecdotal evidence in the United States, there have been many bona fide scientific studies that have produced real results and pertinent observations on the effectiveness of the herb’s healing properties outside the country. Some very successful studies have been done in Europe but the ones that are getting the most attention internationally and in the U.S. are from Israel.

Israel has become the world leader in medical marijuana research. Although it is a very small country, it is apparently very open-minded when it comes to medicine.

Israel’s Ministry of Health has been looking closely at the medicinal effects of cannabis for decades. In fact, it was the legendary Israeli scientist, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, who convinced the Ministry to start a medicinal cannabis program and in 1992 it was implemented. Today, that medical marijuana program treats over 25,000 Israeli patients with cannabis and cannabis extracts.

Dr. Mechoulam, by the way, became famous in marijuana circles and the scientific community in the 1960s. He was the man who isolated the psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana known as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). He also identified CBD (cannabidiol), another incredibly potent, but not psychoactive cannabinoid in the marijuana plant. CBD has been shown to drastically reduce epileptic seizures, decrease pain, it is an anti-psychotic, anti-inflammatory and among other things it is an antioxidant and antiemetic.

CBD is the element that brought about the famous “turn around” of Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN. He was adamantly opposed to legalizing any part of marijuana until he did a show for CNN on marijuana. He discovered that a little girl named Charlotte Figi, was having over 300 gran mal seizures every week and couldn’t talk, walk or do anything else with her life until her parents, as a last resort, took her to Colorado, where Marijuana use was legal. They too were against the use of cannabis but when they heard that CBD in cannabis helped a patient who had similar seizures then they bought some CBD extract and gave it to Charlotte. The small doses of CBD changed her life immediately. Instead of the 300 seizures each week she had only 3 or 4 each month and they were much less severe. She now lives a normal life and Dr. Gupta is an advocate for legalized medical marijuana.

Israeli scientists who regularly do research on the effects of marijuana think they have found another breakthrough use for cannabis: the prevention of cancer. Israeli cancer patients have been using marijuana for some time to relieve pain and nausea and to stimulate their appetite. Researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa have found that marijuana can possibly be effective in treating brain and breast cancer and also in delaying the progress and expansion of cancer cells. These are only preliminary findings and there is a lot more to look at before firm conclusions can be reached but the researchers are investigating 50 different strains of cannabis and observing their effects on over 200 types of cancer.

The Israeli research on marijuana is proving to be indispensible to patients all over the world. Thanks to Dr, Mechoulam and his associates, we in the United States can clearly see the benefits of marijuana to fight diseases, pain, seizures and many other maladies. There is, however, another party to thank for all these years of dedicated research: The United States government. That’s right, NIH (the National Institutes of Health), an official agency of the federal government, has been funding Dr, Mechoulam’s pet projects for over five decades. We were surprised when we found out also.

The NIH has been sending $100,000 to Dr, Mechoulam each and every year for his cannabis research. The amazing thing is, that with all the great results that the Israeli’s have discovered, apparently the United States government doesn’t do anything with them or cannabis would have been removed from its Schedule 1 classification long ago. We think that much of this extremely positive marijuana information has been packed and sealed into a wooden box and stamped “Top Secret” and then stored in a large warehouse somewhere and stacked next to another wooden box that contains the Holy Grail. Or…the data got lost along the way from Israel to Washington D.C. We just can’t explain it.

Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett.