In the not so distant past, cannabis was seen as “the devil’s lettuce” and was seen as something only for skater burnouts, getting high in your parents’ basement in high school, and old guys who wear too much tie-dye.
But did you know that there are over 400 chemical compounds in cannabis? And of those 400 compounds, there are 5 core chemicals that give cannabis its various benefits ranging from giving euphoric highs to having anti-inflammatory properties to alleviating chronic pain.
In this post, we’re going to give you a quick overview of those 5 common chemical compounds found in various strains of marijuana, how those compounds affect us, and what they can do for us.
1. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
THC is likely the most well-known chemical found in cannabis since it’s the one that gives weed its psychoactive effect. Almost all strains of weed contain some THC, although some strains contain higher concentrations than others.
In short: the more THC, the more “high” you’ll feel. Most strains range between 10 to 30% of THC concentration, but you can get strains with little to no detectable THC.
How It Works
When THC is activated (by cooking it, heating it up, lighting it on fire, smoking it, etc), it will bind to receptors we have in our bodies naturally called endocannabinoid receptors. These receptors are found in the brain, our nervous system, and on our immune cells.
When THC binds to these receptors in the brain, it triggers a huge release of dopamine. It also can affect how different parts of our brain and nervous system work, specifically the hippocampus and the orbitofrontal cortex.
Effects of THC
These interactions with the brain and nervous system lead to a range of effects, including:
- Increased relaxation
- Feeling “high”
- Feelings of euphoria
- Heightened senses
- Reduction in pain
- Increased hunger
- Decrease in nausea
- Can produce feelings of paranoia and/or anxiety
These effects are used to treat serious illnesses and diseases. Studies show that THC can help treat chronic pain, ALS, anxiety disorders, and insomnia/sleeping issues.
There are some negative effects to be aware of. Some people who use high THC strains find their anxiety can worsen. It can also cause paranoia and/or fear. Overuse of THC can also lead to hallucinations.
2. Cannabidiol (CBD)
CBD is the other well-known component of marijuana right alongside THC. Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive. That means if you obtain CBD concentrates like oils or high-CBD low-THC strains of weed, you won’t feel “high” like you would with THC dominant strains (or you won’t feel high at all).
Read this blog for more info on CBD concentrates.
CBD might be the most studied chemical compound in marijuana because of its non-psychoactive properties combined with all of its medicinal properties.
How It Works
Like THC, CBD works by binding to our natural endocannabinoid receptors in our body. CBD essentially counteracts THC; CBD mitigates many of the more negative effects of THC.
The makes the two a perfect pair for many cannabis strains.
Effects of CBD
The effects of CBD are widespread and impressive. Studies have shown that CBD can help treat:
- Chronic pain
- Anxiety disorders
- Inflammatory diseases
- Seizure disorders
- Neurodegenerative diseases
This list is continually growing, too. It also can help you feel relaxed, improve your mood, release serotonin/dopamine, and relieve pain when you get a medical marijuana card online.
3. Cannabinol (CBN)
Even though the word is unfairly similar to cannabidiol, cannabinol (CBN) is a completely separate molecule. The chemical CBN is created when the chemical compound THC is exposed to both oxygen and light.
How It Works
Like THC, CBN is psychoactive, but to a much lesser degree than THC is. Instead of causing effects itself, CBN mostly just enhances the effect of THC by direct and indirect interaction in the body.
Effects of CBN
Along with enhancing the effects of THC, CBN is thought to be similar to CBD. It’s used as a sleep aid, an antidepressant, and an antispasmodic.
It increases the feeling of a “body high”, which means you’ll feel groggy and sleepy. There’s also some evidence that CBN can help treat glaucoma.
4. Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)
As you can probably guess from the chemical name, THCV is related to THC. Remember how we said that for THC to work, it needs to be activated by lighting it on fire, heating it, or cooking it?
THCV is THC in its pre-activated form. It’s found in its highest concentrations in Sativa strains of marijuana.
How It Works
It takes 438 degrees to activate THCV to become THC. So there is THCV in marijuana, even if you do activate some of it.
Like the other chemicals on this list, THCV binds to certain endocannabinoid receptors in the body. Simultaneously, it can act as an agonist to its brother THC, which means it can lessen psychoactive effects
Effects of THCV
THCV is similar to caffeine in how it affects our bodies. It gives us a boost of energy and can suppress our hunger, unlike its brother THC that increases appetite. This boost of energy can result in anxiety in some people, so be wary if that’s an issue for you.
THCV has also been shown to interact with insulin and diabetic pathways, which has some promising applications for those with diabetes. Studies also show that it can influence and restore bone growth.
5. Cannabigerol (CBG)
Cannabigerol (CBG) is one of the more recently discovered and researched compounds in marijuana. This is the “parent” compound of both CBD and THC.
How It Works
Chemical reactions to other compounds, light, and oxygen lead to CBG turning into both CBD and THC, which means it works as we described above once these chemical reactions take place.
But CBG itself can also interact with receptors in our bodies. Unlike the other compounds on this list, CBG can also interact with GABA receptors.
Effects of CBG
CBG’s interaction with endocannabinoid receptors along with the interactions with GABA and GABA receptors causes us to feel relaxed, especially in our muscles.
Besides relaxation, it’s known to:
- Help regulate sleep
- Help with memory function
- Reduce pain
- Reduce inflammation
- Function as an antibacterial
- Lower anxiety
- Treat depression
Like CBD, CBG is non-psychoactive.
The 5 Common Chemical Compounds Give Cannabis Its Amazing Properties
These are just 5 of the most common chemical compounds in marijuana, so this list is far from comprehensive. However, it does give you an idea of how widespread and beneficial this plant can be for both medical and pleasure-based needs. Meftal spas tablet is great to remove muscles pains.
Want some more in-depth info before you give it a try yourself? Read our article on 8 benefits of hemp oil that might surprise you.