The human body includes a network of receptors that respond to the active chemical compounds of the cannabis plant.
This network is called the endocannabinoid system or ECS and is a fairly recent discovery. Scientists now believe the ECS to be responsible for maintaining homeostasis. It works to regulate memory, mood, appetite, sleep, pain and so much more. Cannabis can influence all of these functions because it links to endocannabinoid receptors. The two main receptors are CB1 and CB2. Different cannabinoids react with them in unique ways to create a variety of effects. The most abundant and well-known cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), but there are over one hundred known cannabinoids. While both THC and CBD are natural chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant, they each have very different effects on the body and mind. Along with cannabinoids, the cannabis plant also provides terpenes. Terpenes are aromatic oils found in quite a few different plants. They are the reason for the strong aromas and flavors associated with marijuana. Their purpose is to protect the plant from predators. It is believed that terpenes play an important role in curative properties. Terpenes interact with cannabinoids to intensify or balance the effects of various strains. The way terpenes and cannabinoids work together is called the “Entourage Effect.” For example, studies have shown that the combination of THC and CBD is more beneficial as a medicinal treatment than one or the other on its own. While THC binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors to create effects such as the euphoric high, scientists aren’t too clear on how CBD works. We do know that CBD can help to lessen the less appealing side-effects of THC. Plus, CBD has proven effective in treating inflammation and chronic pain.