Guide to Cannabinoids
Learn how different temperatures affect cannabinoids and how these chemicals help regulate our bodies
What is a Cannabinoid?
Cannabinoids are chemicals found both in cannabis, and naturally in our bodies and brains. There are over 480 natural components in cannabis, about 66 are cannabinoids.
Cannabinoid effects are based on the parts of the brain they interact with. Research shows cannabinoids affect different distinct parts of our brains, like our limbic system (a part of the brain that affects memory, cognition and psychomotor performance), the mesolimbic pathway (associated with feelings of reward), and all over parts of the brain responsible for pain perception.
Jump to a deeper dive
Chart of Cannabinoid Temperatures
Boiling Points of Various Cannabis Chemicals and their Effects
157°C / 315°F
- commonly referred to as THC (∆9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, Δ9-THC, D9-THC, d9-THC)
- strongly psychoactive
- THC enabled scientists to discover the existence of the Endocannabinoid system in vertebrate animals (including humans)
- effective treatment for a variety of ailments and disorders including pain, tumors, nausea and ADHD
THC-A ∆1-Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid
105°C / 220°F
- not psychoactive
- THC-A is strongly anti-inflammatory, encourages appetite, is anti-tumor, combats insomnia, and is antispasmodic
- most abundant terpenoid (and Cannabinoid) in the vast majority of Cannabis grown in the U.S., reaching levels over 30% of dry weight for flowers from female, unpollinated plants (sensomilla)
- Many “high THC” strains, when grown and harvested optimally, produce about 15% THC-A by dry weight, though this can vary widely
185°C / 365°F
- Cannabinol is an oxidation product of THC. It normally forms when THC is exposed to oxygen and heat. A high level of CBN often reflects cannabis that is old or has been exposed to significant heat.
- CBN is known to be very slightly psychoactive and more strongly sedative than other known Cannabinoids
- samples with significant CBN (approaching 1% by weight) can be useful to treat insomnia
- CBN is also somewhat effective as an anti-emetic and anticonvulsant
-°C / -°F
- non psychoactive
- stimulate the growth of new brain cells, including in the elderly
- stimulates bone growth
- is antibacterial and anti-tumor, and combats insomnia
220°C / 428°F
- non psychoactive
- about ten times more effective than CBD in treating anxiety and stress
- displays efficiency in treating inflammation, pain relief and is both anti-viral and anti-tumor
- CBC has been shown to stimulate the growth of bone tissue
180°C / 356°F
- “non-psychoactive” (in that it does not produce the euphoria, time dilation, or anxiety normally produced by THC)
- extremely valuable in the treatment of seizure disorders such as MS and Epilepsy
- lack of psychoactivity makes it ideal in treating children, the elderly and patients that prefer to remain clear headed and focused
- CBD is often as effective as THC in the management of pain and tumors. CBD also lowers blood sugar, and has been used in the treatment of Diabetes.
- CBD has a calming effect, and is useful in the treatment of stress related disorders and sleep loss
CBD-A Cannabidiolic Acid
120+°C / 248°F
- Until recently, Cannabidiolic acid was much more commonly found in higher concentrations in Ruderalis than in Cannabis. In the last few years, strains of Cannabis have been hybridized that produce more CBDA than THCA, including “Cannatonic-C6” and “ACDC.”
- anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor
198°C / 388°F
- also known as β-linalool, licareol and linalyl alcohol
- known for the pleasant floral odor it gives to lavender plants
- used for several thousands of years as a sleep aid. Linalool is a critical precursor in the formation of Vitamin E.
- used in the treatment of both psychosis and anxiety, and as an anti-epileptic agent
- grants relief from pain and has been used as an analgesic
- vapors have been shown to be an effective insecticide against fruit flies, fleas and cockroaches
160°C / 320°F
- a sesquiterpene found in many plants including Thai basils, cloves and black pepper, and has a rich spicy odor
- β–Caryophyllene has affinity for the CB2 endocannabinoid receptor.
- anti-septic, anti-bacterial, antifungal, anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory.
168°C / 334°F
- known to be anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, and used in the treatment of spasms
- used to treat insomnia, and pain
- also has some very special properties, including lowering the resistance across the blood to brain barrier, allowing itself and many other chemicals to cross the barrier easier and more quickly. In the case of cannabinoids, like THC, it allows it to take effect more quickly.
