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What Are Cannabinoids? An Overview

By MaryAnn Stanger ND  •  0 comments  •   6 minute read

What Are Cannabinoids? An Overview

Cannabinoids have evolved from a hidden gem in the health and wellness industry to a promising option for wellness. But what exactly are cannabinoids? They are naturally occurring compounds found in the Cannabis Sativa plant, which interact with our body's endocannabinoid system (ECS).

Cannabidiol (CBD), is a well-known cannabinoid that doesn't cause a high like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) does. Research suggests compounds like CBD could support overall health by promoting calm and managing discomfort.

However, it's crucial to approach the topic with an open mind and rely on reputable sources for information. Let's explore the potential benefits of these compounds and how they could improve our well-being.

Let’s begin.

Cannabinoids: What Are They?

Let's explore how cannabinoids might help our body maintain balance through the ECS. The ECS is like a control center in our body, regulating mood, appetite, and pain. Cannabinoids interact with the ECS, which could affect its function and improve our overall well-being.

Endocannabinoid system

Research suggests cannabinoids could influence the ECS to restore balance in certain situations. For example, they might help manage stress and emotional issues. Cannabinoids also seem to affect physical discomfort by interacting with specific ECS receptors. However, more research is needed to fully understand these effects.

Being cautious when considering cannabinoids for health issues is essential. Always seek guidance from healthcare professionals who can offer personalized advice based on individual needs and ensure safety and effectiveness.


What Are The Different Types of Cannabinoids?

You might have heard extensively about CBD and THC, but did you know about CBG, CBC, and CBN?

These cannabinoids are also theorized to play important roles within the ECS. Here, we will explore in-depth these different types, starting with THC and CBD:

1. THC (Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol): THC is the primary psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis. THC is responsible for the euphoric “high” associated with marijuana use. THC interacts with cannabinoid receptors in the brain and can have various effects.

Taking THC can cause relaxation, altered perception, increased appetite, and potential relief from physical discomfort. However, it can also cause side effects such as anxiety, paranoia, and impaired coordination.

2. CBD (Cannabidiol): CBD is the most well-known and has gained significant attention for its potential therapeutic uses. Unlike THC, CBD does not produce a psychoactive effect. It has shown promise in possibly assisting with physical discomfort relief and mental imbalance reduction. CBD is available in various forms, including oils, tinctures, capsules, and topicals.

3. CBG (Cannabigerol): CBG is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid from which all others stem. CBG is usually present in low concentrations in cannabis plants. Preliminary research suggests that CBG may also have potential therapeutic effects for humans and animals.

4. CBC (Cannabichromene): CBC is another non-psychoactive cannabinoid more prevalent in younger cannabis plants. It does not bind well with cannabinoid receptors in the ECS but may influence other receptors in the body.

Research indicates that CBC may provide similar health benefits as THC, CBD, and CBG. It may also enhance the overall effects when combined with other cannabinoids.

5. CBN (Cannabinol): CBN is a cannabinoid that is typically found in aged cannabis. CBN is mildly psychoactive but less potent than THC. Many believe that CBN has calming properties and may help with mental discomfort, but more research is needed to confirm these claims.

The therapeutic effects and potential benefits of these cannabinoids are still being studied. Researchers need to conduct more studies to fully understand the treatment's mechanisms of action and efficacy. For your health, always talk to a doctor before using products with cannabinoids.


How to Maximize the Benefits of Cannabinoids

Can you optimize cannabinoid efficacy? Yes, definitely. Optimizing cannabinoids’ health benefits responsibly requires following some foolproof tips, such as:

Consulting with a Healthcare Professional: Before incorporating cannabinoids into your wellness routine, consulting with a healthcare professional is always in your best interest. They can provide personalized advice based on your health condition, medications, and potential interactions.

Choosing Quality CBD Products: When selecting CBD products, prioritize quality and reputable brands. Look for products that undergo third-party testing to ensure purity, potency, and absence of contaminants. Also, opt for products derived from organically grown hemp to minimize exposure to pesticides and other harmful substances.

