You probably know by now what are the effects of smoking marijuana, but have you ever wondered how such a gentle plant can do so many positive things from a health standpoint? From producing a very profound high to offering effective treatment for a myriad of conditions, cannabis owes everything to cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are naturally occurring that are present in cannabis plants.
So, if in case you are wondering how this magical plant works and why cannabinoids are the reason behind it, then you have come to the right spot. In this article, we’ll be talking about what are cannabinoids really are and how each of them affects each person from a medical and recreational standpoint!
What are Cannabinoids?
To simply put, cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds present in a cannabis plant. In fact, there are around 200+ cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant. However, not all of them are well-studied, but there are numerous cannabinoids that are popular among smokers. These cannabinoids are THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, and CBD or cannabidiol. Both of these are called major cannabinoids as they are one of the key elements in producing effects.
THC is the psychoactive compound that is known to produce ‘high’. On the other hand, CBD is known to affect each individual from a medical standpoint. So, cannabinoids are responsible for alleviating many ailments, as well as offering you the high you constantly seek from the humble plant. Each cannabinoid works differently from the others, and their concentration greatly varies from plant to plant.
Although the compounds naturally occur in the plants, growers and breeders can manipulate them through genetic manipulation and selective breeding. They are doing this to produce higher concentrations of these particular cannabinoids to cater to the needs of people who seek the help of this plant.
How does Cannabis Work?
The human body naturally produces cannabinoids; they are known as cannabinoids. Our endocannabinoids are responsible for regulating bodily functions and for promoting homeostasis. This means that our endocannabinoid system plays an important role in keeping healthy and providing stability.
Cannabinoids interact with different receptors in our body; this includes the central nervous system and our immune system. These receptors are CB1 receptors of the brain and immune system, and CB2 receptors for the central nervous system. Cannabis found in cannabis plants imitate what our cannabinoids do in our body, they bind themselves within these receptors. This is the reason why we are feeling the after-effects of smoking weed, such as feeling relaxed, euphoric, uplifted, and many more.
As stated above, different kinds of cannabinoids interact in different parts of our body. This is the reason why certain cannabinoids have particular effects on the body. For example, THC is responsible for causing high among users, THC binds will with the receptors in the brain, thus amplifying the healing.
There are two ways of how cannabinoids can be consumed. The first part is through the traditional smoking or vaping; in this way, cannabinoids go directly to the lungs, and quickly to your heart, then through the brain. This type of method is, by far, the easiest way to feel the effects of marijuana. All it takes for the effects to be felt is around 3 to 5 minutes.
The other way of consuming cannabinoids and feel its effects is through edibles. Ingesting edibles that contain cannabis is quite longer than one would expect. This is because it goes through the digestive tracts and onto the bloodstream. It would take around 3o minutes to 2 hours to feel the effects; however – the good side about ingesting cannabis is that you can feel more profound effects compared to any other methods of consumption.
Benefits of Cannabinoids
While each cannabinoid has different interaction in our body, they have similar effects and is highly beneficial to humans. These effects and benefits are often the reason why people seek the help of cannabis. Some of the benefits of cannabinoids include:
- Pain Management – almost all cannabinoids offer analgesic properties, making cannabis popular among people with chronic pain. The cannabinoids can be an effective method to control pain, along with pain management, it also comes with added benefits, which may also drastically improve the symptom that causes pain. The pain relief cannabis offers can be a good alternative from other medications
- Anti-Inflammatory – inflammation can be associated with many medical conditions, such as fibromyalgia and Crohn’s disease. By reducing inflammation in the body, it minimizes the damage done onto the body.
- Stimulates Appetite – consuming cannabis is a great way to get munchies, especially for people wanting to gain weight or increase appetite.
- Sedative – another known effect when it comes to cannabis. This is particularly helpful for people suffering from insomnia. Some of the cannabinoids found in cannabis have a sedative effect, which makes help fall asleep faster. Insomnia decreases the quality of life; cannabis is a great option to treat this disorder.
- Brain cell and Nerve Protection – certain cannabis show promising potential when it comes to protecting brain cells and nerves. In some cases, cannabinoids promote the growth of new cells.
- Antitumor Properties – certain cannabinoids show the potential to reduce or slow down the growth of tumors, a huge benefit for people suffering from cancer. This promising benefit from cannabinoids gives them a great advantage in fighting tumors. Another benefit of taking cannabinoids is its effect on cancer patients having problems with anxiety and nausea caused by chemotherapy.
- Antispasmodic – cannabis is often used to treat disorders such as spasms or convulsions, such as epilepsy. Specific cannabinoids have antispasmodic effects that help minimize the cause of seizures caused by epilepsy. This can greatly improve the quality of life for people suffering from epilepsy, especially for those sufferers who frequently deal with epilepsy. Using cannabis as a treatment can improve the lives of sufferers.
- Antioxidant – certain cannabinoids help in fighting free radicals in the body that has the potential to cause damage in our body.
- Reduces Eye Pressure – glaucoma patients seek the help of cannabis when it comes to reducing intraocular pressure.
- Antidepressant – while THC may trigger paranoia or anxiety in certain individuals, many cannabinoids are known to possess antidepressant qualities. Especially for people suffering from stress and depression, smoking cannabis is a good way to declutter the mind and experience euphoric feelings.
Cannabinoids are a versatile group of molecules that share common characteristics when it comes to how they affect each individual. There are over 100 cannabinoids present in a cannabis plant, and all of these have different benefits. Hopefully, in the future, each of them can be classified and defined so that people would have a deeper understanding of how each one of them works.
Finally, we owe it to the cannabis plant for giving us a great alternative for treating various conditions. The legalization and decriminalization of cannabis use should pave the way for other people who suffer from different kinds of conditions to gain access to this humble plant. Besides, their benefits and positive impacts are well-documented, I don’t see why other nations aren’t making strides.