UNDERSTANDING CBD & THC
WHAT ARE CANNABINOIDS?
A cannabinoid is any chemical substance, regardless of its origin or structure, that binds to cannabinoid receptors that exist throughout the body, including the brain. Cannabinoids produced by the body have similar effects to those produced by the plant Cannabis sativa L.
Before we dive deeper into cannabinoids, it might be helpful to know the difference between different types of cannabinoids:
ENDO - in endocannabinoids, means internal; within, referring to the cannabinoids we produce on our own inside our bodies. Endocannabinoids are produced by almost every organism in the animal kingdom. Anandamide and 2-AG are recognized as the two major endocannabinoids produced throughout the body.
PHYTO - in phytocannabinoids, means of a plant; relating to plants, referring to the cannabinoids produced in the plant. In addition to the phytocannabinoids Δ9-THC and CBD, it is estimated that the cannabis plant consists of over 400 chemical entities, of which more than 60 of them are phytocannabinoid compounds.
SYNTHETIC - cannabinoids that are fully synthetic and created in a lab. These have been designed as research tools for cannabinoid scientific studies, however, they have never shown to be reliable for human consumption in clinical testing. In theory, they should have never left the laboratory where they were designed and synthesized. While little is known about the full effects of synthetic cannabinoids, they have already made their way to street drugs commonly known as spice and it has already shown to cause more distress and panic than phytocannabinoids.
HOW CANNABINOIDS CAN HELP
Both phytocannabinoids and endogenous cannabinoids function as retrograde messengers that provide feedback inhibition of both excitatory and inhibitory transmission in the brain through the activation of presynaptic CB1 receptors. Manipulations of endocannabinoid degradative enzymes, CB1 and CB2 receptors, and their endogenous ligands have shown promise in modulating numerous processes associated with neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury. See Table 1.
When cannabinoids bind to their receptors, they have been shown to to be therapeutic for certain diseases/disorders such as neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
In addition, cannabinoids and the endocannibinoid system (ECS) are also known to influence neuroplasticity, apoptosis, excitotoxicity, neuroinflammation, and cerebrovascular breakdown associated with stroke and trauma.
THC is the only plant cannabinoid that we’re 100% sure has clear intoxicating effects on its own.
THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM (ECS)
Now that you know about cannabinoids, it is important to understand that we have a system in our bodies that actually responds to these cannabinoids. That system is the endocannabinoid system or ECS, and it is said to have more cellular receptor sites than any other receptor system in the human body!
In 1964, an Israeli researcher, Dr Raphael Mechoulam, identified tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as the main active compound in cannabis. He studied how THC effects the body and brain, which led to identifying its counterpart, cannabidiol (CBD), leading to the discovery of the ECS. He named it the endocannabinoid system because endo means within the body and cannabinoid points to the cannabis plant that led to its discovery.
The ECS is composed of three main parts:
Endocannabinoids: cannabinoids that we produce
Receptors: found throughout the nervous system(s) and around the body that endocannabinoids (our own) and phytocannabinoids (from the plant) bond with
Enzymes that help break down endocannabinoids and cannabinoids
Endocannabinoids interact with cannabinoid receptors throughout the body to elicit chemical responses that keep the body in balance. These receptors are found throughout the brain and in every other major organ of the human body.
The ECS has been identified as the main player in maintaining the body's overall state of homeostasis. What does that mean? Have you ever thought how your body knows when to regulate its temperature when you are too hot or too cold? Or what helps bring your heart rate back into balance when it’s beating too fast or hormone levels are out of balance? Essentially when something is operating outside the normal range, it is in fact your ECS that is activated to bring it back into balance. The ECS and cannabinoids are precise modulators—bringing one system into balance like body temperature without affecting other systems like digestion and vice versa.
The ECS is responsible for maintaining a state of homeostasis and is
involved with regulating many of the body’s basic functions including:
CBD, THC, AND THE CANNABINOID RECEPTORS
The endocannabinoid system is composed of cannabinoids we produce and receptors that respond to them. There are other cannabinoids that interact with those receptors and they are called phytocannabinoids. You might be familiar with two of the most well known: THC and CBD. Cannabinoids promote homeostasis at every level of biological life. It was the study of phytocannabinoids by Dr. Mechoulam that led to the discovery of the ECS.
