The majority of pharmaceutical and academic research & development activities investigating the physiological and disease-fighting properties of cannabis revolves around the understanding of one class of biologically active ingredients, the cannabinoids. In the 1960s, several compounds were isolated from the cannabis plant. While there are over 100 different cannabinoids identified in cannabis, the two most well-known and studied compounds in the cannabis plant also happen to be the two that occur in the largest quantity: Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”) and cannabidiol (“CBD”). Many of the remaining compounds demonstrate unique properties and mechanisms apart from those of psychoactive THC and non-psychoactive cannabidiol.Learn More
This is just a small sample of cannabinoid receptors.
Before the 1980s, it was often speculated that cannabinoids produced their effects through nonspecific interaction with cell membranes, instead of interacting with specific receptors. The discovery of the first cannabinoid receptors occurred in the 1980s and helped to clarify their role. These receptors are common in mammals, birds, fish and reptiles. There are currently two known types of cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2.
CB1 receptors are found primarily in the brain, specifically in the basal ganglia and in the limbic system, including the hippocampus.Learn More
Phytocannabinoids occur naturally in the cannabis plant and are concentrated in a viscous resin that is produced in glandular structures known as trichomes. In addition to cannabinoids, the resin is rich in terpenes, which are largely responsible for the scent of the cannabis plant.
There are 100+ known phytocannabinoids. Of these, THC and CBD are the most prevalent and have received the most attention.
THC is the primary psychoactive component of the cannabis plant. Medically, it appears to mitigate pain.Learn MoreCBD, on the other hand, is not psychoactive and appears to reduce the euphoric effect of THC by blocking the CB1 receptor site. Medically, CBD appears to relieve convulsion, inflammation, anxiety, and nausea.
Cannabinoids can be administered many ways, including topically (creams, ointments, transdermal patches, etc.); by oral ingestion, sublingual absorption or intravenous injection; as well as by smoking and vaporizing. The time to effect and duration of effect will vary depending on the mode of administration. Once in the body, cannabinoids are metabolized mainly in the liver.