If you’ve landed on this page, you’ve probably already figured out which products you like and why. And while we hope you know that we’re always here to help guide you in your journey, if you don’t need any help that’s OK too.
With that said, we know that fine-tuning your cannabis experience is a lifelong endeavor so we put together this section to talk about the nuts and bolts of the cannabis plant for the Expert user. We truly hope you learn something, because the better we understand the components of cannabis as a whole, the more effectively (and safely) we can implement it in our own lives.
Deep Dive on Cannabis
We know that THC gets you high, and CBD does wonders for inflammation, but where do these Cannabinoids come from? Why do different strains smell and taste differently? And why does my body react the way it does when I smoke?
After peeling back all of the metaphorical layers of the cannabis plant, we are left with the final secret and the answer to all these questions. The beautiful crystals that you’ve no doubt noticed on the surface of cannabis are called Trichomes - this is where the magic happens. Trichomes are resin glands on the surface of the cannabis plant that naturally serve as a defense mechanism against insects and other animals. Luckily for us, these little glands contain all the Cannabinoids and Terpenes - two compounds that yield amazing effects in humans.
Endocannabinoids are naturally synthesized chemical compounds that can be found in all humans, however, the Cannabinoids that you’ll find in cannabis are called Phytocannabinoids. You’ve likely heard of the most common Phytocannabinoids - THC and CBD, but there are several that are lesser known, such as THC-A, THC-V, CBG, CBN, and CBC. Each Cannabinoid has its own effects and benefits, which we explore a bit below.
In addition to Cannabinoids, Trichomes are also the source of Terpenes - the unsung heroes of cannabis. Terpenes are aromatic oils found naturally in many plants; they’re responsible for giving cannabis its distinct scent in addition to many of the physiological effects. The fact that Terpenes differ from strain to strain is precisely what gives each its unique flavor profile and effects.
We’ve put together a list of some of the more prevalent Terpenes in cannabis as well as their physiological effects and scent profiles. Have a look!
When used in combination with THC, Terpenes have been shown to enhance the effects of cannabis, in what is known as the Entourage Effect. The phenomenon comes about as a result of the synergies between different compounds in cannabis, and when ingested together, it is proposed that the effects are greater than any one on their own. It should be noted the Entourage Effect has not been studied rigorously; early research is ongoing but results have been positive.
Your Endocannabinoid System
The system in our bodies that interacts with the Cannabinoids you ingest is known as the Endocannabinoid System (ECS for short). In addition to the Cannabinoids we ingest, as we mentioned earlier, we naturally produce Endocannabinoids that interact with our ECS every day. A postsynaptic neuron stimulates their release, and then they travel across a small gap called a synapse to attach to the Cannabinoid receptors on a nearby presynaptic neuron. This is a central component of our overall health, as well as the healing process of every human and almost every animal on the planet.
The ECS helps regulate a variety of bodily and mental processes; many of which are vitally important to our everyday lives. Including our appetite, pain-sensation, mood, memory, fertility, pregnancy, pre- and postnatal development, and of course, interacting with the cannabis we ingest. Simply put, your ECS is a unique communications system in the brain and body that affects how you feel, move, and react to external stimuli. When it comes to the cannabis we ingest, there are two receptors within our ECS that bind with Cannabinoids, these are simply named CB1, and CB2. CB1 and CB2 receptors are each spread throughout our bodies, but together, they make up the ECS.
CB1 receptors are located in the brain, central nervous system, connective tissues (e.g. the cartilage in our nose and ears), and some organs (e.g. our spleens). THC binds closely to the CB1 receptor, and this can result in the suppression of pain, nausea, and even depression while also promoting feelings of euphoria.
CB2 receptors, on the other hand, are found mostly in the immune and gastrointestinal system. When you ingest Cannabinoids such as CBD and CBGA, they bind with your CB2 receptors, which has been shown to offer pain relief for those with inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis or Crohn’s.
There’s been a lot of confusion over the years about the cannabis plant. Fortunately, we’re starting to see the public perception change to one of careful consideration, rather than fear mongering. Through continued education, we can help the community and ourselves respect and use cannabis responsibly. We hope you’ve learned something, but either way, drop us a line and let us know what you thought of our Cannabis Crash Course.