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The term cannabinoid refers to one of a number of chemical compounds found in the

weed plant. If we want to get technical about things, the proper name for these plant-
based molecules is phytocannabinoid. Cannabinoid receptors are distributed in the
central nervous system and many peripheral tissues, including immune system,
reproductive and gastrointestinal tracts, sympathetic ganglia, endocrine glands, arteries,
lung and heart. Properties of CB receptor agonists that are of therapeutic interest
include analgesia, muscle relaxation, immunosuppression, anti-inflammation, anti-
allergic effects, improvement of mood, stimulation of appetite, lowering of intraocular
pressure, bronchodilation, neuroprotection and antineoplastic effects. A famous
example of this is marijuana. When you smoke or ingest marijuana, these are the
chemicals that interact with cells in your body to produce either medical benefits or
grave disadvantages.

The Most Common Cannabinoids Found in Cannabis

Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA)

THCA is the main constituent in raw cannabis. THCA converts to 9-THC when burned,
vaporized, or heated at a certain temperature. THCA, CBDA, CBGA, and other acidic
cannabinoids hold the most COX-1 and COX-2 inhibition, contributing to cannabis anti-
inflammatory effects. This cannabinoid also acts as an antiproliferative and
antispasmodic.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

The most abundant cannabinoid present in marijuana, THC is responsible for cannabis
most well-known psychoactive effects. Most of THCs effects happen in the brain, where
the chemical interacts with receptors on brain cells called cannibinoid receptors. Our
bodies actually make chemicals very similar to THC, which are used in normal brain
function and development. THC co-opts these natural pathways to produce most of its
effects.THC acts as a partial agonist at the CB1 and CB2 receptors. The compound is a
mild analgesic, or painkiller, and cellular research has shown that it has antioxidant
activity.

Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA)

CBDA, similar to THCA, is the main constituent in cannabis with elevated CBD levels.
CBDA selectively inhibits the COX-2 enzyme, contributing to cannabis anti-
inflammatory effects.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

CBD has tremendous medical potential. This is particularly true when the correct ratio of
CBD to THC is applied to treat a particular condition. CBD acts as an antagonist at both
the CB1 and CB2 receptors, yet it has a low binding affinity for both. This suggests that
CBDs mechanism of action is mediated by other receptors in the brain and body.

Cannabinol (CBN)

CBN is a mildly psychoactive cannabinoid that is produced from the degradation of


THC. There is usually very little to no CBN in a fresh plant. CBN acts as a weak agonist
at both the CB1 and CB2 receptors, with greater affinity for CB2 receptors than CB1.
The degradation of THC into CBN is often described as creating a sedative effect,
known as a couch lock.
Cannabigerol (CBG)

A non-psychoactive cannabinoid, CBGs antibacterial effects can alter the overall effects
of cannabis. CBG is known to kill or slow bacterial growth, reduce inflammation,
(particularly in its acidic CBGA form,) inhibit cell growth in tumor/cancer cells, and
promote bone growth. It acts as a low-affinity antagonist at the CB1 receptor. CBG
pharmacological activity at the CB2 receptor is currently unknown.

Cannabichromene (CBC)

CBC is most frequently found in tropical cannabis varieties. CBC is known to relieve
pain, reduce inflammation, inhibit cell growth in tumor/cancer cells, and promote bone
growth. The effects of CBC appear to be mediated through non-cannabinoid receptor
interactions.

Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)

THCV is a minor cannabinoid found in only some strains of cannabis. The only
structural difference between THCV and THC is the presence of a propyl (3 carbon)
group, rather than a pentyl (5 carbon) group, on the molecule. Though this variation
may seem subtle, it causes THCV to produce very different effects than THC. These
effects include a reduction in panic attacks, suppression of appetite, and the promotion
of bone growth. THCV acts as an antagonist at the CB1 receptor and a partial agonist at
the CB2 receptor.
Cannabidivarin (CBDV)

Like THCV, CBDV differs from CBD only by the substitution of a pentyl (5 carbon) for a
propyl (3 carbon) sidechain. Although research on CBDV is still in its initial stages,
recent studies have shown promise for its use in the management of epilepsy. This is
due to its action at TRPV1 receptors and modulation of gene expression.

