We have all heard of certain compounds found in cannabis, like CBD and THC. But did you know that cannabinoids like CBD (cannabidiol), CBG (cannabigerol), and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are also known as phytocannabinoids?
The “phyto” prefix refers to the substances being derived from a plant source, specifically the Cannabis Sativa plant.
Let’s dive in into what these terms mean in detail:
What Are Endocannabinoids?
To understand endocannabinoids, let’s first look at the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS comprises of endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and metabolic enzymes.
Endocannabinoids are endogenous lipids (fatty acids) that occur naturally and interact with our cannabinoid receptors, particularly CB1 and CB2 receptors—the same receptors that interact with consumed CBD.
Anandamide is an example of an endocannabinoid produced in the brain that interacts with the receptors in the nervous system. They’re also called the “bliss molecule,” as evidence suggests that Anandamide may be responsible for the feeling of euphoria we get after vigorous exercise, also called a “runner’s high.”
When endocannabinoids interact with cannabinoid receptors, they cause a number of physiological processes like altering mood, and impacting the brain reward system. They allow the brain to create a stable internal environment.
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What are Phytocannabinoids?
Phytocannabinoids are the naturally-occurring cannabinoids that are found in the Cannabis Sativa plant; there are over a 100 of them that have been identified thus far.
Humans have been using cannabis for years to manage chronic pain. Scientists are now conducting studies on these plant molecules and their potential in managing various health conditions.
The most common types of plant-based compounds are CBD and THC that show some promising research in providing therapeutic benefits.
Studies have shown that these phytocannabinoids, namely CBD, interact with our cannabinoid receptors to support pain relief, insomnia, anxiety, etc. However, a lot more clinical trials need to be performed to prove its efficacy.
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