Cannabis & Endocannabinoid System CBD, CBG, Delta 9, Delta 8
The Endocannabinoid System
The body is made of many systems. One very important system is an internal regulatory system known as the endocannabinoid system. Cannabis is able to stimulate this system by introducing cannabinoids (ie: THC, CBD), that bind to receptors in our body’s cells and produce a variety of therapeutic effects. The endocannabinoid system helps regulate the nervous and immune systems via a complex group of molecules and receptors. This receptor system, thought to be the largest in the body, helps maintain many essential physiological processes including appetite, memory, blood pressure, inflammation, immunity, and pain sensation among others. Scientists believe the endocannabinoid system first evolved in primitive animals more than six hundred million years ago.
Terpenes are the plants essential oils. More than 2 hundred terpenes have been identified in the cannabis plant, and every strain of cannabis possesses its own unique terpene type and composition to give it its distinct fragrance, flavor and feeling.
The diversity of flavors in cannabis is impressive enough, but, arguably, the most fascinating characteristic of terpenes is their ability to interact synergistically with the cannabinoids in the plant to create an entourage effect of pharmacological benefits.
Some terpenes bind to the same receptor sites as cannabinoids, affecting their chemical output. Others can modify how much THC passes through to your brain. Their hand of influence even reaches to neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, by altering their rate of production and destruction, their movement, and the availability of receptors.
The entourage effect: The whole plant is greater than its parts.
- Delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis. It is responsible for the “high” effect, and much of the plant’s therapeutic properties. THC is found in 9 variations, with slight differences in chemical structure (ex. THCV and THCA).
- Cannabidiol (CBD) is nonpsychoactive, but it has tremendous medical potential. When the correct ratio of CBD to THC is applied to treat a specific condition, it can be particularly effective. CBD also has a marked affinity for serotonin receptors, which are associated with psychological well-being.
- Cannabidiol (CBN) is a mildly psychoactive cannabinoid produced by the degradation of THC after it is harvested. Most fresh cannabis contains very low levels of CBD, but curing, poor storage, or processing can cause the THC content to be oxidized into CBN, creating a sedative effect known as “couch lock.”
- Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA) is the most dominant compound in fresh, undried cannabis. It is the acid form of THC with a carboxyl group (-CO2H or –COOH) attached. When cannabis is burned, vaporized, or heated to a certain temperature, this carboxyl group is removed, thereby converting the THCA into THC. This activation process is called decarboxylation. Although THCA has nonpsychoactive effects, it possesses many therapeutic effects.
- Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is a variant of THC. It is believed to be an appetite suppressant, and can have sedative effects, making it useful for the reduction of panic attacks. Although THCV’s psychoactivity appears to be less than THC, it is usually associated with extremely potent cannabis.
- Cannabigerol (CBG) is a nonpsychoactive cannabinoid that is the parent cannabinoid to THC and CBD. Not all strains contain CBG, but, in the ones that do, the CBG starts to convert to THC and CBD as the plant matures. To capture it, the flower must be harvested during the early stages of flowering.
- Cannabichromene (CBC) is potentially one of the most important cannabinoids. Cells responsible for memory and learning are continuously made via a process called neurogenesis, and CBC is found to increase the viability of those cells.
- Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA) is a nonpsychoactive cannabinoid believed to have anti-inflammatory properties. Similar to THCA, CBDA can be converted to CBD through decarboxylation. The largest quantities of CBDA are found in the raw (unheated, uncured) flowers of CBD-rich plants.
- Cannabidivarin (CBDV) is a close relative of CBD. Studies have shown promise for its use in treating epilepsy.
Longer Onset: When you smoke or vape cannabis, you can feel the effects within minutes…Because of the way ingested cannabis is metabolized, the effect of edibles can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to hit and in some cases even longer. Because you can’t feel the effects right away when you ingest cannabis, it can be easy to overdo. As you embark on your edibles journey, a good rule of thumb is start low, go slow. Ingested cannabis produces a longer-lasting high that can last from 3 to 7 hours, sometimes more depending on the dose.
It is a more intense high—when you smoke cannabis, THC is absorbed through your lungs and travels to your brain to get you high. When you ingest cannabis, that same THC travels through the stomach and is metabolized in the liver, which then allows it to cross the blood-brain barrier more effectively, resulting in a more intense high.
How to Enjoy Edibles—When experimenting with edibles, start with a small amount, wait up to 2 hours to gauge its effect, then decide if you want to eat more. Edibles are notoriously difficult to dose consistently-even with professionally packaged edibles, you can have two different products, both touting the same dosage, that feel very different. If you want to be cautious, it’s not a bad idea to repeat this exercise each time you try a new batch of edibles.
Everyone reacts differently to ingested cannabis. Your body weight and metabolism play a part, as does your tolerance level (smoking tolerance, by the way, is different from edibles tolerance), and variables such as whether you consume it on an empty stomach.
If you have never experimented with edibles before, we recommend starting with a 1-to 5-mg THC dose. If you occasionally dabble, or have a moderate tolerance, you may prefer a dose of 5 to 10 mg of THC. Once you learn how edibles affect you, you can set and adjust your dose as needed to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.If you overdo it, relax, breathe!