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Cannabinoids 101: Everything You Need to Know

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From how we fight chronic pain to how we manage anxiety and stress to how we sleep, cannabis is sparking new avenues in the world of healthcare. For some individuals, cannabis may offer a gentle, all-natural, and sustainable alternative to pharmaceuticals.That said, many of us aren’t quite sure how this remarkable plant works with our bodies to combat chronic symptoms and conditions. If you’re interested in diving into the topic of how cannabis works (and how it might help address your medical concerns), get ready to meet cannabinoids: The cannabis plant’s medical marvels. We promise to keep it heavy on the facts (and light on the jargon).And now, your personalized introduction to the world of cannabinoids!

THC, CBD, & Other Popular Cannabinoids

Besides being a wholly natural, plant-based medicine, cannabis is special in that it contains not just one but more than a thousand medicines. The most active of these are called “cannabinoids”—we often describe them as the plant’s most important marvel. A family of some 150 natural compounds, cannabinoids interface with our bodies through a network called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). And while the ECS was only identified in the past several decades, some research suggests that it’s one of our body’s most important regulatory networks. This is, in large part, what makes the cannabinoids so important.

Known cannabinoid receptors reside in both our brains and spinal cords. You’re probably already familiar with the two most abundant cannabinoids, THC and CBD. THC accounts for anywhere from 2% to more than 25% of cannabis flower by weight, depending upon the strain and its specific THC levels.

THC is also one of the cannabinoids responsible for the cannabis plant’s distinctive euphoria, but it does much more than just provide intoxicating effects. In some patients, THC may exhibit a powerful, pain-fighting effect, in part, because of natural anti-inflammatory actions that deploy and may help moderate our experience of pain. Beyond this, THC may help manage insomnia, soothe nausea, and stimulate our appetites.

What about CBD? The “second cannabinoid” is currently being studied for a variety of medically useful effects, including its purported ability to fight inflammation and pain and reduce anxiety and stress. CBD is also the basis for Epidiolex, the very first cannabis-derived medication to win FDA approval. Used to treat certain types of seizures, its lack of intoxicating effects makes it particularly suitable for pediatric use.

The Effectiveness of Different THC and CBD Ratios

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If you’ve ever shopped for cannabis, you’ve noticed that some products are described by the ratio of THC to CBD they contain. Why? For one thing, cannabis contains so many cannabinoids that it would get overwhelming to describe products with their complete cannabinoid profiles. For another, THC and CBD are the most abundant of the cannabinoids. And when we’re looking for specific effects for our bodies and minds, cannabinoid ratios are a simple and effective way to understand this dynamic part of the ensemble effect.Here’s an example: A cannabis product having ten times as much THC as CBD would be labeled as “10:1 THC to CBD.” How would it make you feel? A high dose would most likely be fairly intoxicating to some individuals, so we’d advise you to exercise care.Conversely, a cannabis product labeled “18:1 CBD to THC” would exhibit relatively little intoxicating effects. If you were looking for limited intoxicating effects, this might be a great choice.Of course, there’s much more to the world of cannabinoids! If you’d like to know more about how to get the most from cannabis, just ask! We’d love to tell you more about cannabinoids, cannabinoid ratios, or any other topic in the wide world of the cannabis plant.

Please note that qualifying conditions vary by state, and the information relating to qualifying conditions may not apply to cannabis patients in all states.

Product availability also varies based on state program restrictions and rules, so the products discussed may not be available in all states. Be sure to check with your local Green Goods location about the products available in your state!