Starting with Low Dosages: If you’re new to cannabinoids, it’s wise to start with low dosages and gradually increase as needed. This approach allows you to assess how your body responds to these compounds and minimize the risk of adverse effects. To receive the desired effects, you must follow the product's recommended dosage guidelines.

Considering Full-Spectrum CBD (more on this later): Top-quality full-spectrum CBD products contain a range of beneficial compounds, including CBD, THC (within legal limits), terpenes, and flavonoids.

Research suggests these compounds may work synergistically, resulting in the “entourage effect.” However, it’s important to be aware of local laws and regulations regarding THC content before you even attempt to click the Add to Cart button.

Spectrum CBD oil full of cannabinoids

To enhance the bioavailability and effectiveness of cannabinoids, you can also consider the following practices:

  • Sublingual Administration: CBD oil or tinctures taken sublingually (under the tongue) allow the product to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream, bypassing the digestive system. Hold the oil under your tongue for about 60 seconds before swallowing for optimal absorption.
  • Incorporate Fatty Foods: Cannabinoids are fat-soluble compounds. Consuming them with healthy fats, such as avocado, nuts, or olive oil, may possibly enhance their absorption. However, when incorporating them into your diet, be mindful of potential interactions between cannabinoids and certain medications (such as blood pressure medicine[GC1]).
  • Consider Topical Applications: For localized relief, consider using doctor-formulated CBD topicals, such as creams, lotions, or balms, which can be applied directly to the skin. This method allows cannabinoids to interact with receptors in the skin and muscles, providing targeted benefits.

Everyone’s response to cannabinoids can vary, so it’s always useful to listen to your body and adjust accordingly. By following these guidelines and seeking professional advice, you can make the most out of cannabinoids while promoting your overall well-being.

Does Full-Spectrum CBD Have the Highest Cannabinoid Content?

Full-spectrum CBD contains many cannabinoids, including levels of THC and other helpful compounds. While it does have a higher cannabinoid content than other CBD extracts, it is important to understand the differences.

With that in mind, here are a few things that you need to know about full-spectrum CBD:

Cannabinoid Content: Full-spectrum CBD extracts undergo less processing and retain a broader range of cannabinoids. The more cannabis compounds present, the better the results will be. This is often referred to as the “entourage effect.”

Enhanced Therapeutic Benefits: While the legally allowed amount of THC in full-spectrum CBD products is quite low at only 0.3%, there are limited studies that suggest it may contribute to a wider range of health benefits.

The THC content in full-spectrum CBD is limited to legal levels and may not produce intoxicating effects. Some consumers should start with a low dose because they are more THC-sensitive than others.

Targeted Effects: Full-spectrum CBD is more suitable for individuals seeking a natural approach to their well-being. Those addressing specific concerns may benefit from a wider range of cannabinoids and other plant compounds. However, individuals subject to regular drug testing or those sensitive to THC should consider alternative CBD options.

Legal Considerations: The legality of THC-containing products varies across jurisdictions. To ensure compliance with local laws, it is important to familiarize yourself with the regulations in your specific region.

While full-spectrum CBD offers a comprehensive cannabinoid profile, it may not be suitable for everyone. Individuals with THC sensitivities, certain medical conditions, or those seeking to avoid any risk of psychoactive effects may prefer high-quality, broad-spectrum CBD or CBD isolate products.

Different types of CBD products

To make an informed decision about using full-spectrum CBD, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide personalized advice based on your specific needs and circumstances.

Takeaways: Are Cannabinoids Good for You?

The short answer is: It depends.

Based on preliminary research, cannabinoids, such as CBD, have shown great potential for certain health benefits. However, more studies are needed to fully understand the effects on human health.

While some individuals may find cannabinoids beneficial for managing certain conditions, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional before using cannabinoids or CBD products, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications. They can provide personalized guidance and help you make informed decisions based on your circumstances.

Be cautious of large health claims and rely on reputable information sources and cannabis products when evaluating the potential benefits of cannabinoids in daily life.

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