JANE Education- Cannabinoids, Terpenes, and the Endocannabinoid System

Oct 21, 2022 at 12:08 pm
Cannabinoids and terpenes affect your endocannabinoid system. That’s a lot of big words but it’s pretty simple when we break it down for you. This article will teach you about cannabinoids and terpenes and show how they affect systems in your body to give you desired results.

What Are Cannabinoids And How Do They Affect The Endocannabinoid System?

Cannabinoids are the natural compounds found in cannabis. They interact with receptors in a person’s body known as the human endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system signals cells, particularly in the areas of pleasure, appetite, sleep, and memory. The ECS receives messages from the cannabis to release dopamine. Dopamine is the chemical that stimulates pleasure and relaxation. Conversely, cannabinoids from cannabis control how frequently messages are sent, the quantity of messages, and how they are received and processed. Simply put, this means that the natural products of marijuana are processed in the human body and work together to produce certain desired effects.

THC and CBD are the most widely known cannabinoids but there are hundreds found in cannabis. Both THC and CBD attach to receptors in the ECS to give the user beneficial effects. They react similarly despite being two different compounds.
THC is the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana and is the reason a person feels “high”. It’s found in higher concentrations in some strains than others. Typically, it is found in Sativa plants and Sativa hybrids. THC also affects the neurotransmitters in your brain. It helps decrease pain, enhances mood, controls seizures, improves sleep, and more.

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CBD also works with neurotransmitters in the brain. Although it doesn’t cause a user to feel “high”, it does have very beneficial effects. Consumers with health problems such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, MS and cancer can benefit from products containing high CBD concentrations. It also helps with insomnia, nausea, chronic anxiety and other conditions. CBD is found in higher concentrations in Indica plants and Indica hybrids.

Cannabinoids work best together, known as the “Entourage effect”. As a result, products with both THC and CBD (or products labeled “full spectrum”) tend to work better than one strain alone. However, terpenes also play a large role with how a consumer feels with each strain. As a result, it’s essential to know what they are.

Terpenes are the chemicals that give everything their smell, from the smell of freshly baked apple pie to the smell of different strains of marijuana. In terms of cannabis, they help determine whether the plant is an Indica, Sativa, or hybrid strain. With over 20,000 terpenes in existence, it’s interesting that marijuana has over 100 of them. They are mostly located in the leaves and flowers of the marijuana plant. Terpenes have different pharmacological effects, from making the user feel sleepy to promoting artistic energy. The “terpene profile” makes up the strain’s THC/CBD content. The more potent the terpene is, the more potent the weed usually is. It is essentially the fingerprint of the strain. Terpenes are part of the cannabis profile and help differentiate potency and strain.

Terpenes are also important because they create a synergistic effect with cannabinoids. This enhances the beneficial and unique properties of cannabis. Some of these positive results include increasing blood flow, killing pathogens in the lungs, and reducing inflammation. A report in 2011 in the British Journal of Pharmacology reported that cannabinoid-terpene interactions could “produce synergy with respect to the treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal and bacterial infections” (Dr. Russo).

Cannabis is often used to assist with the conditions listed above. For more information on medical marijuana qualifications, click here. To apply for a medical marijuana card, click here.

Studies on cannabinoids and terpenes show beneficial effects for users suffering from a variety of conditions. To learn the difference between strains such as indica vs. sativa and the different sensations they give, click here.