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Cannabis 101

by Budtenders Association •

Our Bodies & Cannabis

You may not know this, but our bodies naturally create cannabinoids. These cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids, are the reason we can experience the various effects of the cannabis plant. It is through humans' natural ability to produce endocannabinoids that our bodies can even interact with phytocannabinoids. Cannabinoids bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors that are found throughout the nervous system, leading through the spinal cord and brain. Our endocannabinoid system can recognize the molecules, lock onto them, and ingest them through metabolic enzymes that transform them into various physiological and pathophysiological processes. Sometimes this process is straightforward like THC binding to CB1 and CB2 receptors, affecting neurons and triggering the physiological and psychological effects. However, the more we look into how different cannabinoids interact together, the more complicated the process becomes. Take, for example, CBD, CBG, and CBC which have a low affinity for CB1 and CB2 receptors. Unlike the psychoactive effects brought on by THC, these cannabinoids might inhibit the absorption of THC in the body.   While we do not know explicitly how different endocannabinoids interact, we do know that each experience is unique given our individual genetics. Furthermore, when we consider the effects that different terpenes play, each experience is further complicated. The ways that cannabinoids interact with one another, as well as genetics and terpenes, are referred to as the Entourage Effect, signifying that the whole is more important than the sum of its parts. Sources: Ligresti, A. et al. (2006) Antitumor activity of plant cannabinoids with emphasis on the effect of cannabidiol on human breast carcinoma. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 318, 1375–1387