Phyto cannabinoids (CBD, THC, and Other Compounds)
While there has been controversy about using cannabis to treat health conditions, there is growing scientific acceptance that the plant has significant medicinal value. Phytocannabinoids are the name given to cannabinoids of a plant-based nature. These substances are unique to cannabis and occur in all varieties. Although THC is the well-known Phytocannabinoid that is responsible for most of the psychotropic effects of cannabis, other Phytocannabinoids exert their own profound effects
The Entourage Effect
Why would a chapter in a book about cannabidiol (CBD) start by focusing on THC? It is precisely because of the “entourage” effect of cannabis that makes it is so effectively therapeutic. There are conditions that will respond to pure CBD, but, remembering that our own endocannabinoid system is complex, it makes sense that the highly compatible Phytocannabinoid system exploits the complexities of our built-in processes.
Terpenes addition to the cannabinoids, other molecules in the cannabis plant are biologically active (not to mention fragrant and flavorful). Terpenoids, known as terpenes, are very common chemical compounds in plants and animals that function as major biosynthetic cellular messengers. Many hormones, including estrogens, are terpenoids and share the same basic organic chemical structure.
The most common terpene produced by cannabis is Miocene (β-Miocene). In some cannabis varieties, myrcene comprises up to 60 percent of the essential oils.
Cannabis varieties high in limonene have strong citrusy odors like oranges, lemons, and limes and promote a general uplift in mood and attitude. A monocyclic monoterpenoid, limonene is one of two major compounds formed from pinned and is the major constituent in citrus fruit rinds, rosemary, juniper, and peppermint, as well as in several pine needle oils
With a peppery, woody, and/or spicy aroma, the sesquiterpene beta-caryophyllene is found in Thai basil, clove, cinnamon leaf, and black pepper, and in lavender in small quantities. Research indicates that beta-caryophyllene may be effective in cancer treatment plans. It is the only known terpene to interact with the endocannabinoid system. Studies show that beta-caryophyllene selectively binds to the CB2 receptor and that it is a functional CB2 agonist.
Pentene is a bicyclic monoterpenoid, possessing aromas of pine and fir. Two structural isomers of pinned are found in nature—alpha-pinned and beta-pinned—and both are important components of pine resin. Alpha pinned is nature’s most prevalent torpedoed, found mostly in balsamic resin, pinewoods, and some citrus fruits, as well as many other conifers and non-coniferous plants.
The three closely related monoterpenoids, alpha-terminal, terpinene-4-ol, and 4-terpineol have aromas comparable to lilacs and flower blossoms. Often found in cannabis varieties also high in pinned, terpineol’s fragrances are overpowered by another more redolent terpene. The alpha terminal is known to have calming, relaxing effects and exhibits antibiotic, antioxidant, and antimalarial properties.
Considering this chapter’s focus on the variety of Phyto cannabinoids and terpenes present in cannabis, be reminded that using the whole plant or products derived from the whole plant bring the most powerful and efficacious results.