Although the history of cannabis and its usage by humans dates to at least the third millennium BC in written history, we have only begun to understand the way it chemically works inside your body within the last 40 years.
First, we will break down the endocannabinoid system. This system is found in all humans and animals. Endocannabinoids are produced by cells within your body. These tiny molecules bind to and activate cannabinoid receptors located throughout your body. Cannabinoid receptors sit on the surface of cells and listen to conditions outside the cell. There are two main cannabinoid receptors: CB1 located mostly in your brain, and CB2 located mostly outside of the nervous system. These receptors are directly impacted when cannabis is consumed.
Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds secreted by cannabis flower. The most common cannabinoids you have probably heard of are THC and CBD, but there are at least 85 different cannabinoids found in cannabis. Each of these cannabinoids has different effects on the body. Cannabinoids bind to receptors found in the body and brain, just like the endocannabinoids our bodies naturally produce. Your genetic makeup and individual endocannabinoid system determines what kind of affects you experience from different cannabis products.
Secreted in the same glands that produce cannabinoids like THC and CBD, terpenes are aromatic oils that give cannabis strains distinctive flavors like citrus, berry, mint, and pine. Over 100 different terpenes have been identified in the cannabis plant, and every strain tends toward a unique terpene type and composition. Terpenes continue to be studied, and we are learning more and more regarding how they affect our interaction with cannabis each and every day.
Like most sciences, the chemical reaction between cannabis plants and your body’s make up is ever evolving. As we learn more, our understanding of the plant changes. It is important to remain up to date with the newest developments in cannabis related science in order to remain educated and tailor your experience exactly how you want it.