The main therapeutic means of the hemp plant is cannabis resin. As we have already mentioned, it is located on the surface of all cannabis plants, only in different concentrations and chemical composition. Produced by glandular cells called trichomes. It contains more than 400 different active substances.
Basic medical ingredients are called cannabinoids which today are differentiated to around 200 individuals, their therapeutic potential is still under investigation. Other active ingredients are terpenes, aromatic substances that modulate the action of its physical and mental effects of individual varieties and intensive research demonstrates the significant medicinal potential. Other substances in the resin such as alkaloids and waxes. The resin is not soluble in water, but polar solvents such as oil or other fats, alcohol, benzene, ether, butane, etc.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. This substance is insoluble in water, but well soluble in fats and alcohol. As we have already mentioned, currently are produced THC synthetic substances under the name Marinol or Dronabilon. Basic effects of THC: psychoactive, analgesic, neuroprotective, prevents nausea and muscle spasms and increases appetite.
CBD (cannabidiol) modulates the psychoactive effects of THC, alone it has a mild sedative effect. Its significant therapeutic potential is now well known. Medically, it was demonstrated that it relieves cramps, inflammation, anxiety, and nausea and inhibits tumor cell growth, and much more. Recent studies showed that cannabidiol is as effective as antipsychotic drugs used for treating schizophrenia. The study also showed that it can relieve the symptoms of dystonia (involuntary muscle contractions that cause abnormal movements and positions).
CBN (cannabinol) molecules formed decay of THC in poorly stored and dried cannabis (light, heat, air). Its content in the product, thus increases at the expense of THC. It has a mild psychoactive effects – these users tend to be dazed and confused. Use of CBN in medicine is rather marginal, the activity of the receptor works like THC, but with a much weaker effect.
CBG (kanabigerol) is not psychoactive, however, has a therapeutic effect (cancer of the bone marrow, venous ulcers, shingles, destroys surface bacteria, inhibits cell growth and stimulates bone growth).
THCV (tetrahydrokanabivarin) modulates the metabolism of THC, it has strong anti-inflammatory effects. Data on the effect of THCV in humans is very low, however, from animal experiments it is known to act faster than THC and its effect wears off quickly.
CBC (kanabichromen) itself has psychoactive effects, but probably influences the course of intoxication (occurs in a highly potent plants and thus is expected to act synergistically with THC – increases its activity.) Data on this substance, however, is still very little.
CBL (kanabicyklol) probably not plentiful psychoactive effects and nor does it state after ingestion of THC. Medical effect on humans is unknown.
CBDV (cannabidivarin) stimulates bone growth.
THCA (tetrahydrokanabinol acid) is a mild analgesic and has a calming effect and counteracts spasms.
Myrcene (present in hops or mango) – is responsible for the sedative effect of strong Indian varieties. It relaxes the muscles and helps sleep. Another of its effects are antimicrobial, antiseptic, analgesic, antioxidant, antidepressant, anticancer, anti-inflammatory. Myrcene affects the permeability of cell membranes and thus more THC gets into brain cells.
Limonene (also in citrus fruits) – its effect can be antidepressant, antibacterial, antifungal and anticancer. Quickly passes through the membrane and helps the passage of other terpenes. The result may be a reduction in blood pressure.
Caryophyllene (also in black pepper and cloves) – activates CB2 receptors, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and for anti-inflammatories. In larger doses, blocks the potassium and calcium channels, which can reduce systolic blood pressure.
Pinene (also in pine, rosemary, sage) – may increase mental focus and energy, acts as an expectorant, bronchodilator, and topical antiseptic. Easily crosses the blood brain barrier, where it inhibits the activity of acetylcholinesterase, which degrades acetylcholine (a molecule that transmits information), which leads to a better memory. This can counteract the activity of THC, which causes a low level of acetylcholine.
Linalool (also in lavender) – relaxes and counteracts anxiety, as well anesthetic, analgesic, antispasmodic.
Cannabinoid Receptor System
The active ingredients of cannabis in the body bind to specific receptors, which are cells bound G-protein. There are basic cannabinoid receptor – CB, two basic subtypes:
CB1 receptors are most frequently found on nerve endings in the central (brain and spinal cord) and peripheral nervous system and the reproductive system. Further, located in the lungs, liver, kidneys, endocrine and salivary glands, bladder and gastrointestinal tract, heart, spleen, bone and skin.
CB2 receptors are most frequently found in peripheral tissues and cells of the immune system (vascular cells, smooth muscle intestine, testis, sperm ciliary body of the eye, thymus, tonsils, spleen, bone marrow, pancreas).
Do cannabinoid receptor system is one further types of receptors, which are gradually discovered and their function examined in detail (eg, GPR18, GPR 55 and GPR119).
The function of the cannabinoid system
The basic role of the cannabinoid system is to maintain homeostasis (healthy balance of large amounts of bodily functions). If not supplied the substance into the body of the cannabis plant (phytocannabinoids), these features provide the body’s own substances called endocannabinoids (anandamide, 2-AG and others).
- regulation and modulation of the immune system
- protection of the nervous system
- regulation of pain sensitivity
- affecting the musculoskeletal system
- regulation of motility (movement) of the digestive tract
- regulation of body temperature
- appetite regulation
- affects experiencing strong negative experiences (trauma)
- affects sleep and dreaming
- important role in the learning process
- processes affecting tumor growth