When the cannabis plant is alive in the ground, the cannabis flowers contain a substance called CBGA, but no actual CBD or THC.
These molecules develop naturally through a temperature-dependent process as the plant matures, where THCA transforms into THC, and CBDA into CBD.
Like humans, cannabis plants have their own metabolisms, which depend on factors such as enzymes, time, light, and heat. All cannabinoids start as CBGA and develop from there, as illustrated above and on the following page.
Phyto-cannabinoids are cannabinoids derived from plants, whereas endo-cannabinoids are produced internally (endo = in the cell). The latter are also known as “bliss molecules” (anandamide) and are often compared to the phyto-cannabinoid Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
The lifelong ban and legislation on cannabis and related science is now disregarded by many countries, so that researchers now can carry out their investigations unhindered. Researchers in the field discovered more than 150 phyto-cannabinoids, which have already been identified in the cannabis plant.
Terpenes & Terpenoids
Besides cannabinoids, the cannabis flowers also contains terpenes, terpenoids, flavonoids, flavonoid glycosides and polyphenols. It has recently become apparent that terpenes (the molecules responsible for the aroma/scent of plants and trees) can also have a positive influence on the human physiology.
Scientist has recently proposed a potential use of terpenes as chemo agents (chemotherapeutic) for treating various human diseases. A recent review categorized the terpenes which had presented important results in cell and animal testing, each according to their anti-inflammatory, anti-tumorigenic, or neuron protective activities. Phyto-cannabinoids are a promising way to treat and cure a range of diagnosis and conditions.
The cannabinoid and terpene profile has been heavily debated and for the experienced user this is the most important selection parameters. This also illustrates how some cannabis strains are preferred by some people, and some by others.
In the clinical setting, single-molecule drugs are much easier to handle and investigate compared to multi-molecule drugs, such as cannabis. This is also the reason that, to date, innovation within the clinical setting has only arrived at a THC and CBD combination (Sativex).
“For the relief of certain kinds of pain, I believe, there is no more useful medicine than cannabis within our reach”. Archives of Medicine 2, 154-160 (1859).
Most cannabinoids have a number of interesting physiological or psychological properties, alone or in combination with other cannabinoids, terpenes, terpenoids and flavonoids.
For example, many cannabinoids have anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antibacterial properties. Some groups of cannabinoids act specifically on nerves (CB1), others on the immune system (CB2).
As already mentioned cannabinoids acids have been subject to less scientific investigation compared to THC and CBD. With this said, these molecules demonstrate promising potential.
Compared to the non-acidic cannabinoids the acidic ones seems to have a better bioavailability in terms of uptake and metabolic breakdown in humans.