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Beginner’s Guide to Cannabinoids

Cannabis is sparking a revolution in healthcare, offering a gentle, all-natural and sustainable alternative to pharmaceuticals. But many of us still aren’t quite sure how this remarkable plant works with our bodies to combat chronic symptoms and diseases. If you’d like to understand more about cannabis and what it can do for you, we’d love to share what we know. And if you’re science-averse, have no fear: we promise to keep it heavy on facts but light on jargon. Read on for an introduction to the wonderful world of cannabinoids!

Cannabinoids: Marijuana’s “Active Ingredients”

While most pharmaceuticals deliver a single, highly targeted medication, cannabis is unique in that it contains not one or two but dozens of medicines. They’re called “cannabinoids,” and it’s useful to think of them as the cannabis plant’s most important “active ingredients.” They’re a class of natural compounds that work in close synergy with our bodies. So far, some 113 cannabinoids have been identified in the cannabis plant.

You’ve probably heard about the two most important and abundant of them: THC and CBD, short for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol, respectively. So far as we’re aware, THC is the only cannabinoid responsible for the cannabis plant’s psychoactivity, or the “high” associated with ingesting cannabis. But that’s not all it does. THC can help us manage pain and insomnia and can help soothe nausea and diminished appetite.

For its part, CBD exhibits a variety of very useful effects, including anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving and anxiety-fighting properties. It’s helpful in treating some notoriously difficult-to-manage conditions such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, and because it’s non-psychoactive, it’s great for treating children or others who shouldn’t be exposed to psychoactivity.

What about those other 111 cannabinoids? Many of them are still under intense study, and it will likely be some time yet before we can identify their effects with certainty. While we can’t predict the future, we wouldn’t be surprised if cannabinol (CBN) came into vogue for treating anxiety and insomnia, cannabigerol (CBG) is deployed as an antibacterial, or cannabichromene (CBC) becomes used for everything from controlling acne to promoting healthy brain function.

Cannabinoids: Finding the Right Cannabis Using Ratios

Because cannabis contains so many cannabinoids, it would quickly get overwhelming to try and describe products with their complete cannabinoid profile! Instead, the most useful way to talk about a particular variety or strain of cannabis is to describe it in terms of  its ratio of THC to CBD

For instance, a cannabis product having two times as much THC as CBD would be labeled as “2:1 THC to CBD.” This cannabis would likely be quite psychoactive, and possibly not what you’re seeking as a daytime anti-inflammatory, for instance.

Conversely, a cannabis product described as “18:1 CBD to THC” would exhibit little psychoactivity and a strong anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety effect.

As we promised, this is only an introduction to cannabinoids. Keep your eyes on our blog for future helpful articles, and if you’d like to know more right now, just ask! We’d love to tell you more about cannabinoids, using ratios, or any other topic in the wide world of cannabis!