Plant-derived cannabinoids, or phytocannabinoids, are the chemical substances associated with the medicinal properties of Cannabis sativa. Produced exclusively by varieties of this plant species, they are found in greater quantities on the female Cannabis plant. Even though the use of Cannabis as a medicine has been documented for at least the last two thousand years, it was only in the 20th century that cannabinoids were discovered and identified as the substances behind the plant’s therapeutic potential.

CBD was the first compound to be isolated and described in 1963 by Israeli chemist Raphael Mechoulam. The same researcher discovered a year later that THC, the plant’s psychotropic compound, produces changes in behavior. Nowadays, scientists have discovered and are investigating around 80 different types of cannabinoids.

The different medicinal effects caused by each strain of Cannabis are a consequence of the amount and proportion of cannabinoids that are produced by the plant’s flowers. The lack of that knowledge during the 19th century, when Cannabis became a popular drug throughout the Western world, restricted its applications in medicine. Nowadays, with the use of stabilized genetics, standardized cultivation techniques and laboratory tests it is possible to produce plants with well-defined amounts and proportions of THC, making it easier to develop Cannabis’ full therapeutic potential.

THC is the main psychoactive substance found in cannabis, and it induces effects that alter brain activity and behavior. Among its most known medicinal properties THC is used as a pain killer, an anti-inflammatory, an antispasmodic (controls muscle spasms), an appetite regulator and an antiemetic (nausea suppressant). It is used for the treatment of nausea, chronic pain, and as a palliative treatment for cancer symptoms and symptoms derived from chemotherapy or radiotherapy

CBD is also one of the most abundant substances in cannabis, but it has no psychotropic effects. Its properties are being researched, and it has shown promising results in the treatment of anxiety, epilepsy and some psychiatric disorders, and researchers have demonstrated that CBD is efficient in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s. Among its most known medicinal properties CBD is used as an anticonvulsant (antiseizure), anti-inflammatory, antipsychotic, antioxidant, neuroprotector and immunomodulator.

The endocannabinoid system is a complex communication network among neurons which was discovered through research into the effect of plant cannabinoids on the human body. First described in 1992, it is crucial in keeping many different physiological processes in balance, like appetite, pain and sleep. Therefore, the endocannabinoid system is ever more a focal point when it comes to the development of new classes of drugs

The main components of this system are the cannabinoid receptors and substances that interact with them and are produced by our own bodies; their are known as endocannabinoids. Some types of cannabinoid receptors have been described already.

The most important and most studied are cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1), which is mainly present in central nervous system cells, and cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2), which is more commonly found in cells of the immune system. Some types of endocannabinoids are also known, and the ones that are most studied are anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG).

Over the last decades, hundreds of studies on the endocannabinoid system have been conducted, and today it is a known fact that many health problems are associated with an unbalance in this system. The therapeutic effect of plant-derived cannabinoids is explained through their interaction with cannabinoid receptors and through their potential to restore the normal functioning of the endocannabinoid system.

Plant-derived cannabinoids, or phytocannabinoids, are the chemical substances associated with the medicinal properties of Cannabis sativa. Produced exclusively by varieties of this plant species, they are found in greater quantities on the female Cannabis plant. Even though the use of Cannabis as a medicine has been documented for at least the last two thousand years, it was only in the 20th century that cannabinoids were discovered and identified as the substances behind the plant’s therapeutic potential.

CBD was the first compound to be isolated and described in 1963 by Israeli chemist Raphael Mechoulam. The same researcher discovered a year later that THC, the plant’s psychotropic compound, produces changes in behavior. Nowadays, scientists have discovered and are investigating around 80 different types of cannabinoids.

The different medicinal effects caused by each strain of Cannabis are a consequence of the amount and proportion of cannabinoids that are produced by the plant’s flowers. The lack of that knowledge during the 19th century, when Cannabis became a popular drug throughout the Western world, restricted its applications in medicine. Nowadays, with the use of stabilized genetics, standardized cultivation techniques and laboratory tests it is possible to produce plants with well-defined amounts and proportions of THC, making it easier to develop Cannabis’ full therapeutic potential.