By: Chad Davis

 

 

While marijuana is traditionally known for its recreational usage, the Cannabis plant also holds many potential health benefits. The human body has receptors specially-designed for cannabinoids — the chemical compounds found in the Cannabis plant. Scientists recently discovered that cannabinoids are produced naturally in the human body, known as the endocannabinoid system, and induce physiological change by binding with specific receptors.

Marijuana contains many different cannabinoids which can be enhanced through a variety of extraction and cultivation processes. Each cannabinoid affects the body differently depending on its molecular makeup. There are over 85 cannabinoids found in the Cannabis plant; however, only a handful of cannabinoids have undergone scientific and pharmaceutical research.

 

 

THC

Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the most popular cannabinoid consumed for recreational purposes due to its classic “high” effects on your body. The psychoactive effects of THC are often prescribed by doctors as a pain killer or appetite stimulant. THC is the cannabinoid responsible for giving you the ‘munchies’. THC is also known to suppress muscle spasms, nausea and vomiting.

You can find THC extracts in the brand name drug, Sativex — an orally administered mouth spray. Sativex is developed by the British biopharmaceutical company, GW Pharmaceuticals, to treat patients suffering from multiple sclerosis and other severe neurological conditions. Sativex is currently in phase three clinical trials to alleviate cancer-related pain.

 

CBD

While many different cannabinoids are studied for their health benefits, Cannabidiol — or CBD — offers the widest range of health benefits. In the state of Colorado, cannabis-infused products are enhanced with CBD to amplify its medical applications — specifically in the form of marijuana concentrates, such as edibles, ointments and tinctures.

The FDA granted GW Pharmaceuticals permission to begin phase two clinical trials for highly purified liquid CBD formulas under the product name Epidiolex. The treatment focuses on patients with pediatric epilepsy syndromes. Last year, Tikun Olam, an Israeli medical Cannabis facility, patented the “first CBD-enriched cannabis plant with no THC” for treating a variety of diseases, including arthritis, diabetes and heart disease. GW’s Sativex drug contains a one to one ratio of CBD and THC.

 

THC-V

Tetrahydrocannabivarin, also known as THC-V or THV, is a homologue of THC that occurs naturally in the Cannabis plant. The cannabinoid is inactive and doesn’t provoke any psychoactive “high” effects. THC-V has many potential health benefits, including bone growth stimulation, seizure reduction and appetite suppression.

GW Pharmaceuticals is currently studying THC-V for its ability to treat metabolic diseases. GW’s research suggests that THC-V is an effective appetite suppressor and inhibits the effects of THC. Bethenny Frankel, founder of Skinnygirl, is in the process of releasing her “munchie-less” strain of marijuana in the four U.S. states where recreational Cannabis is currently legal.

 

CBN

Known for its sedative-like effects on the human body, Cannabinol — or CBN — is commonly used to treat muscle spasms in medical patients. The cannabinoid can induce sleep and help combat harmful bacterial infections. Researchers at Steep Hill Lab are studying CBN for its ability to sedate with relatively low consumption levels compared to popular pharmaceutical sedatives, such as Diazepam.

 

THC-A

The cannabinoid known as Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, or THC-A, is the biosynthetic precursor for THC. This acidic form of the cannabinoid has zero psychoactive effects on the human body. THC-A can help fight a variety of health conditions and is medically prescribed for a many treatments, including antiemetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-prostate cancer and neuroprotection.