INTRO: On a molecular level, cannabis is crazy. Within a single cannabis plant are cannabinoids (like THC, and CBD), but also terpenes, and flavonoids. Of course you’ve heard of THC and CBD, but the other things… maybe not so much.
Just because terpenes and flavonoids aren’t the star of the show doesn’t mean that they aren’t vital to the way the body experiences cannabis.
A stage production of Hamlet would be really lame if for two hours all you saw was the actor playing Hamlet but with no additional ensemble, no ghost, no Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
Cannabis is the same way, and needs a whole ensemble to sell the show. In this article we’re going to explore what different weed molecules (cannabinoids) can accomplish when working together in your body and your mind.
In 1964, THC was the first cannabinoid to be isolated in a lab by Raphael Mechoulam. Since then, it has become abundantly clear that there are many cannabinoids that boast different capabilities, especially when working together.
THC is believed to have the potential to help with seizures, anxiety, and potentially curbing other disorders such as anorexia
By 1998 the phrase “The Entourage Effect” was coined, suggesting that cannabis components rally around a centralized molecule (THC). This notion has since been debunked because the molecules work together like an ensemble inside of the ECS (endocannabinoid system).
The Endocannabinoid System
The human body comes fully equipped with a network of receptors called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). These receptors in our body are called CB1 and CB2, and they are tied to our central and peripheral nervous systems.
In other words, the ECS helps to regulate things like sleep, mood, immune response, and digestion. The Endocannabinoid System passes the effects of cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes onto our CB1 and CB2 receptors which exist in the brain, muscle tissue, and organs.
Freaky, but cool!
How Does The Ensemble Effect Work?
Everyone knows the saying “Indica, in da couch..” That’s because the Indica cannabis strain is dominant in CBD, which is the cannabinoid that is responsible for making you relaxed.
The thing to remember about the ensemble effect is that you will need ⅔ different cannabis molecules in order to get the maximum benefit. Meaning, that if you smoke or eat something that is only made of CBD, it will not work as well as if it had the same amount of CBD with one little tiny bit of THC added into the mix.
What is going on with these molecules?
There are over 100 types of cannabinoids, THC and CBD just happen to be the most popular ones. Some of the other most well-known cannabinoids are:
CBD is the first cannabinoid to be included in an FDA-approved treatment for seizures. Also celebrated for treating anxiety and depression, CBD has made waves for people who are seeking a more natural approach to relief.
CBG comes from young cannabis plants and also does not make you high like THC. More studies need to be done, but so far CBG has shown promising data that it could aid with inflammatory bowel disease, glaucoma, Huntington’s disease, and fighting cancerous cells.
CBN is slightly psychoactive but has been believed to show promise with the help of relieving the effects of Rheumatoid arthritis, seizures, Chrohn’s disease, and postoperative pain.
Considered one of the “Big Six” main cannabinoids, CBC is believed to help with acne, cancer, brain inflammation, depression,
Terpenes are the part of any plant that gives off a fragrance. Found in the plant’s sticky resin glands, terpenes affect your brain by stimulating receptors in your olfactory system.
Smell is one of the most powerful of our senses and can result in psychological or physiological benefits.
A good example is “pinene,” which helps with focus and feelings of alertness, and smells like pine!
What if I Don’t Want to Get High?
Many people are not interested in the psychological effects of weed, but still experience pain that could be eased with the assistance of cannabis.
Luckily, there are strains that are bred with this exact intention in mind. Strains that focus more on the CBD element, and only include the smallest amount of THC possible to help activate the full spectrum of CBD benefits.
We live in the golden age of cannabis. It’s so easy to get the exact type of cannabis strain that can cater to your individual needs.
Have fun discovering which “ensemble” you would like to be a part of.