To begin with, the body produces endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are the substances our bodies naturally make, which stimulate certain receptors. The two most well understood of these receptors are called anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). They are synthesized on-demand from cell membrane arachidonic acid derivatives and have a local effect and short half-life before being degraded by the enzymes fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL). ECS describes a series of cell receptors, which respond to different factors. ECS consists of two primary receptors: Cannabinoid Receptor 1 (CB1) and Cannabinoid Receptor 2 (CB2). While it is known that the effect of the ECS can be found throughout the body, CB1 receptors are mainly in the central nervous system while CB2 receptors are in the immune system, gastrointestinal tract, and peripheral nervous system. Endocannabinoids do even more work inside the body. They are found at the intersection of the body’s systems and permit communication and collaboration between different cell types. It’s like these elements are the project managers of cell stability. Recent studies have suggested the presence of a functional ECS in the skin. Its main function is thought to be controlling proliferation, differentiation, and survival of skin cells.
There is also an orphan cannabinoid receptor, GPR55, which is likely to become the third receptor. GPR55 is widely expressed in the brain, especially in the cerebellum. It moderates blood pressure and bone density, among other processes. What makes GPR55 unique is that it has the potency equivalent of CB1 and CB2 receptors, meaning it can influence signaling for all three receptors.
CLINICAL ENDOCANNABINOID DEFICIENCY AND HOW IT AFFECTS THE BODY
Now that you understand the important role ECS plays in maintaining balance throughout all of the body's systems, imagine what could happen if this system wasn’t working properly?
The theory of clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CED) was born out of the notion that when the different systems within the body are not working synergistically, dysfunction occurs. You will find that a lot of conditions linked to CED are typically considered to be autoimmune disorders and tend to be resistant to treatment, making them very difficult to treat with traditional medicine. It is important to point out that the term autoimmune predated the discovery of the ECS, which did not happen until the early 1990s.
The CED theory suggests that certain ailments related to brain disorders, immune systems, or inflammation are related to an ECS that is not functioning properly. Since the ECS affects so many systems, it’s easy to connect the dots with how its dysfunction could cause problems. Subsequent research has confirmed that underlying endocannabinoid deficiencies indeed play a role in the following conditions and more:
Autoimmune diseases (Arthritis, RA, Lupus, Sjogrens, Type 1 Diabetes, Endometriosis, Chron’s, Peripheral Neuropathy, Raynauds, Fibromyalgia, etc.)
Irritable bowel syndrome
Failure to thrive in newborns
Anxiety and depression
Acne, seborrhea, allergic dermatitis
Psoriasis, eczema, itch and pain
Myofascial pain syndrome
Hair growth disorders
TABLE 1. CONDITIONS IMPACTED BY ENDOCANNABINOID DEFICIENCIES
CANNABINOIDS AS ANTIOXIDANTS AND NEUROPROTECTANTS
Cannabinoids As Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants, Patent #6630507, held by the federal government regarding cannabinoids has stated some very revealing things. While the FDA does not allow companies like Sana Sana Formulas to make any health benefit claims, click below for the government's findings.
NOW THAT YOU KNOW ALL OF THIS, WHERE DO YOU START?
As mentioned previously, the endocannabinoid system is responsible for maintaining the body's homeostasis. Everyone is unique, and as a result everyone responds differently to cannabis. Now, coupled with the power that is the synergy of CBD/THC, secondary cannabinoids, and terpenes working together, you’re probably wondering how to determine which product is best for you? Sana Sana Formulas has a full range of products formulated to help determine which ones will best meet your needs.
Our product line is composed of strain-specific, whole flower cannabis formulas that are either CBD-dominant or THC-dominant, ranging from Micro to High Dose. Regardless of prior cannabis experience, microdosing the Gold Formula is the suggested starting point for most people. Our products are formulated to help you determine the formula(s) and dosing that meets your individual needs with the goal of always find your lowest effective dose. Sana Sana products are formulated to preserve the true medicinal potential of whole flower cannabis. We also carry bodycare and skincare product lines that are CBD-rich. Patients in need of more guidance are encouraged to request a consult with a Cannication cannabis consultant or nurse.