What Are Cannabinoids?

If there’s one word that all medicinal marijuana patients should learn, it’s Cannabinoid. Cannabinoids (e.g., THC and CBD) are the chemical compounds secreted by cannabis flowers that provide relief to an array of symptoms including pain, nausea, and inflammation. These work their medicinal magic by imitating compounds our bodies naturally produce, called endocannabinoids, which activate to maintain internal stability and health. To put a complex system simply, they mediate communication between cells, and when there is a deficiency or problem with our endocannabinoid system, unpleasant symptoms and physical complications occur.

Five Facts You Must Know About CBD

Here are five facts that you should know about this unique compound:

1. CBD is a key ingredient in cannabis

CBD is one of over 60 compounds found in cannabis that belong to a class of molecules called cannabinoids. Of these compounds, CBD and THC are usually present in the highest concentrations, and are therefore the most recognized and studied.

CBD and THC levels tend to vary among different plants. Marijuana grown for recreational purposes often contains more THC than CBD.

However, by using selective breeding techniques, cannabis breeders have managed to create varieties with high levels of CBD and next to zero levels of THC. These strains are rare but have become more popular in recent years.

2. CBD is non-psychoactive

Unlike THC, CBD does not cause a high. While this makes CBD a poor choice for recreational users, it gives the chemical a significant advantage as a medicine, since health professionals prefer treatments with minimal side effects.

CBD is non-psychoactive because it does not act on the same pathways as THC. These pathways, called CB1 receptors, are highly concentrated in the brain and are responsible for the mind-altering effects of THC.

A 2011 review published in Current Drug Safety concludes that CBD “does not interfere with several psychomotor and psychological functions.” The authors add that several studies suggest that CBD is “well tolerated and safe” even at high doses.

3. CBD has a wide range of medical benefits

Although CBD and THC act on different pathways of the body, they seem to have many of the same medical benefits. According to a 2013 review published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, studies have found CBD to possess the following medical properties:

Medical Properties of CBD Effects
Antiemetic Reduces nausea and vomiting
Anticonvulsant Suppresses seizure activity
Antipsychotic Combats psychosis disorders
Anti-inflammatory Combats inflammatory disorders
Anti-oxidant Combats neurodegenerative disorders
Anti-tumoral/Anti-cancer Combats tumor and cancer cells
Anxiolytic/Anti-depressant Combats anxiety and depression disorders

Unfortunately, most of this evidence comes from animals, since very few studies on CBD have been carried out in human patients.

But a pharmaceutical version of CBD was recently developed by a drug company based in the UK. The company, GW Pharmaceuticals, is now funding clinical trials on CBD as a treatment for schizophrenia and certain types of epilepsy.

Likewise, a team of researchers at the California Pacific Medical Center, led by Dr. Sean McAllister, has stated that they hope to begin trials on CBD as a breast cancer therapy.

4. CBD reduces the negative effects of THC

CBD seems to offer natural protection against the marijuana high. Numerous studies suggest that CBD acts to reduce the intoxicating effects of THC, such as memory impairment and paranoia.

CBD also appears to counteract the sleep-inducing effects of THC, which may explain why some strains of cannabis are known to increase alertness.

Both CBD and THC have been found to present no risk of lethal overdose. However, to reduce potential side effects, medical users may be better off using cannabis with higher levels of CBD.

5. CBD is still illegal

Even though CBD shows much promise as a medicine, it remains illegal in many parts of the world. CBD is classified as a Schedule I drug in the United States and a Schedule II drug in Canada.

On the other hand, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved a request to trial a pharmaceutical version of CBD in children with rare forms of epilepsy. The drug is made by GW Pharmaceuticals and is called Epidiolex.

According to the company, the drug consists of “more than 98 percent CBD, trace quantities of some other cannabinoids, and zero THC.” GW Pharmaceuticals makes another cannabis-based drug called Sativex, which has been approved in over 24 countries for treating multiple sclerosis.

A patent awarded to the U.S. Health and Human Services in 2003 (US6630507) also covers the use of CBD as a treatment for various neurodegenerative and inflammatory disorders.

What Are The Best CBD Oils And Strains?

New high-CBD varieties are constantly hitting the market, and it can be difficult to keep track of them all. To help you out, we’ve put together this handy list of all the CBD-rich strains in our database to help you see your options. Click the tile to navigate to the strain’s profile where you can learn more about its effects, medical benefits, and availability near you.

What is CBD, you might ask? CBD stands for cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabis constituent with a variety of studied benefits such as:
  • Pain relief
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-epileptic
  • Strengthens bones
  • Anti-nausea
  • Counteracting THC-induced anxiety

A strain can be high in THC, CBD, or a combination of the two. Both compounds have unique medicinal properties, some of which are amplified when both compounds are present (e.g. pain or nausea relief).

But keep in mind, while the strains below have a tendency to contain higher levels of CBD, not every harvest will demonstrate a CBD-rich chemical profile. Take Critical Mass and Warlock as examples. These strains can express a high THC profile with only minimal levels of CBD, but you also see instances in which the cannabinoid content is reversed. It all comes down to how a strain was bred and which characteristics the plant ends up expressing.

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