Over recent years we have witnessed a mass surge of interest in cannabis and its cannabinoids. The cannabis plant has been in widespread use for centuries as alternative medicine, however, it wasn’t until the twentieth century that we became to understand why cannabis possessed such an abundance of healing powers.
Before cannabis prohibition began in the twentieth century, the plant had been in bountiful supply, particularly the species, Hemp. But what is it about cannabinoids? And why do they offer such an array of medical benefits?
Cannabinoids – The basics
Across the many species of the cannabis plant, there are two common and powerful variations of molecules – one being terpenes, the other is known as a cannabinoid. There are more than 100 confirmed cannabinoids present within the 40 thousand plus cannabis cultivars, and more is likely still to be discovered.
Within cannabis seeds, there are only three cannabinoids: The precursor and mother of all cannabinoids, CBGA (Cannabigerolic Acid), THCA (Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid), and CBDA (Cannabidiolic Acid).
After a process known as decarboxylation, the acidic cannabinoids neutralise, thus expanding the cannabinoid count. CBGA transforms into CBG (Cannabigerol), THCA becomes the infamous and intoxicating cannabinoid, THC – Delta 9 (Tetrahydrocannabinol), and CBDA transfers itself into the highly popular CBD (cannabidiol).
The many benefits of cannabinoids
The usage of cannabis as medicine has been well documented throughout history. Before cannabis was globally outlawed during the 1930s, cannabis-based medicines were common in a variety of medications.
Although the science behind cannabis’s healing powers was unknown, the plant was used as a viable medical solution for an array of conditions. The shift in molecular structure with each cannabinoid enables them to offer a diverse range of medicinal benefits.
The major cannabinoids
CBGA (Cannabigerolic Acid)
Regardless of the cannabis species, it all begins with CBGA, the “mother of all cannabinoids”. CBGA is the precursor of THCA, CBDA, CBCA, and CBG. In similar fashion to its descendants, CBGA possesses a cluster of therapeutic efficacy.
The most notable medicinal offering of CBGA is its ability to inhibit cancer cells as it is anti-proliferative. Furthermore, it is a powerful analgesic, antibacterial, and one of natures finest anti-inflammatory agents.
THCA (Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid)
When it comes to cannabinoid research, we have barely scratched the surface with regards to THCA. What we do know is that unlike THC, is that it is non-intoxicating. Over time, THCA gradually converts into THC. The process can be accelerated by decarboxylation – which can easily be achieved by smoking raw flower.
Early scientific studies have shown that THCA may prove to be effective in the treatment of lupus and arthritis, as THCA possesses anti-inflammatory agents. Additionally, THCA is neuroprotective, anti-emetic, and anti-proliferative.
CBDA (Cannabidiolic Acid)
A direct descendant from the mother of all cannabinoids, CBDA is the most common acidic cannabinoid present within the non-intoxicating cannabis species, hemp. CBDA is the acidic precursor to CBD and possesses properties such as anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anticonvulsant. It also shares a common trait of many other cannabinoids, by showcasing impressive results with the treatment of cancer.
CBCA (Cannabichromenic Acid)
Another cannabinoid that derives from the precursor and mother of all cannabinoids CBGA. At this present moment, further research is required to strongly suggest the specific healing powers of CBCA. However, we can undoubtedly anticipate further positive news for the science behind cannabinoids.
THC – Delta 9 (Tetrahydrocannabinol)
The infamous and stigmatised cannabinoid. THC is the driving factor behind cannabis being a recreational substance, due to its intoxicating effects. THC’s most impressive trait is its potential to cure cancer. Rick Simpson claims to have assisted with curing more than 5,000 individuals with his RSO (Rick Simpson Oil).
Scientific research backs up the claims that THC does, in fact, kill cancer cells. Despite that, further research is required to determine how and if THC is indeed the cure for cancer.