Top 10 benefits of cannabis


1. Inhibit cancer growth
2. Reduce neurological impairment
3. Relax muscles, anti-spasmodic
4. Prevent migraine
5. Treats glaucoma
6. Treat ADD, ADHD
7. Reduce IBS, Crohns disease
8. Prevent Alzheimers
9. Treats PMS
10. Anti- psychotic

PRO CON
"There is now promising research into the "[T]here really is no such thing as medical
use of marijuana that could impact tens of marijuana... The dangers and risks of
thousands of children and adults, including marijuana use are well-known by the
treatment for cancer, epilepsy and scientific community, even if they are
Alzheimer's, to name a few. With regard to downplayed by corporate interests wishing
pain alone, marijuana could greatly reduce to get rich off of legalization. Apathy, lost
the demand for narcotics and productivity, addictive disease,
simultaneously decrease the number of deterioration in intellectual function, motor
accidental painkiller overdoses, which are vehicle accidents, and psychosis are all
the greatest cause of preventable death in among the negative outcomes. All from a
this country... Marijuana is a medicine, that product that has no demonstrated benefit.
should be studied and treated like any For nearly all conditions for which
other medicine." marijuana has purported benefits, we
already have existing medications - safe
Sanjay Gupta, MD medications - demonstrated to have
Medical Correspondent for CNN value."
"It's Time for a Medical Marijuana
Revolution," cnn.com Stuart Gitlow, MD, MPH, MBA
Apr. 20, 2016 Former President of the ASAM Board of
Directors

Euphoria It blocks memory formation.

The active ingredient in marijuana acts in


the part of the brain called the
When THC hits brain cells, it causes them hippocampus to alter the way information
to release dopamine, a feel-good brain is processed and how memories are
chemical. This is a part of the brains formed. This blockage of memory
reward system, which makes you feel formation can cause cognitive impairment
good when you do things that ensure the in adulthood if use happens during
survival of yourself and your offspring. adolescence, at least in rats. It can also
These things include eating and having quicken age-related brain cell loss, though
sex. marijuana has been shown to slow the
progression of Alzheimers disease.
When over-excited by drugs, the reward
system creates feelings of euphoria.

It controls epileptic seizures. THC messes with your balance.

Marijuana use can prevent epileptic THC messes with brain areas called the
seizures, a 2003 study showed. cerebellum and basal ganglia, which
regulate balance, posture, coordination,
and reaction time. When these brain areas
are disturbed, the user has a harder time
walking and talking correctly, becoming
quite clumsy. It also impacts their ability to
drive.
Marijuana treats inflammatory bowel Cannabis use may increase the risk of
diseases. depression.

Patients with inflammatory bowel diseases Although there is no conclusive evidence


like Crohns disease and ulcerative that marijuana makes users depressed
colitis could benefit from marijuana use, (its just as likely that people who are
studies suggest. depressed use pot), one recent study from
the Netherlands found that smoking
cannabis increases the risk of depression
for young people who have a genetic
THC-like compounds made by the body
increase the permeability of the intestines, vulnerability to the mental illness.
allowing bacteria in. The plant-derived
cannabinoids in marijuana block these In the long-term, smoking marijuana
body-cannabinoids, preventing this increased depressive symptoms in
permeability and making the intestinal cells subjects with a special serotonin gene
bond together tighter. responsible for increased risk of
depression.

THC slows the progression of Alzheimers Marijuana users may experience


disease. psychosis.

Marijuana may be able to slow the Marijuana users who have taken large
progression of Alzheimers disease, a doses of the drug may experience acute
study led by Kim Janda of the Scripps psychosis, which includes hallucinations,
Research Institute suggests. delusions, and a loss of the sense of
personal identity. These episodes may be
The 2006 study, published in the related to the link between marijuana use
journal Molecular Pharmaceutics, found and psychosis, but are distinct.
that THC, the active chemical in marijuana,
slows the formation of amyloid plaques by
blocking the enzyme in the brain that
makes them. These plaques are what kill
brain cells and cause Alzheimers.
A chemical found in marijuana stops Intense anxiety, fear, distrust, or panic are
cancer from spreading. common side effects.

One chemical found in marijuana, called Somewhere between 20 and 30 percent of


cannabidiol, prevents cancer from recreational marijuana users react with
spreading. intense anxiety after taking the drug,
making it one of the most commonly
Cannabidiol stops cancer by turning off a reported side effects.
gene called Id-1, the study, published in
the journal Molecular Cancer
Therapeutics, found. Cancer cells make
more copies of this gene than non-
cancerous cells, and it helps them spread
through the body.

The researchers studied breast cancer


cells in the lab that had high expression
levels of Id-1 and treated them with
cannabidiol. After treatment the cells had
decreased Id-1 expression and were less
aggressive spreaders.

REFERENCES:
Cannabinoids. - PubMed - NCBI. (n.d.). Retrieved from
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16266285

Explore Cannabinoids - SC Labs. (n.d.). Retrieved from


http://sclabs.com/cannabinoids/

The positives and negatives: How marijuana affects your brain and body. (n.d.).
Retrieved from http://www.thejournal.ie/marijauan-health-effects-legalised-
medical-negative-positve-1256236-Jan2014/

Top 10 Pros & Cons - Medical Marijuana - ProCon.org. (n.d.). Retrieved from
http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000141