If you have ever stepped foot in a dispensary chances are you have heard the term “cannabinoid” but what are they exactly?

Phytocannabinoids are found in marijuana plants

Phytocannabinoids occur in the cannabis plant and are formed through a process called decarboxylation.  This process is activated by heat(hence why marijuana is often smoked or vaped and not consumed raw).  Endocannabinoids are found throughout the human body.

The human body has its own endocannabinoid system

The endocannabinoid system is found throughout the human body in the brain, central nervous system, and peripheral nervous system. It is involved in body processes such as appetite, pain, mood, and memory.

Cannabinoids work by binding to CB1 and CB2 receptors

Part of what makes cannabinoids medicine are there ability to bind to the bodies CB1(cannabinoid receptor type 1) and CB2(cannabinoid receptor type 2) receptors in the endocannabinoid system.  CB1 receptors are found in the peripheral and central nervous system and are responsible for marijuana’s psychoactive effects.  CB2 receptors are found in the immune system and are responsible for marijuana’s pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects.

The most well-known cannabinoids are THC and CBD

THC(tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD(cannabidiol) are the two most well-known cannabinoids.  THC is psychoactive(this means it makes you high), and CBD is non-psychoactive.  CBD has gained popularity in recent years due to it’s potential in effectively treating anxiety, PTSD, cancer and complications from cancer treatment, and rare forms of epilepsy.

There are at least 66 different cannabinoids in marijuana

Over 400 compounds have been discovered in marijuana and 66 of them have been identified as cannabinoids.  As research moves forward, scientist hope to isolate each cannabinoid for different medical uses.

Expect more discoveries and facts about cannabinoids to come out as more research is conducted and more people beginning to see marijuana as an effective and real option in treating a variety of medical conditions.