What Are Cannabinoids? Understanding What's in Your Medical Marijuana
Cannabinoids are among the primary compounds responsible for the benefits experienced from different strains of medical marijuana found at Ohio dispensaries. Thousands of products, made from a wide variety of different cannabis strains, are available for legal purchase when you have an Ohio marijuana card.
Understanding what's in your medical marijuana, and how cannabinoids work, is the best way to take control of your treatment plan and alleviate your symptoms naturally with cannabis!
Let's take a look at the most common cannabinoids presently being intentionally used for medicinal purposes, what they do, and how to use them to alleviate your symptoms.
THC and CBD are Not the Only Players in Town
Though THC and CBD are the most widely-recognized cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, they are not the only cannabinoids present. They may not even be the dominant cannabinoids. Cannabis plants are made up of chemical compounds including dozens—if not hundreds—of cannabinoids.
Today, we are going to focus on the few cannabinoids we know most about. Harnessing the power of each of these compounds individually and together will help you make better choices when you visit an Ohio dispensary near you, and get better results in your daily life.
The Entourage Effect: The Whole is Greater Than the Sum of the Parts
Most medical marijuana products available in Ohio are not made up of isolated cannabinoids. Instead, they include at least a few other minor cannabinoids. A great example of this would be FECO, or Full Extract Cannabis Oil products, as well as live resins and rosins. These contain the full spectrum of compounds found in the marijuana strain used to make the product. This may include THC, THCA, CBD, CBC, CBN, CBG and THCV, or it may only include a few of these cannabinoids.
When multiple cannabinoids work together in your body, they produce what's known as the "entourage effect." The entourage effect simply means that elements working together produce an effect that is entirely its own, rather than simply adding one effect to another.
To help you understand what this means, let's look at what goes into baking one of our favorite treats: Brownies. When you are getting ready to bake brownies, you get all your ingredients together, including flour, eggs, butter, sugar, and cocoa.
You probably wouldn't even be tempted to eat most of these ingredients entirely separate from other ingredients, but mixing them together and baking them in the oven results in something magical! You can certainly enjoy THC or CBD alone, but combining them will create an entourage effect that is something more than just the effect of each individual cannabinoid.
The Endocannabinoid System: How Medical Marijuana Works to Alleviate Symptoms
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a network of neurotransmitters and neuroreceptors that communicate with nearly every other part of your body. Dr. Raphael Mechoulam is known as the father of medical cannabis research because of his contribution to discovering the ECS, isolating cannabinoids, and learning how they work together throughout the 1990s.
Because of Mechoulam's work, we now know that our bodies are quite literally made to work with cannabinoids to bring balance and homeostasis to our health and state of being. Many researchers now believe that most disease processes in the body can be tied to an imbalance in the endocannabinoid system, which is why medical marijuana is becoming such a valuable piece of the healthcare puzzle in the US.
Even though it wasn't specifically isolated until 1964, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has been the cannabinoid in the spotlight for nearly the last century due to propaganda campaigns and the 1936 "news reel," Reefer Madness. THC is the cannabinoid that produces the euphoric "high" that everyone seems to either be chasing or running away from.
Unfortunately, this stigma has made it difficult to understand THC's true effects. But Ohio Marijuana Card is here to help you understand what you need to know.
Effects of THC - Overview
THC has a wide range of short-term effects which may or may not be experienced, depending on the individual. For example, while some may find that THC elicits strong feelings of calm and peace, others may notice an increase in their anxiety levels. The difference can be as simple as one’s own body chemistry, but certain strains and varying concentrations of THC can also create different outcomes in how one feels.
Psychoactive Effects of THC
THC can produce a multitude of psychoactive effects, including (but not limited to) euphoria, relaxation, introspection, creativity, sedation, sensory alteration, appetite stimulation, focus and energy. Adverse effects may include dry mouth, redness in the eyes, disorientation, dizziness, tachycardia, anxiety and paranoia.
Medicinal Benefits of THC
Most consequentially, THC also carries a host of medicinal potential that has been studied for a variety of symptoms and conditions. This includes pain relief, anti-inflammation, autoimmune disorders, spasticity, insomnia, nausea, depression and anxiety. THC also shows promise as a possible anti-cancer agent, neuroprotectant and antioxidant.
