What are phytocannabinoids? Phytocannabinoids, or cannabinoids, are substances contained in marijuana plants. Scientists have been able to detect over a hundred of them, inside cannabis plants; they are particularly “attractive” for their therapeutic properties. The word “phyto”, which precedes them, means “plant”.
Phytocannabinoids, or cannabinoids, interact with the system of receptors that we possess within our body: the endocannabinoid system. This huge and complex system mainly has two types of receptors: CB1 and CB2, and both react and interact with cannabinoids, even those already present in our body, in different ways.
The question, “what are cannabinoids” can be answered by calling into question THC, which is one of the best-known cannabinoids, that is, the psychoactive compound of cannabis: this molecule also has potential healing effects (in case of pain, stomach in disorder, lack of appetite.
CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, also has numerous recognized positive effects and properties: anti-inflammatory, antispastic, painkiller, it is also used for the treatment of anxiety-related disorders such as anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder.
CBG, CBN, THCV, CBDV: they are other molecules of phytocannabinoids with multiple beneficial properties.
Cannabinoids are secondary metabolites produced by the cannabis plant; they are substances that contribute to the plant being healthy, and their effects and properties have been the subject of intense studies for some time. In addition to cannabidiol (CBD), there is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and there is CBG (Cannabigerol), all with really interesting properties. CBG, like CBD, is not psychotropic.
Therefore phytocannabinoids are cannabinoids of plant origin, produced by the Cannabis plant and contained in it. The set of active ingredients and substances contained in cannabis is called “phyto complex”: terpenes, chlorophylls, cannabinoids… In total, there are over eight hundred different molecules.
Phytocannabinoids, among which (as mentioned) we find THC and CBD, are within cannabis inflows in their inactive state. The pharmacist or those who for him, preparing drugs and compounds containing such molecules, activate their “ingredients” making them, precisely, active ingredients.
What are phytocannabinoids: benefits and properties
The beneficial effects of some well-known cannabinoids such as CBD have long been the subject of study. As far as cannabidiol is concerned, it is used as an analgesic, especially when cortisonics or opium-based drugs have proved ineffective; also as an antispastic, especially in case of serious diseases at the level of the nervous system (multiple sclerosis); antiemetic (against nausea and vomiting), with a variety of practical applications (nausea and vomiting associated with therapies, chemotherapies, HIV treatments). Cannabidiol is also known for its appetite-stimulating function; It also helps in a whole range of anxiety-induced disorders that often do not respond or respond badly to conventional therapies, such as panic attack disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive disorder and, according to some, social phobia.
How are phytocannabinoids taken?
Cannabinoids can be assumed by various forms. Generally, the administration can take place by inhalation but lasts in the short term. If taken orally, the effects take a little longer to manifest but persist over time. Then there is the administration by a topic. Cannabinoids are found in trichomes or crystals of the cannabis plant.
The endocannabinoid system: how it works
The endocannabinoid system, present in our organism, as we have said is composed of receptors; endocannabinoids are internal, present in our organism. They are lipids and bind to cannabinoid receptors; the most studied endocannabinoids are anandamide and 2-AG. Most deal with homeostasis (maintenance of balance) of our organism; that is why phytocannabinoids, for example, CBD or THC, by binding to the receptors present in our organism, give rise to a whole series of effects.
Another phytocannabinoid is CBN (Cannabinol). It results from incorrect storage of THC, for example, due to exposure to the wrong or excessive heat or sunlight.
Anandamide is one of the endocannabinoids we were talking about. It is responsible for our moods.
CBG (Cannabigerol) according to some is also more effective than Cannabidiol (CBD) in pain management: it is therefore used in cancer patients and patients who do not respond to normal therapies with painkillers. CBDV (Cannabidivarine) is another non-psychoactive cannabinoid; it has a lot in common with CBD and we are currently trying to find out more about its anticonvulsant properties.
Cannabinoids, phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids
So, to sum up: phytocannabinoids are the cannabinoids contained in the Cannabis plant. Endocannabinoids are cannabinoids contained within the human body.
Then there are synthetic cannabinoids, those produced in the laboratory: among them, to give an example, there is nabilone. Synthetic cannabinoids also have numerous therapeutic properties; they are used for the treatment of difficult pathologies and are artificially synthesized.
Diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, Tourette’s syndrome can find benefits from taking synthetic cannabinoids.
Endocannabinoids (those contained in our organism) bind to cannabinoid receptors inserted from the outside. Phytocannabinoids can supplement or counteract the effects of certain endocannabinoids, and in this sense change our organism and moods.
Studies of cannabis and its therapeutic properties have long multiplied, and the beneficial effects of some of its main phytocannabinoids (THC and Cannabidiol on the head) have been shown in all their splendour. When THC binds to the receptors present in our organism, it can stimulate our appetite, reduce pain or spasms, act as inflammatory as and better than aspirin. Another cannabinoid, Cannabichromene (CBD) has proven effective in counteracting tumour forms, and in addition, seems to stimulate the growth of brain cells. These are just some of the effects caused by the interaction of phytocannabinoids with the endocannabinoids present in our body. Studies on cannabis and phytocannabinoids are ongoing and are becoming increasingly full of implications.
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