THC is the primary psychoactive component of Cannabis and is also the most common phytocannabinoid found in Cannabis. THC has been reported as being an effective painkiller and muscle relaxant (Pacher et al., 2006). THC has been show to act as a bronchodilator, decreasing resistance in the airways and increasing airflow into the lungs (Williams et al., 1976). THC has also been reported as having 20x the anti-inflammatory power of aspirin and twice the anti-inflammatory power of hydrocortisone (Evans, 1991; Russo, 2008). In human clinical trials, THC has been demonstrated as an effective treatment for several conditions including multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic pain, inflammation, nausea, and more.
CBD is the second most common cannabinoid in medical Cannabis and is the most common cannabinoid present in fiber hemp Cannabis plants (Russo, 2011). CBD has a unique ability to reduce the effects of THC by quieting the CB1 receptor while THC is binding to it (Thomas et al., 2007). CBD has been shown to display a wide variety of medicinally beneficial effects in human, animal and in vitro research models. CBD has been reported to exhibit anti-anxiety and anticonvulsant effects as well as the ability to reduce acne bacteria (Russo et al. 2005; Jones et al., 2010; Russo, 2011). CBD exhibits affects primarily through other receptor types in the body other than cannabinoid receptors, like vanilloid, adenosine, serotonin, and GPR55 receptors.
CBN is a degradation product of THC, not actually synthesized in the plant itself, and is commonly found in higher quantities in older Cannabis samples (Merzouki and Mesa, 2002). It has been indicated as a sedative and seems to only be active in the presence of THC (Musty et al., 1976; Russo, 2011). CBN, like CBD, has also demonstrated anticonvulsant effects (Turner et al., 1980). And, like THC, it has demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects (Evans, 1991).
CBG has been shown to exhibit anti-fungal (ElSohly et al., 1982), antidepressant, and painkiller effects (Russo, 2011). It is thought of as the “parent” phytocannabinoid because CBGa goes on to synthesize into THCa, CBDa, and CBCa. CBG and its precursor CBGa are also found in a particular variety of Herichrysum flower from south Africa and is synthesized in the plant totally differently!
CBC has been shown to reduce THC intoxication (Hatoum et al., 1981) by antagonizing CB1 receptors, like CBD. It has also displayed anti-inflammatory (Wirth et al., 1980) and painkilling properties (Davis and Hatoum, 1983). CBC has been shown to produce powerful antidepressant effects in rodent studies (Deyo and Musty, 2003). CBC is also a noted antifungal and antibiotic (ElSohly et al., 1982).
THCv can be psychoactive in high dosages, but less so than delta-9 THC, although the effects may come on more quickly (Hollister, 1974; Gill et al., 1970). Rather than stimulating the appetite, THCv can actually suppress the appetite (Russo, 2011; Cawthorne et al., 2007; Riedel et al., 2009). In rodent models, THCv showed anticonvulsant effects (Hill et al., 2010).
CBDv has been receiving a lot of attention lately for its potential as an anti-epileptic agent (Hill et al, 2013). It exhibits its effects without stimulating CB1 receptors, which is attractive to health care professionals that want to avoid psychoactive side effects. CBDv is also a vanilloid receptor agonist, stimulating the TRPV-1 receptor (Ianotti et al, 2014). Researchers are currently at work trying to understand how the Cannabis plant produces CBDv so that it may be bred into future generations of Cannabis plants.
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