Education

Where’s the Medicine

Cannabis, marijuana, weed, ganja, bud…whatever name you use, I think we’re all clear that it is a plant with awesome medicinal properties.  What you may not know is where all of this awesome-sauce comes from and how it all works together; so, let’s fix that.

Trichome
Trichomes Photo credit: High Times

Let’s start by addressing what I think is a big misconception.  Most think the leaves and the buds are the key components of the plant.  Actually, it’s the tiny, clear stalks found on the smaller leaves and flowers of the female plant that are the stars of the show – the trichomes.  These mushroom-looking structures contain the following compounds that work together to give cannabis its medicinal effects.

Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds produced by the cannabis plant that act on the cannabinoid receptors in our cells.  While over 200 cannabinoids have been identified, let’s examine these four: THC, CBD, CBG and CBC.

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)

This is the only cannabinoid that is psychoactive or makes you feel high.  It is also the cannabinoid that interacts with both receptors in the brain and central nervous system and those found in the immune and peripheral nervous systems.

Uses/Benefits

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Pain reliever
  • Reduces nervous system damage
  • Reduce eye pressure (glaucoma)
  • Reduces muscle spasms and tension
  • Stimulates appetite
  • Reduces nausea/vomiting
  • Helps promote sleep

CBD (Cannabidiol)

This is the primary non-psychoactive cannabinoid-it does not make you high.  It primarily interacts with the cw-hemp-product-1receptors in the immune system and peripheral nervous system.  Ohio recently outlawed the sale of all CBD products (you can still buy it at Whole Foods and Fresh Thyme Market, though); however, in most places, CBD is legal to purchase without a medical card as long as the THC content is less than 0.3%.

CBD was how I began incorporating cannabis into my self-care habits.  It was part of my nightly routine which helped me relax, calm my thoughts and get a good night’s sleep.

Uses/Benefits

  • Counteracts the psychoactive effects of THC
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Pain reliever
  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-convulsant
  • Reduces nervous system damage
  • Anti-anxiety
  • Reduces muscle spasms
  • Reduces tumor cell growth
  • Regulates insulin

CBC (Cannabichromene) and CBG (Cannabigerol)

While you may be familiar with THC and CBD, CBC and CBG are probably new to you.  Both are also non-psychoactive and show promise in their abilities to reduce/eliminate anxiety, stress and promote bone growth.

Terpenes

Terpenes are the compounds in the trichomes the give cannabis (and other plants) its smell and taste.  There are more than 200, below are eight along with their medicinal properties.

Terpene

Medicinal Properties

Beta-caryophyllene (black pepper) strong anti-inflammatory; anti-anxiety
Humulene (basil) appetite suppressant; anti-inflammatory; pain relief; anti-tumor
Limonene (lemons) alertness; elevated mood; anti-depressant; anti-inflammatory; anti-tumor; increases effects of CBD and THC
Linalool (lavender) pain relief; anti-anxiety; sedative; anticonvulsant
Myrcene (hops) euphoria; relaxing effect; anti-oxidant; anti-inflammatory; muscle relaxant; pain reliever; anti-tumor; enhances effects of sedative drugs
Ocimene (allspice) antibacterial; balancing
Pinene (pine) alertness; aids memory; euphoria; uplifting; bronchodilator; anti-bacterial; anti-inflammatory; anti-tumor activity
Terpinolene (tea tree) antibacterial; anti-tumor; mental stimulant

Flavonoids

Flavonoids give fruits and vegetables their color.  In cannabis, flavonoids possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immune system boosting properties.

With all of these components and their various uses and benefits, it may feel overwhelming to think about what to use, how to use it, and how much of one component versus another.  Know that these compounds are combined via the various methods of administration. Also, people like Budtenders, resources like this page and strain guides are available to help you choose the best combinations based on your needs and desired effects (feeling high IS optional).

 

 

 

 

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