The term phytocannabinoid is usually thrown around a lot, especially in relation to the cannabis plant. What are phytocannabinoids exactly? Well, if you have probably used cannabis products, you have probably heard about it. Alternatively, you have probably heard about THC and CBD. These two are examples of active phytocannabinoids that are found in the cannabis plant.
What are Phytocannabinoids?
These are cannabinoids that are produced in the trichomes of the cannabis plant. If you consume a phytocannabinoid-rich product, then these compounds will interact with the receptors in the body to produce several psychotropic and therapeutic benefits. The exogenous and plant-derived cannabinoids usually interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) to promote a sense of good general wellbeing.
Difference Between Phytocannabinoids and Cannabinoids?
It’s possible for a lot of people to easily confuse these two types of chemical compounds. While they are produced by biological species and help to regulate and balance several biological functions, they are quite different.
There are two main categories of cannabinoids and include phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids. The former comes from plants while the latter is usually produced by mammals. Endocannabinoids in the mammalian body help to balance certain factors and processes to promote optimal functioning capacity. When this balance is achieved, then this is what is normally referred to as homeostasis.
Endocannabinoids are effective in activating the homeostatic effect. this provides a great deal in bringing the body into a balanced healthy state. However, it’s not easy to determine the number of endocannabinoids in the body since they are usually available “On-demand” basis.
Taking a product that’s rich in phytocannabinoids can help the body to produce more medicinal effects. In fact, phytocannabinoids are great n making up for the endocannabinoid deficiencies that they might have. As a result, its effective in triggering therapeutic responses.
How Phytocannabinoids Interact with The ECS
The ECS contains endocannabinoids and is responsible for maintaining optimal functionalities. The ECS is made up of three components that include the “messenger” molecules that the body usually synthesizes, receptors that the messenger molecules bind to, and enzymes that break them down.
It should be noted that things such as stress, appetite control, pain, inflammation, reproduction, cardiovascular function, and sleep patterns, etc., are all influenced by the ECS’s endocannabinoid system. This system features two receptors, CB1 and CB2.
CB1 receptors are found in large numbers in the central nervous system. They are effective in regulating several brain functions. These receptors are the most widely expressed proteins of their kind in the human brain. Generally, CB1 receptors help to control the time as well as the frequency of the release of other neurotransmitters including dopamine, serotonin, and glutamine.
Meanwhile, CB2 receptors are mainly found in the immune cells that circulate throughout the body and the brain through the bloodstream. Besides that, CB2 receptors are also found in a few selected neurons in the brain region. This makes them effective in enhancing immune response including treating pain and inflammation.
When you take a phytocannabinoid-rich product, it will interact with these receptors found in the ECS. The effect produced through its interaction with CB1 and CB2 receptors is what will determine the type of regulatory response from the body. Additionally, the amount of phytocannabinoids is critical in determining the intensity of the effects.
Types of Phytocannabinoids and Their Benefits
There are several types of phytocannabinoids and provide the body with several medicinal and therapeutic effects. While there is still a need for more research studies, current reports suggest that phytocannabinoids are great in treating conditions such as pain, inflammation, anxiety, and stress among others.
- CBD: One of the most active cannabinoids that have many potential therapeutic benefits. It has properties such as analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-epileptic, and anti-anxiety properties among others.
- CBDA: This compound will turn into CBD upon heating. CBDA has anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, and anti-tumor properties.
- THC: It’s the main component in the cannabis plant with intoxicating benefits. THC can negatively impact your motor skills, attention, and decision-making.
- THCA: It has non-intoxicating properties but when heated, it will turn into the intoxicating THC. It has the potential to treat nervous system degeneration, inflammation, nausea, and vomiting.
The Bottom Line
Phytocannabinoids are cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. THC is the most common phytocannabinoids followed closely by CBD. Phytocannabinoids usually interact with the ECS to produce several health benefits. They can help to treat pain, inflammation, anxiety, and stress among other things. However, you have to be keen when using products that have these compounds. This is because some such as THC have psychoactive effects. This means that such a compound can alter the way the mind functions and interfere with your memory, decision-making, and thinking skills.