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What is Cannabinoid?

The term cannabinoid refers to any naturally-occurring, biologically active, chemical constituents that can interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the human body.

Cannabinoids can be classified as phytocannabinoids or endocannabinoids, based on where they are derived. Both plants and animals produce their own cannabinoids. The most simple phytocannabinoid definition is the prefix “phyto” means “plant”, which refers to the plant-based origin of phytocannabinoids. When extracted from the plant and consumed, phytocannabinoids interact with our body’s receptors in the endocannabinoid system to produce numerous psychotropic and therapeutic effects. The prefix “endo” in endocannabinoids means “within”, indicating these cannabinoids are produced within the body. Both phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system of the nervous system.

At least 113 different cannabinoids have been isolated from the Cannabis plant to the right, the main classes of cannabinoids from Cannabis are shown. The most studied cannabinoids include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC) and cannabinol (CBN).

 

Why do we and plants produce cannabinoids?

The human body produces cannabinoids for survival through the activation of homeostasis. The cannabis plant also produces cannabinoids for its survival, but in a far more direct response to external pressures. Cannabinoids, produced by the cannabis plant’s trichomes, cover the surface of the plant as a defence against environmental hazards such as insect predators and harsh weather conditions. 

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