Phytocannabinoids, an overview.
‘Terpenoids comprise a very large family of related chemical compounds. Within this group, there are many sub-families, including Terpenes (where the family gets its name), semiterpene lactones, cannabinoids and others. Among the Cannabinoid family are Phytocannabinoids, made by plants, and endocannabinoids, made by animals.
Cannabinoids all share similar structures and properties, and were first discovered in Cannabis, which is where the cannabinoid sub-family gets it’s name. We have now isolated cannabinoid synthesis in plants and plant families other than genus Cannabis, including family Asteraceae, and plants including Flax, Echinacea and Heliochrysum.
The greatest number of different cannabinoids are found in Cannabis and at last count exceed 100 different cannabinoids isolated. The Cannabis plant uses enzymes to physiologically direct production of cannabinoids in the acid form (cannabinoid acids), many of which then further react to form different other cannabinoid acids, neutral cannabinoids (like THC & CBD), and other terpenoids. Many of these secondary reactions occur from the addition of heat, light (commonly UVB) or both.
In genus Cannabis, most cannabinoids are present only in very tiny amounts, making identification and characterization a slow process. As a result, little is known about the chemical and physical properties unique to each of these chemical compounds. Currently, the cannabinoids found in highest concentration (through selective hybridization) and therefore most studied are THC-A, CBD-A, CGB-A, and THCV-A, along with their neutral forms, THC, CBD, CBG and THCV. Recently strains rich in CBC-A have become more readily available for investigation; it was recently reported in a study that CBC is ten times more potent in managing stress than CBD, requiring 1/10 as much to obtain the same result as with CBD.
The largest proportion of cannabinoids produced, like THC, have a short ‘tail’ of 5 carbons in the molecular structure. A few cannabinoids have a shorter 3 carbon tail: these are referred to as varins. Tetrahydrocannabivarin, or THCV is a 3 carbon tail version of THC. Very similar to THC, THCV is psychoactive, even more so than THC, but the psychoactivity only lasts for about half is long. THCV has proven to be highly effective in the treatment of P.T.S.D. We are just starting to research CBDV, the varin form of CBD. Cannabinoids with 4 carbon and 1 carbon tails have been discovered as well, but only in extremely small amounts.
Cannabigerol acid, CBG-A, is first made by the plant, which in turn is directed by different enzymes, mentioned earlier, to transform itself into THC, CBD, or CBC. In plants that lack enzymes to create these different cannabinoids, other terpenoids are synthesized from the CBG-A; probably the result of yet other enzymes. CBG-A and CBG, its neutral form, both exhibit a wide array of potent medicinal and even regenerative properties.’
Taming THC: Potential Cannabis Synergy and Phytocannabinoid-Terpenoid Entourage Effects
‘…Particular focus will be placed on phytocannabinoid-terpenoid interactions that could produce synergy with respect to treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal and bacterial infections (including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Scientific evidence is presented for non-cannabinoid plant components as putative antidotes to intoxicating effects of THC that could increase its therapeutic index. Methods for investigating entourage effects in future experiments will be proposed. Phytocannabinoid-terpenoid synergy, if proven, increases the likelihood that an extensive pipeline of new therapeutic products is possible from this venerable plant.’
Overview – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/artic…
The Cannabis – Terpene Synergy [The Entourage Effect]
‘Terpenes are aromatic compounds that are produced alongside cannabinoids in the rosette of cells that holds up the head of the trichome. Most of the terpenes that create the many scents of cannabis are shared among the plant kingdom…’
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