What Are Cannabinoids?

What are Cannabinoids?

To call the cannabis plant complicated is an understatement. The plant itself is composed of hundreds, if not thousands, of different chemical compounds, each one more unique than the next. But, when you hear people talk about the different types of cannabinoids the plant has, what exactly does this mean? With as confusing of a name as “cannabinoid,” these chemical compounds are sure to raise some questions. 

As one of the main elements of the cannabis plant, being familiar with cannabinoids is crucial in your understanding of the plant and all it provides. From the basics, like what cannabinoids are, to more complicated matters, like how your body functions with cannabinoids, we’ve covered down below for your learning pleasure. 

Defining Cannabinoids

When you hear the word “cannabinoids,” what’s being referred to are the chemical compounds that are produced by the cannabis plant itself. These chemical compounds, some of the most notable being THC and CBD, each hold a different set of properties that act uniquely when enjoyed. Currently, there are at least 100 different known cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, though we have very little information on most. Primarily, research has been focused on CBD, as this specific cannabinoid has been found to be entirely non-psychoactive, making it a bit more widely accepted for scientific study. 

Interestingly enough, your body actually produces its own set of cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids, which help regulate major biological functions. Unfortunately, depending on what you’re going through, it can become difficult for your body to produce all of the endocannabinoids that it needs, throwing off your internal balance and, thus, making you feel stressed, anxious, tired, or just completely discombobulated.

Luckily, cannabis’s unbelievable cannabinoids can actually work to practically imitate these endocannabinoids that your body is lacking, essentially filling in the gaps for you and helping you to achieve ultimate health and wellness. This support all comes from a remarkable relationship between cannabinoids and your body’s endocannabinoid system. 

The Endocannabinoid System 

You may not know it, but your body consists of a huge, highly complex system of endocannabinoid receptors called the endocannabinoid system, or ECS. Your body’s ECS is so widespread, being responsible for everything from immune function and metabolism to pain, mood, and stress. Unfortunately, this system is still widely unknown to scientists, despite being first discovered back in the 80s. 

What we do know, though, is that your ECS relies heavily on homeostasis to feel its best. Homeostasis refers to the consistent regulation of your biological systems, getting hormone and other enzyme levels to be in perfect ranges for your optimal health. When your ECS isn’t within these healthy ranges, you will definitely notice. Any imbalance can throw you off internally and externally, leaving you feeling frazzled and definitely not your best. While you can work to re-balance your ECS through healthy diets, exercise, and various other health and wellness techniques and supplements, you can also give it quite the boost through cannabis’s natural cannabinoids. 

As we mentioned, cannabinoids can essentially fill in the missing gaps in your ECS, helping to assist in the production of the molecules you’re missing, as well as inhibit the absorption of molecules you don’t need. Some cannabinoids, like CBD, work directly with the body’s receptors to help in the actual production of enzymes themselves, while others work with the endocannabinoids your body already has. This collaborative effort creates a well-oiled machine internally, making it feel almost effortless to establish balance and internal harmony--something you may not even realize you’re lacking.

Popular Cannabinoids 

Again, the cannabis plant is said to contain numerous cannabinoids, most of which the cannabis community is still unfamiliar with. However, there are still a few cannabinoids that science is really starting to understand, some of which you’ve probably heard of (and others that you probably haven’t… yet).

CBD, or cannabidiol, is the cannabis plant’s most abundant non-intoxicating cannabinoid. It doesn’t bind to your endocannabinoids in the same way that other cannabinoids do; instead, it binds directly to the receptors themselves, preventing any psychoactive effects from being plausible. CBD is known for its therapeutic, soothing medical effects, specifically its anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, anti-anxiety properties. Here at TerVita, this is easily one of our favorite cannabinoids. 

THC is another popular cannabinoid that you’re probably familiar with. THC is short for tetrahydrocannabinol, and, unlike CBD, is very psychoactive, binding almost primarily with the cannabinoid receptors within your brain. Because of this, the cannabinoid is able to provide the euphoric, blissful effects you’re used to, coming with the powerful cerebral properties that cannabis is known for. There are different types of THC such as THC-O and THC-P which have varying potency levels.

CBN, on the other hand, is a cannabinoid that the community is just recently beginning to explore. CBN stands for cannabinol and this is a cannabinoid that non-intoxicating like CBD, and is created when THC is aged. Though we don’t know too much about this cannabinoid currently, studies suggest that it has potential to be an anti-bacterial, neuroprotectant, and even an appetite stimulant. 

CBDA is short for cannabidiolic acid and it is the abundant precursor, or “raw” form, of CBD found in the cannabis plant. Before CBD has been deoxycarbolated, the cannabinoid is in its CBDA form; this cannabinoid is said to be just as powerful as, if not more than, anti-inflammatory medication. However, more evidence is still needed. 

Just the Start

With the cannabis plant containing so many unique cannabinoids, all of this is just the start of your understanding of these novel chemical compounds. To help give you the best experience of full-bodied cannabinoids as possible, TerraVita has crafted all of our CBD products using full-spectrum and broad-spectrum extracts. With full-spectrum hemp extracts, you’re able to experience not just one cannabinoid, but more than we can list. For those that wish to enjoy the benefits of all the cannabinoids, but do not want THC, broad-spectrum hemp extracts are the way to go. 

Cannabinoids, in all of their synergistic glory, are one of the most important components of the cannabis plant. Without them, you simply wouldn’t get to experience all of the incredible properties that each cannabinoid can bring. Whether one of your cannabinoids is one favorite or you prefer the effects that they bring together is up to you: you just need to discover what cannabinoids you enjoy most.