The three forms of cannabinoids include phytocannabinoids (those derived from plants), endocannabinoids (those produced naturally in the body) and synthetic.
Cannabis sativa, the plant used to make hemp or marijuana, has about 500 chemicals including the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavanoids. The cannabinoids include: THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD (cannabidiol), CBDA (cannabidiolic acid), (THC-A) carboxylated tetrahydrocannabinol amongst others.
The Endocannabinoid system (ECS) has only recently been discovered. It consists of endocannabinoids, their receptors and their pathways. They are involved in regulating physiologic processes including the immune system, mood, appetite, memory and pain.
There are two main receptors, CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are primarily found in the central (brain) and peripheral nervous systems and affect neurotransmitter release. CB2 receptors are on immune cells, help regulate cytokine release and are associated with inflammation.
CB1 receptors are among the most abundant receptors in the human brain and upregulation has neuroprotective effects. CB2 receptors are modestly expressed in adipose tissue, bone, the reproductive system, the liver, the GI tract, and the cardiovascular system.
The two main endocannabinoids include anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol.
Endocannabinoid tone refers to our sensitivity to CBD. it is affected by genetics, diet, sleep and other lifestyle factors. The same CBD doses and ingestion routes are likely to produce different effects for different people.
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Dr. Laurie Goldman is a medical doctor, psychiatrist, and functional medicine practitioner who’s been in private practice since 1999. She founded Clear Path Wellness to help her patients reach their maximum state of mental and physical health using a personalized, comprehensive approach powered by the principles of functional medicine, which treats the whole person, not just symptoms.