Research done on cannabis plants and minor cannabinoids is still quite young. It wasn’t until the 2018 Farm Bill that allowed for the hemp plant to be pulled from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of controlled substances.
Signing this into legislation allowed for an expansion of the sale and study of hemp products across state lines.
There are still serious restrictions on hemp, such as the plant not being able to contain more than 0.3 percent THC. If it does, it is considered marijuana, which is treated differently depending on state legislation.
Despite these legal battles, research has been booming on cannabis products. There are at least 113 types of cannabinoids, revealing how little we know about these plants.
Keep reading for information on minor cannabinoids and the future of cannabis research.
Cannabinoids and the Human Body
Have you ever wondered why cannabis has a psychoactive and therapeutic effect on its users? It’s because the human body already produces its own cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids.
We have an endogenous cannabinoid system, or endocannabinoid system (ECS). It is a network of cell receptors that interact with cannabinoids.
The two known receptors are CB1 (primarily in the brain) and CB2 (primarily in the immune system). Our endocannabinoids are structurally analogous to the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. This allows the two to bind together, creating the psychoactive/therapeutic effects.
What Are Minor Cannabinoids?
THC and CBD are the major cannabinoids that are known to interact with our cell receptors. Research has shown us that there is much more to be found in the cannabis plant.
Minor cannabinoids are less abundant in the plant but are still very important molecules. They have the potential to become organic medicines with promising therapeutic effects:
CBG is considered to be the “mother of cannabinoids.” This is because it is the first cannabinoid produced early in the plant’s growth cycle. All other cannabinoids are derived from CBG.
This cannabinoid is much like CBD, in which it does not induce a “high” the way that THC does. There is less than 1 percent of CBG in most cannabis plants and is showing promising results for medical usage.
Δ8 THC (Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol)
The THC that is enjoyed recreationally for the psychoactive effects is Δ9 THC. But another one is getting recognized, as it is only different by a few molecular bonds.
Δ8 THC is less psychoactive than Δ9 THC when smoking. It is said to produce a clear-headed high that induces body relaxation. It also shows promising medicinal benefits.
CBC is another non-psychoactive cannabinoid, like CBD. The difference is that CBC does not affect THC’s psychoactive elements, unlike CBD. In fact, CBC and THC work well in enhancing anti-inflammatory activity within the body.
This is what researchers have been calling the “ensemble effect.” It argues that isolated extractions of cannabinoids are not helpful to study because it eliminates the possibility of inter-cannabinoid relationships.
Time Will Tell
These are only a few of the many minor cannabinoids found in recent years. Considering the research is still young, there is still much to be found in the world of cannabis and medicine.
The future of anti-inflammatory activity is promising, and who knows what effects these other types of cannabinoids will produce? Stay tuned!
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