Medical cannabis was first legalised in California, in 1996, due to THC’s effectiveness with the treatment of glaucoma. Moreover, THC has proven to be effective for sufferers of both Parkinson’s and Multiple sclerosis. Additionally, THC’s medicinal efficacy has proven to be effective to treat the following:
Neuropathic and chronic pain
As with its non-identical twin – THC – THCV offers psychoactive properties and induce a “high”. However, its intoxicating effects are more subtle to that of THC and offer a rather uplifting experience. The major difference between these two molecules is its effect on one’s appetite; THCV may well prove to be an excellent dietary supplement as it suppresses the appetite, whereas the contrary effects of THC’s ability to induce hunger are well known.
When it comes to alternative medicine, THCV’s value may be equally important to that of the other major cannabinoids. THCV showcases the common cannabinoid characteristics as it can regulate blood sugar levels, reduce anxiety, and stimulate bone growth. In addition to that, scientific studies have proven that THCV may prove to be a viable medication for Alzheimer’s disease.
Over recent years the demand for CBD-based products has become insatiable. It is a common misconception that cannabidiol is non-psychoactive when in reality, it is. CBD has proven to be an impressive natural remedy for sufferers of anxiety and depression. With that, it technically is psychoactive as it alters the state of mind; the correct term would be that it is non-intoxicating.
CBD derives from CBDA after the process of decarboxylation and is one of the most common cannabinoids among the cannabis species. Its list of therapeutic offerings is staggering – as well as anxiety and depression, CBD is also a natural remedy for an array of skin conditions, epilepsy, inflammation, and has proven to be effective with the treatment of cancer.
It is important to note that despite glowing scientific reports with regards to CBD and cancer, that there is no scientific data suggesting it to be the cure. However, its ability to inhibit the growth of tumors, is a welcoming prospect for cancer research.
As suggested by its title, CBDV is similar to CBD in molecular structure. Likewise, CBDV possesses medicinal offerings that are similar to CBD. The varin version of CBD is not as common as its molecular sibling, but correspondingly, it too is more abundant in hemp.
It is reported that GW Pharmaceuticals is developing a CBDV-based drug, designed to treat seizures. Their first was Epidiolex, a CBD dominant pharmaceutical, created to treat two types of epilepsy: Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
A direct derivative of CBCA. CBC has proven to be effective for a variety of medical conditions. A powerful analgesic with anti-inflammatory properties, making it an ideal remedy for a host of medical. Its diversity also offers relief to anyone suffering from depression and dementia, as well as reduce the symptoms of acne.
The cannabinoid count continues to impress. If you can notice an emerging theme, CBC also has its varin equivalent, in CBCV.
Research on CBCV is still in its infancy. However, it is anticipated to follow the trend of other varin varieties. The case being that CBCV will show similar features to its close relation, CBC.
Just like its precursor, CBGA, CBG is often titled “the mother of all cannabinoids”. Together with other cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, further scientific research is a mouth-watering prospect. Many cannabis researchers consider CBG to be the most impressive cannabinoid with regards to medicinal efficacies.
CBG possesses an array of medicinal benefits similar to CBD. Moreover, scientific research has suggested that CBG may be highly effective with the treatment of HIV and Aids. Even though it is common amongst cannabis’s 40,000 plus cultivars, it generally comes in low quantities.
Just like its closely related cannabinoids, CBG and CBGA – CBGV is one of the most powerful of therapeutic molecules present within the cannabis plant. As with any dominant cannabinoid, CBG also has its varin equivalent, with only a slight variation in its molecular structure.
Although further research is required, CBGV may be the most potent. With most of the benefits of CBG and CBD – CBGV has also shown overwhelming results in scientific studies. In addition to its catalogue of benefits, CBGV binds well with CBD, further enhancing the effects of cannabidiol.
The most well-known trait of CBN is that it’s a powerful sedative. Its sleep-inducing effects are due to CBN’s close relationship with THC. As a result of oxidation, THC degrades to CBN.
Additionally, CBN also offers relief to sufferers of anxiety and PTSD. Furthermore, CBN acts as an anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antibacterial and is also a powerful analgesic.