Phytocannabinoids are the fat-soluble compounds found in the Cannabis sativa plant that have been making major waves in the medical community. Why? Because some of these little buggers have been found to combat seizures, help us sleep, assist those suffering from PTSD, and more. Let’s delve a little deeper into phytocannabinoids, what they are, how they affect our bodies, and how some can be used to help combat various health concerns.
What are phytocannabinoids?
While there are over 100 phytocannabinoids present in the marijuana plant, the most commonly studied are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) the major psychoactive component, and the nonpsychotropic compound cannabidiol (CBD).
Why are THC phytocannabinoids the most commonly studied? Because those particular phytocannabinoids seem to interact more prominently with our bodies’ endocannabinoid systems.
These are the integral systems that help regulate various cognitive and physiological functions, including our moods and our bodies’ responses to pain. And what these studies are starting to uncover is that these interactions can prove to be nothing short of miraculous for some people.
The phytocannabinoid CBD
CBD has been everywhere in the media of late, and for good reason. While we don’t yet know exactly how, we do know that CBD interacts with our natural cannabinoid receptors, and has been found to help alleviate both pain and inflammation, along with a host of other health issues. And, unlike THC, CBD is non-psychotropic, which means it doesn’t get you high.
While the efficacy of CBD has quite a bit of science to back it up, the FDA has only approved CBD for use in treating rare and severe forms of epilepsy so far. That said, with more studies being conducted every day along with mountains of anecdotal evidence (check out our series of articles on how CBD affects dozens of medical conditions here), it’s clear that CBD is poised to be a game-changer in the healthcare field.
As is stands, many prescription and non-prescriptions drugs used to manage hard-to-treat pain, insomnia, and inflammation come with some pretty serious side effects. Even more concerning, though, is that a lot of these medications are either habit-forming or put the user in jeopardy of addiction.
While there are still a lot of clinical trials that need to be done on CBD use in humans, one of the most notable facts about CBD is that it’s generally well-tolerated by people who take it, and it comes with very few potential and minor side effects. More importantly, according to a recent study by the World Health Organization, CBD is not associated with abuse potential.
CBD can be taken sublingually via “tinctures,” but can also be ingested via other methods such as candies, sprays, and CBD-infused drinks, or can be used directly on the skin in rubs or lotions.
The phytocannabinoid THC
THC has also been shown, both empirically and anecdotally, to help with pain due to inflammation, most notably with both arthritis and cancer-related pain. It has also shown great promise in spasm-related pain, often present with conditions like multiple-sclerosis.
While some drugs containing THC have been FDA approved for use in patients suffering from weight loss due to AIDS, marijuana is still considered illegal at the federal level. Most of the country has begun to regulate its use at the state level, but the legalities of it all are largely still in flux. Possibly in part due to the stigma associated with marijuana, sweeping federal regulatory changes have been slow in coming.
But that brings us to another potential issue which is that, unlike CBD, THC is notably psychoactive, causing some healthcare providers to feel offset by the good THC can do because of the potential risks of introducing marijuana to their patients. Problems can include hallucinations, increased anxiety, paranoia, impaired reaction times, and more.
It’s also worth noting that, despite the rally cry in pop culture that the influence of marijuana only makes for slower and more affable drivers, the odds of causing a fatal auto accident while under the influence of marijuana is actually double the norm.
Despite these potential problems, it’s generally accepted that the downsides of cannabis use are less serious than those of alcohol in terms of neuropsychological effects, accidents, and violence. Because of the disparity in laws governing each, many cannabis proponents feel that there should be freer access to products containing THC, especially for medical use.
The phytocannabinoid THCV seems to be gaining some attention due to it’s potential use in treating type 2 diabetes. CBDV, on the other hand, is another non-psychotropic compound that is being studied for efficacy in treating those suffering from epilepsy. As we mentioned, there are over 100 other phytocannabinoids found in the cannabis plant but, despite being in use for thousands of years, we are just scratching the surface on cannabis and its related compounds.
CBD Breaker continues to monitor any new information on CBD, THC, CBDV, and other phytocannabinoids as other studies unfold, and are always sure to keep readers posted on the latest information regarding these substances.
Summary and Conclusion
It’s clear that Cannabis Sativa isn’t going away any time soon. In fact, we expect a whole host of new uses for this plant and its compounds to unfold in the coming years. Due to the interaction between these phytocannabinoids and our bodies’ endocannabinoid systems, it seems inevitable for us to mine all this plant has to offer in terms of potential health benefits.
We recommend researching your state laws regarding cannabis use and arming yourself with as much knowledge as you can before trying products containing CBD and/or THC.
As with any change to your healthcare regimen, you should talk to your doctor before trying cannabis or its compounds. If you’re currently taking any prescription medications, you should check with your pharmacist to ensure there aren’t any known potential negative interactions with your regular medications.