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Understanding The Difference Between Cannabinoids and Terpenes

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What exactly is the difference between cannabinoids and terpenes? We will answer that question in this concise article.

What Are Cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are a group of diverse chemical compounds that act on the cannabinoid receptor cells within our bodies. They are broken down into 3 main categories:
  • Phytocannabinoids – a group of compounds most often associated with Cannabis Sativa which contains the richest source of phytocannabinoids, we can also find phytocannabinoids in plants like Echinacea, Kava Kava, Cacao, Hops, Black Pepper, and Truffles.
  • Synthetic Cannabinoids – lab created by pharmaceutical companies.
Endocannabinoids and Phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids, which accumulate mainly in the glandular trichomes of the cannabis plant), interact the same way with the CB1 and CB2 receptors found in the nervous systems of all mammals. Synthetic cannabinoids interact with the receptors in the ECS of all mammals, but are less effective and have been known to block receptors resulting in undesirable results. Simply put, for medicinal purposes our bodies naturally work best with whole plants than it does with synthetic drugs.

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is a naturally occurring chemical element of the cannabis plant genus. It is one of the major cannabinoids besides THC, CBG, CBN and CBC found in hemp and cannabis plants. In contrast to THC, CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid and many medicinal properties are attributed to it. Both by researchers and users.
However, the largest proportion of CBD or cannabidiol occurs in the plants as an acid in the form of CBDa. In addition to the main cannabinoids, there are about 100 other secondary cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis plants. Since CBD and THC account for the largest part, these are also the cannabinoids that have been best researched so far. According to studies, CBD and other phytocannabinoids influence the brain by interacting with the brain’s very own cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids. “Generally, phytocannabinoids like CBD can help to restore a more balanced ‘tone’ within the endocannabinoid system,” says Stuart Tomc, vice president of human nutrition for CBD oil supplier CannaVest Corp. (San Diego). “As such, CBD may positively, broadly affect various processes that control brain signaling, via neurotransmitter function, ion channel and membrane dynamics, inflammatory responses, and even gene expression.”

Does CBD Get You High?

>CBDs will not make people feel “high”; in fact it can actually counteract the psychoactivity of THC. CBD is by far the most studied natural cannabinoid. According to many researchers, CBD may be the single most important cannabinoid ever discovered.

What Are Terpenes?

“>The terpenes are the volatile organic compounds that give Cannabis Sativa the distinctive potent smell. If your CBD product lacks a rich smell it also lacks these powerful terpenes.

The Difference Between Cannabinoids and Terpenes

While cannabinoids are chemical compounds that work on the cannabinoid receptors in the body, terpenes are the volatile organic compound that give cannabis it’s smell. Terpenes act on receptors and neurotransmitters; they are prone to combine with or dissolve in lipids or fats; they act as serotonin uptake inhibitors (similar to antidepressants like Prozac); they enhance norepinephrine (a hormone that is released by the adrenal medulla and by the sympathetic nerves and functions as a neurotransmitter.) activity (similar to tricyclic antidepressants like Elavil); they increase dopamine activity; and they augment GABA (the “downer” neurotransmitter that counters glutamate, the “upper”). Below is a closeup of the terpenes on the cannabis plant.
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