People have always been particularly obsessed when it comes to self-care. Throughout the years, there have been all kinds of therapies and medicines available to help maintain a healthy lifestyle and to deal with common ailments. When it comes to dealing with anxiety and stress, there are numerous substances available, and cannabinoids have been gaining more popularity over the years for this purpose.
You might have heard of cannabinoids and would have wondered how they work. These chemical compounds are found in the cannabis plant, giving the plant a reputation of providing therapeutic effects. It is important, therefore, to understand the effects of cannabinoids and the potential benefits that they offer.
What are cannabinoids?
As mentioned, cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds found in the cannabis plant. When consumed, cannabinoids directly interact with the nervous system, and hence their effects. There are numerous cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, with varying effects.
To better understand how cannabinoids interact with the nervous system, you need to get into the Endocannabinoid System, which is responsible for regulating the immune system and other internal functions.
As long as your body is properly balanced, all system functions run smoothly. If there is any kind of chemical imbalance, you can hold your Endocannabinoid system responsible. The system consists of a network of receptors that keep the system functions stable, such as heart function, sleep, immunity, body temperature and mood. Cannabinoids interact and attach to these receptors, and hence affect the nervous system and its functions.
How many cannabinoids are there?
The cannabis plant is one of the most diverse plants in the world. That is because there are more than 500 chemicals and compounds present in the plant. Compounds such as flavonoids and terpenes are commonly found in other plants as well. But over 140 compounds are unique to the cannabis plant and are known as cannabinoids.
THC is the chemical found in the cannabis plant which is responsible for the psychoactive effects associated with marijuana. It works similarly to the cannabinoid chemicals made naturally in the body, stimulating the brain to release dopamine, hence the feeling of euphoria and intoxication.
THC can induce delusions and hallucinations, change your perception and impair the psychomotor functions in the human body.
CBD has been gaining more and more popularity in recent years, more so after the 2018 Farm Bill which legalized the production and sale of hemp and hemp driven products. CBD has no psychoactive effects. However, CBD has tons of benefits due to the physiological effects it has. These include reduced stress and anxiety, improved appetite and better sleep.
A relatively lesser-known cannabinoid, CBG is found in exceedingly small quantities in the cannabis plant. CBG is quickly garnering interest among researchers for its many health benefits, including the potential to address cancerous tumours, glaucoma, and Crohn’s disease.
CBN has psychoactive effects, not unlike THC, only milder. CBN is derived from the same tetrahydrocannabinolic acid which makes THC only when THC is exposed to oxygen that CBN is made.
CBN is known to have sedative effects, which makes it beneficial if you have problems sleeping. It also helps minimize pain and muscle spasms, great for arthritis patients.
Just like anything else, abusing cannabinoids can prove to be harmful. Especially when consumed for long periods. According to studies, abuse of some cannabinoids can affect the endocrine and reproductive systems. Therefore, cannabinoids should be used sparingly, when needed, and after consulting with your health physician.