The endocannabinoid system and
the entourage effect
In 1998, the pioneer of the science of cannabis, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam and his team introduced the idea of the entourage effect. Their research validated the hypothesis that different cannabinoids act in synergy on the endo-cannabinoid system, thus improving their activity.
The term entourage effect is often used, but does that mean? And what specific cannabinoids is it? To answer these questions, we reported the experience of Guru of Ganja, the famous Ed Rosenthal.
If you read this blog, you are familiar with THC. And you've probably heard about the CBD. When smoked alone, CBD has positive physiological effects on the body. These include the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system and the induction of appetite. Combined with THC, it reduces the paranoia and anxiety normally associated with cannabis use.
Perhaps even more important than Dr. Mechoulam's contribution to the term "entourage effect" is his discovery of the human body's natural receptor system - the cannabinoids of the system such as THC and CBD act. on him. This physiological system is responsible for maintaining homeostasis throughout the body at the cellular level.
On the other hand, there are cannabinoids that simultaneously manipulate three specific biological mechanisms:
- Suppression of the production of sensitisers and activators
- Stabilization of nerve cells to reduce inflammation
- Inhibition of the diffusion of inflammatory agents in neighboring immune cells
The three "tasks" of the SEC (endo-cannabinoid system) have the same function: reduce the pain at the site of the injury.
This same act of "biological balance" occurs at all levels of the body all the time: the EC system works to maintain homeostasis and this has incredible implications for medicine. Cannabis continues to gain ground as an anti-pain drug. Cannabinoids not only feel good because your body loves them, they are fundamental elements of human health.
Let's take a quick tour of other cannabinoids that are less talked about.
TETRAHYDROCANNABINOLIC ACID (THCA) AND CANNABIDIOLIC ACID (CBDA)
What does the "A" mean?
Many people do not make the difference but you have to know that even
cultivated "high-THC" varieties produce very little psychoactive delta-9-THC, the vast majority of which is contained in the resinous glands is in fact the THCa, the chemical precursor of THC. The same goes for the CBD: The high CBD strains are actually very high in CBDA. In both cases, the a Means acid-carboxylic acid in particular, which does not easily cross the blood-brain barrier because of its atomic structure, which is passively modified by the decarboxylation process: the name refers to the elimination of the "carboxylic group" COOH.
Although people generally refer to the total measured potency of a flower or concentrate (including acidic precursors) as "cannabinoid content", it is the crude cannabinoid acids that dominate the buds. Smoking, spraying or, in some cases, extracting the decarboxylate buds THCA delta-9-THC, the psychoactive compound, or in the case of cannabidiol, transforms CBDa into CBD.
There are several methods of extraction and post-extraction to decarboxylate cannabis, but all use heat. While cold extraction treats and preserves the raw acidic cannabinoids. Extraction methods that use sufficiently high temperatures produce decarboxylated, neutral (rather than acidic) cannabinoids.
A simple example, the difference between a bud and a brownie: If you take one eighth of a very powerful bud and you eat it, there will be little or no noticeable effects. This does not mean that there will be no benefits: many people swear by using raw cannabis to improve their health and well-being, one thing is certain, it will certainly not make you hover. . This is because the vast majority of cannabinoids in the buds have not been decarboxylated, so that they remain in their crude and nontoxic state.
On the other hand, a brownie that has been exposed to temperatures above the "decarb" point of THC, which is around 100 ° C. Even if you have not decarboxylated your bud before making butter and baking, it is possible that you have still cooked at a higher temperature so that the vast majority of cannabinoids in your brownie are active THC, which which means that if you eat it, you know what happens. The same rule applies to CBD, only the decarboxylation point is slightly higher: about 135 ° C.
CBN has long been considered undesirable in high concentration by most consumers and, by extension, by farmers. Indeed, CBN is produced by the degradation of THC by exposure to oxygen (oxidation). CBN levels naturally increase as mature cannabis plants approach harvest, because the same oxidation process that converts THCa into THC also converts THC into CBN.
CBN levels also increase during decarboxylation: exposure to heat increases the natural degradation process, which means that THCa is converted to delta-9-THC, which is simultaneously converted to CBN. This balance has long been biased towards maximizing delta-9 levels and minimizing CBN concentration, but the way the public consumes evolves to encompass more cannabinoids, CBN extracts are attracting a small but growing interest.
Traditionally, most of the experiences of cannabis users with CBN come from the consumption of old buds that converted most of their THC to CBN through progressive oxidation. This experience is generally characterized by the effect most associated with CBN: drowsiness, or sleep induction. Those looking for the effects they had a year ago (not to mention the long-term terpene profile) will be disappointed, but those who are just trying to get a good night's sleep may appreciate the extra CBN.
As with all cannabinoids, CBN can be isolated by fractional distillation for use in dyes or consumed in dabbing extraction. There are currently very few commercial sources for these products. This could represent an opportunity to move forward as the demand for cannabinoids beyond THC and CBD increases gradually with our understanding of their respective contributions to the surrounding effect and their individual impacts.
CBGA: THE MOTHER OF ALL CANNABINOIDS
If you have never heard of cannabigerol or CBG, you are not alone, many cannabis users are unaware of the existence of this "minor" cannabinoid, which usually appears only in minute concentration (1% or less) in collected cannabis. However, without this cannabinoid precursor, there would be no THC or CBD.
All of the THCa and CBDa contained in the resinous glands of the cannabis plant begin with CBGa, which is produced internally and then transformed by enzymes into THCa, CBDa or CBCa, another cannabinoid that appears in the researchers. But, as with all cannabinoids, we learn that CBG has its own distinct effects on human physiology, including inhibition of cancer cell growth and reduction of intraocular pressure.
Cannabichrome (CBC) is a "non-psychoactive" cannabinoid in that it does not readily bind to CB1 cannabinoid receptors. However, it appears to provide analgesic effects and has been shown to bind to pain receptors. Research on this cannabinoid is still thin compared to large data on CBD and THC, but has been shown to have a unique effect on anandamide, an endocannabinoid associated with many therapeutic effects, from the relief of depression. inhibition of cancer cell growth. CBC allows anandamide to stay in the bloodstream longer, increasing its cumulative impact and increasing its effectiveness. This effect has also been observed with the CBD, but early research suggests that it may be even more pronounced with the CBC.
MORE RESEARCH IS NECESSARY IN THE SPACE OF CANNABIS »
Any discussion of cannabis medicine and the science behind the workings of cannabis inevitably leads to someone saying this - the last rhetorical sanctuary of the status quo on cannabis - " more research is needed".
And of course, there is some truth in there. Any social and scientific phenomenon with as many facets and fronts of development as cannabis certainly requires a monumental undertaking by researchers and scientists to better understand it. However, this does not take into account the mountain of very legitimate clinical research already conducted on this subject, much of which comes from Israel, which has a less restrictive legal environment when it comes to cannabis research.
We sincerely hope that cannabis research will continue forever, but we can not let advocates of prohibition make the connection between the endless need for more information and the lack of sufficient data to advance decriminalization.
Reproduction right: Ed rosenthal