An important ingredient or rather a group of substances in all types of cannabis are cannabinoids, liposoluble and lipophilic molecules. In human and animal bodies endocannabinoids are naturally produced, while phytocannabinoids are of plant origin. Chemical compounds called phytocannabinoids can be found in cannabis leaves and blossoms. Endocannabinoids are compounds produced by the human body with the help of unsaturated fatty acids, based on the corresponding pathological or physiological signal. They are responsible for the communication between cells, tissues and organs. Endocannabinoids, which got their name after cannabinoids from cannabis, bind to receptors in the central and peripheral nervous systems of the human body, as well as to those of the immune system (endocannabinoid system). If the body experiences a disruption in the endocannabinoid production, this consequently affects the endocannabinoid system, which needs to be fully restored. Endocannabinoids can be replaced with adequate plant cannabinoids - phytocannabinoids, triggering the same signalling pathways. By binding of both kinds of molecules to the cannabinoid receptors within cells, namely small proteins in the cell membrane, “safety” signals are triggered and consequently changes in the cells.
Among 460 different substances, hemp contains at least 66 cannabinoids, which underlie the research of its effects. There are five of them, which deserve to be especially highlighted:
- delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC),
- cannabidiol (CBD), the main ingredient of medical cannabis,
- cannabinol (CBN), a metabolite of THC,
- cannabigerol (CBG)
Cannabidiol or CBD is the most represented cannabinoid in hemp, besides THC. It is produced from cannabis blossoms of all cannabis types. Unlike THC it does not cause intoxication or psychoactive effects, because it does not bind to the central nervous system, but instead to the receptors of the peripheral (in the bone marrow, spleen and other tissues, connected with the immune system). CBD is a completely legal compound, its use and effects have been thoroughly studied and researched in the recent years all over the world.