Cannabidiol (CBD) has become widely recognized for its incredible versatility in the treatment of a variety of different medical conditions. Second only to THC in abundance (generally), CBD stands out for its non-intoxicating relief, including the ability to counteract the psychoactive effects of THC!
While you can purchase CBD oil over the counter, the best CBD products still come from medical marijuana dispensaries. They offer a higher ratio of THC to CBD, resulting in more powerful symptom relief, and they are heavily regulated and tested for purity and potency. Unlike the CBD you can get at health food stores and even Circle K, CBD at dispensaries is certain to be clean, effective, and labeled properly.
Effects and Medical Benefits of CBD
CBD has been shown to provide a wide range of medical benefits including for anxiety, inflammation, pains, and seizures. CBD initially gained widespread recognition for its powerful anticonvulsant properties, creating a huge spike in use for treatment in epileptic patients including children.
In addition to being a powerful anti-convulsant, CBD also has shown neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties and has been used in the treatment of conditions such as depression, anxiety, addiction, neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.
CBD also has a unique ability to target a specific serotonin receptor that has promising applications for disorders including opioid dependence, neuropathic pain, depression and anxiety disorders, nausea and vomiting (especially from chemotherapy), and negative symptoms of schizophrenia.
Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, and a primary constituent of live cannabis. In its raw form, THCA’s prevalence in cannabis may have a multitude of therapeutic applications due to its non-psychoactive nature.
What's the Difference Between THC and THCA?
Unlike THC, THCA is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in raw and live cannabis. As the plant dries or is exposed to heat, THCA slowly converts to THC. If you were to eat buds straight off a marijuana plant, you would likely not experience many psychoactive effects, because most live plant material is full of THCA, rather than THC. However, as soon as you heat the plant material (through vaporizing or smoking), the THCA turns into THC.
Medicinal Properties of THCA
What are THCA’s properties if it isn’t converted to THC? Here are some of the potential benefits studies have started to unveil:
Anti-inflammatory properties for treatment of arthritis and lupus
Neuroprotective properties for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases
Antiemetic properties for treatment of nausea and appetite loss
Anti-proliferative properties noted in studies of prostate cancer
Other possible medicinal avenues supported by patient stories include insomnia, muscle spasms, and pain
Because acidic forms can be consumed at significantly higher levels, THCA may potentially act as an effective neuroprotectant, antioxidant, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antiemetic, appetite stimulant, pain reliever, and anti-proliferative agent. THCA may be found in topicals, tinctures, capsules and raw cannabis juice.
Discovered over 50 years ago, Cannabichromene (CBC) is considered one of the “big six” cannabinoids prominent in medical research. It doesn’t get as much attention, but CBC’s benefits are extremely promising.
Medicinal Effects of CBC
Cannabichromene (CBC) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid with a host of potential therapeutic applications. CBC may carry pain relieving properties, act as a potent anti-inflammatory agent, assist with digestive and gastrointestinal disorders, possess antibacterial and antifungal efficacy, and it could potentially contribute to the regeneration of brain cells, which possibly has implications in the treatments of multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, dementia, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative related conditions.
In a 2013 study, CBC had a positive effect on neural stem progenitor cells (NSPCs), a cell essential to healthy brain function. This shows promise because NSPCs differentiate into astroglial cells, the most important cells for maintaining brain homeostasis. Astroglia counteract many of the issues that create neurological diseases and brain pathologies like Alzheimer’s disease.
Cannabichromene has also been shown to block pain and inflammation associated with collagen-induced osteoarthritis. Cannabinoids like CBC act on inflammation differently than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) do, and don’t have the side effects of these medications.
CBC May Help Fight Cancer
Cannabichromene may be a powerful cancer fighter, and the reason might be its interaction with the body’s natural endocannabinoid, anandamide. CBC also appears to inhibit the uptake of anandamide, allowing it to remain longer in the bloodstream. So far, research has found CBC to be the second-most-potent cannabinoid at inhibiting the growth of new cancer cells (CBG was the most potent).
Cannabigerol (CBG) may very well be the origin of all other cannabinoids. It is non-intoxicating and generally only present in very low concentrations in cannabis plants; but THC and CBD start out as CBG before making the chemical transformation into their fully-developed form!
Medicinal Properties of CBG
CBG displays a multitude of potential health benefits including working as a neuroprotectant, having antioxidant properties, aiding with skin ailments as an antibacterial and antifungal agent, appetite stimulation, treatment of gastrointestinal disorders, inflammation reduction, shows promise in fighting cancer, and lowering intraocular pressure, which may benefit glaucoma patients.