- shown to increase the maximum saturation level of the CB1 receptor, allowing for a greater maximum psychoactive effect
- For most people, the consumption of a fresh mango, 45 minutes before inhaling cannabis, will result in a faster onset of psycho activity and greater intensity.
- Less well known is that fact that high β-Myrcene levels in cannabis (usually above 0.5%) result in the well known ‘couch lock’ effect of classic Indica strains of cannabis; Sativa strains normally contain less than 0.5% β-Myrcene.
176°C / 349°F
- main active ingredient in citrus cleaner; very low toxicity
- treating gastric reflux and as an anti-fungal agent; It’s ability to permeate proteins makes it ideal for treating toenail fungus.
- useful in treating depression and anxiety
- assists in the absorption of other terpenoids and chemicals through the skin, mucous membranes and digestive tract
- effective anti-tumor while at the same time being an immunostimulant
198°C / 388°F
- found in hops, cannabis sativa strains, and Vietnamese coriander, among others. Humulene gives beer its ‘hoppy’ aroma.
- anti-tumor, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anorectic (suppresses appetite)
- commonly been blended with β–caryophyllene and used as a major remedy for inflammation, and is well known to Chinese medicine
155°C / 311°F
- important physiologically in both plants and animals, and to our environment
- used for centuries as a bronchodilator in the treatment of asthma (notice how your lungs seem to open up when hiking through a pine forest in the warm summer?)
- found in conifer trees, orange peels among others, and known for it’s sharp sweet odor
- major constituent in turpentine
Source for info: Steep Hill Lab here in California.
A Deeper Dive into Cannabinoids
Not all cannabinoids are psychologically active
CBG, CBC and CBD are three classes known to have no psychological effect. However, THC, CBN, CBDL and some other cannabinoids are very well known to be psychologically active, but their strength and effects differ.
What’s so great about CBD in medical marijuana?
CBD is likely the most abundant cannabinoid, nearly 40% of a cannabis plant’s resin. CBD appears to have anti-anxiety effects and lessens the psychoactive effects of THC. Medicating with plants low in CBD has been shown to have more psychological impact and make people feel anxious.
Now, some places are developing special strains of cannabis without THC, Charlotte’s Web is such a strain developed specifically with low THC, high CBD, which is great for kids and other medical uses where the euphoric effects of cannabis aren’t necessarily desireable.
So here’s a case where removing THC from the plant makes it less effective for treating seizures. In other words, everyone needs different medicines for different symptoms, so it’s probably best if we let doctors and patients figure this out instead of state and federal government.
Whilst standardized cannabis extract (SCE) inhibited spasticity in the mouse model of MS to a comparable level, it caused a more rapid onset of muscle relaxation, and a reduction in the time to maximum effect compared with THC alone. The THC-free extract or cannabidiol (CBD) caused no inhibition of spasticity. SCE was a more potent and again more rapidly-acting anticonvulsant than isolated THC, but in this model, the THC-free extract also exhibited anticonvulsant activity. Cannabidiol did not inhibit seizures
Centre for Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy
Cannabinoids affect our central nervous system by interacting with specific receptors, so far we’ve discovered two kinds of cannabinoid receptors called CB1 and CB2.
CB1 receptors are present throughout the body, also called anandamide (discovered in 1992) and the whole system of both recepters and naturally occurring substances that bind to CB1 are referred to as our endogenous cannabinoid system.
CB2 receptors differ because they’re confined to the immune system, this receptor has been found in the marginal zone of the spleen.
Is CBN bad for weed?
Well it’s not bad, but CBN is what happens when THC is exposed to air, it oxidizes and forms CBN. So leaving your cannabis out in the open will decrease its potency by increasing CBN. It’s basically a chemical timestamp indicator of how old cannabis is. CBN is a very weak psychoactive, and not unlike CBD interacts with THC to reduce its effects.
What’s Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome?
First discovered in 2004, Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome is a disorder where people who abuse cannabis suffer from nausea, vomiting and colicky stomach and abdominal pain. Symptoms can be reduced by taking a hot shower or abstaining from using cannabis. More research is here and here and here.
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Research and Institutions Related to Cannabinoids