Last month we looked at reading and understanding a Certificate of Analysis (COA). When we look at a COA, we see that cannabis is made up of many different compounds, mainly cannabinoids and terpenes. But why is cannabis so effective on our bodies? In this blog, I will try to explain why this gift from Mother Nature works on our internal system.
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS).
All mammals (including us, humans) have a system called the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex system of receptors, enzymes and endocannabinoids that helps regulate various physiological processes such as mood, appetite, pain and inflammation. Interestingly, the compounds found in cannabis, known as cannabinoids, can also interact with the ECS, producing a range of effects.
Cannabinoids in cannabis
Cannabis contains more than 100 different cannabinoids, but the two best known are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis, while CBD is non-psychoactive and has been shown to have a range of potential therapeutic benefits.
When cannabis is consumed, the cannabinoids in the plant interact with the ECS in various ways. First, THC binds to CB1 receptors in the brain, creating the characteristic “high” associated with cannabis use.
This binding may also affect other functions regulated by the ECS, such as appetite and pain perception.
CBD, on the other hand, does not bind directly to CB1 or CB2 receptors, but instead modulates their activity. CBD has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety and anti-psychotic effects and may also help reduce the psychoactive effects of THC.
In addition to THC and CBD, other cannabinoids in cannabis, such as cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabinol (CBN), interact with the ECS in various ways. CBG, for example, has been shown to have potential antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects, while CBN has a sedative effect.
The ECS and stress response
The ECS also plays a role in the body’s response to stress. When we experience stress, the body produces the hormone cortisol, which can help us cope with the stressor. However, chronic stress can lead to an overproduction of cortisol, which can have negative effects on our health. Studies have suggested that CBD may help regulate the production of cortisol, potentially reducing the negative effects of chronic stress.
In general, the interaction between cannabis and the ECS is complex and not yet fully understood. However, there is research on the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis and its cannabinoids, and it is clear that the ECS plays an important role in the effects of cannabis use.
The Entourage Effect
So now that we have a better understanding of why our bodies are so receptive to cannabis, we can begin to understand why cannabis as a plant is so effective. But when we talk about cannabis, we usually only hear about the cannabinoids THC and CBD. But as we know from our COA, there are many other cannabinoids that also affect our bodies in different ways. If you’re a regular user of cannabis, you’ve probably heard of the entourage effect. But what is it and why is it important?
The entourage effect is the phenomenon in which the combination of different cannabinoids, terpenes and other compounds in cannabis produces a synergistic effect greater than the sum of the individual components. This means that the effects of cannabis are not solely due to the presence of THC or CBD, but rather are the result of a complex interaction between different compounds.
For example, some terpenes found in cannabis can modulate the activity of cannabinoid receptors, enhance the absorption of other cannabinoids and produce their own therapeutic effects. This means that the presence of these terpenes can enhance the overall effects of cannabis, making it more effective than if only THC or CBD were present.
It is believed that the entourage effect is responsible for many of the therapeutic benefits of cannabis, such as its ability to relieve pain, reduce inflammation and improve mood. However, the specific mechanisms underlying the entourage effect are still not well understood and require further research.
In conclusion, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays an essential role in how cannabis interacts with our bodies. Different cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, impact the ECS and can cause various effects. In addition, the entourage effect is important, where the combination of cannabinoids, terpenes and other compounds in cannabis creates a synergistic effect that enhances the therapeutic benefits.
Although much remains to be discovered, the research shows that cannabis is a valuable plant that affects our internal system and offers potentially important therapeutic benefits.