Because it is non-intoxicating, CBG may be a promising treatment for psoriasis, depression and chronic pain as well.
Research on CBG
CBG has been found to act on very specific physiological systems and problems, and results for medicinal use are promising:
CBG is thought to be particularly effective in treating glaucoma because it reduces intraocular pressure. It is a powerful vasodilator and has neuroprotective effects to boot
CBG was found to be effective in decreasing the inflammation characteristic of inflammatory bowel disease
CBG was shown to protect neurons in mice with Huntington’s disease
CBG is showing great promise as a cancer fighter. Specifically, CBG was shown to block receptors that cause cancer cell growth. CBG inhibited tumors and chemically-induced colon carcinogenesis
Researchers showed that CBG was a very effective appetite stimulant in rats
Cannabinol (CBN) is considered a mildly psychoactive cannabinoid known for its powerful sedative properties. CBN is a byproduct of THC and is typically found in small amounts in most cannabis strains, however, many cannabis based options such as topicals, edibles, capsules, tinctures, vape cartridges, sublingual sprays and more may contain higher levels of this cannabinoid.
Effects of CBN
CBN, offers a unique profile of effects and benefits that have researchers clamoring for more scientific investigation. CBN is known to be particularly useful for aiding sleep, and also good for reducing pain and muscle spasms. So far, CBN’s studied benefits include:
Promotes growth of bone cells
CBN's Sedative Effect
CBN’s most pronounced, characterizing attribute is its sedative effect. Unlike THC, CBN induces little to no intoxicating effects. This is great news for patients needing to medicate with a clear head, but you should note that most flowers contain only trace amounts of CBN. Where THC contents can hit a high watermark of over 30%, CBN rarely exceeds 1% in dried flower.
THC Becomes CBN Over Time
As THC oxidizes (i.e. exposure to oxygen over time), it converts to CBN. This is why aged, poorly stored cannabis is likely to have higher levels of CBN than fresh flower in an air-tight container.
As its name suggests, Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is similar to THC in molecular structure and psychoactive properties, but it provides a variety of pronounced and altogether different effects. THCV is a cannabinoid that holds potentially potent psychoactive effects, along with a host of medicinal benefits.
Strains high in THCV are popular because they are known for reducing appetite, which is great for medical marijuana patients who are concerned about experiencing munchies a little too much.
The Psychoactive Effect of THC Vs. The Psychoactive Effect of THCV
THCV is thought to act as an antagonist to some of the effects of THC when found in small amounts, while possibly accentuating them in higher doses. Marijuana strains or products rich in THCV may result in a stimulating, clear headed, almost psychedelic type of energetic high that is typically shorter in duration.
Therapeutic Effects of THCV
THCV may also play a role in stimulating bone health, which could help osteoporosis. THCV also displays anticonvulsant properties that may help with spasticity, neurodegenerative, and seizure related disorders. THCV may combat anxiety and panic attacks, with potential use for those who suffer from PTSD. In addition, THCV is also considered an antioxidant and potent anti-inflammatory agent.
Research shows promise in THCV’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance, showing promise in helping diabetic patients. THCV may help with Alzheimer’s, including tremors, motor control, and brain lesions associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, THCV is being looked at for osteoporosis and other bone-related conditions as THCV stimulates bone growth and promotes the growth of new bone cells.
Talk to a Marijuana Doctor to Get Control of Your Symptoms Today!
In order to take advantage of all the natural relief from cannabis available at Ohio dispensaries, you need to get a medical marijuana card. Having one will get you access to a variety of cannabis products including whole flower, tinctures, vapes, topicals, edibles and more.
As the marijuana program expands in Ohio, patients are able to even find products with higher concentrations of specific cannabinoids formulated to help them meet their treatment goals.
At Ohio Marijuana Card, we understand that you want to get a convenient, affordable marijuana card so you can get on with feeling better. That's why our patient support staff is here six days a week to answer your questions and help you navigate the process from start to finish.
Check out the list of 25 qualifying conditions, and give us a call at (866) 457-5559 to see how we can help you get your marijuana card today! If you're ready to start getting the natural relief you deserve, simply schedule an appointment with an Ohio marijuana doctor online. We offer both telehealth and in-person office visits, to meet you where you are in your wellness journey.