How and why this group of compounds is changing the way we think about medicine

What are cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Of over 480 different compounds present in the plant, only around 85 are termed cannabinoids.

Cannabinoids work by replicating compounds our bodies naturally produce, called endocannabinoids, which activate to preserve internal stability and health. Simply put, they facilitate communication between cells, and when there is a deficiency with our endocannabinoid system, negative symptoms and physical difficulties occur.

When cannabis is consumed, cannabinoids bind to receptor sites on cells throughout our brain (receptors called CB-1) and body (CB-2). Different cannabinoids have different effects depending on which receptors they bind to. For example, THC binds to receptors in the brain whereas CBN (cannabinol) has a strong affinity for CB-2 receptors located throughout the body. By targeting the correct cannabinoid at the correct receptors, different forms of relief are attainable. This process within our bodies is referred to as the endocannabinoid system (ECS).