What are phytocannabinoids?
Phytocannabinoids are defined as any plant derived natural products that are capable of either directly interacting with cannabinoid receptors or sharing chemical similarity with cannabinoids or both.
Cannabinoids were initially defined as terpene constituents of the Cannabis sativa L plant and some of its naturally occurring derivatives however in the last few years, several non-cannabinoid plant natural products have been reported to interact with cannabinoid receptors. Compounds found in dark chocolate, Echinacea and turmeric are found to have cannabimimetic effects in their relation to the ECS.
What is the difference between Phytocannabinoids and Endocannabinoids?
Phytocannabinoids are compounds found in plants while Endocannabinoids are compounds which are biosynthesized in the human body. Endocannabinoids are compounds which play an intricate role in cell to cell (paracrine) signaling and same cell (autocrine) signalling. Endocannabinoids are the compounds which bind to CB receptors which regulate many biological processes, most importantly regulating inflammation and maintaining homeostasis.
Anandamide is an endocannabinoid produced in the brain which binds to the same cannabinoids receptors as THC. Anandamide has a strong influence on motivation, pleasure, brain receptivity, memory, appetite and fertility. Anandamide, the “bliss” molecule, is reported to increase neurogenesis - the formation of new neurons. Goodbye brain fog and forgetfulness.
How does THC interact with the Endocannabinoid System?
Tetrahydracannabinoid is the psychoactive phytocannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. When cannabis is imbibed, THC quickly attaches to the cannabinoid receptors, primarily CB1, found in the brain and other organs. This flood of THC interferes with the natural communication between endocannabinoids and their receptors and can easily create imbalance to the system. THC binds to the same receptors as anandamide, creating a euphoric state of bliss, which patients often experience as a "high". Over time THC can shift the bodies ability to regulate cannabinoids which may lead to problems such as memory impairment. Finding the appropriate dosage of THC is important to ensure the Endocannabinoid system is functioning properly and not damaged.
How does CBD interact with the Endocannabinoid System?
Cannabidiol interacts indirectly with the Endocannabinoid System as it influences the regulation of the endocannabinoids rather than directly binding to receptors. Rather than supplying the body with external phytocannabinoids CBD stimulates the system to produce its own endocannabinoids which returns the system to equilibrium. Since the endocannainoids system regulates inflammation through out the body, CBD is an important supplement and can assist in supporting this vital system.