If you want to know how many cannabinoids are there you’re in the right place as we cover this and so much more in this action packed article on cannabis, the endocannabinoid system and how hemp plays a major role in all of this.
The hemp or cannabis plant is one in the same and is the very first medicinal plant to be used by humans with recorded use dating back as far as 4000 BC in China and there is even evidence of its use before history was recorded.
However, scientists have only recently discovered that the compounds found inside cannabis are unique and many of these compounds, known as phytocannabinoids, are not found in any other plant on the planet. This is a relatively recent discovery. How many cannabinoids are there? There are over 400 cannabinoids that have been discovered so far. Some cannabinoids are found in the hemp plant and others are found to be produced by the body.
Researchers assumed that cannabidiol (CBD) was a relatively inactive compound and focused their original efforts on the psychoactive cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), before they realized just how powerful CBD is along with the medicinal activity of the other 200 plus cannabinoids found in the plant (not to mention the other plant compounds that are not cannabinoids such as terpenes, flavanols, phytosterols and fatty acids).
It turns out that plant based cannabinoids function in a very similar fashion to the chemical messengers found in our own bodies called endocannabinoids. Interestingly enough, modern science only discovered the endocannabinoid system, endocannabinoids and started researching how and why phytocannabinoids work inside the human body in the mid-1990s. This is because scientists wanted to learn more about the effects of cannabis on humans.
Evolution millions of years ago had seen the creation of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in all non-vertebrates and this system assists in the healthy functioning and balance (homeostasis) of every physical system in the body from digestion to sleep. The ECS is seen to develop very early in human development at 8-weeks gestation.
The endocannabinoid system produces what is referred to as endocannabinoids which are a type of compound called a “neurochemical” and these particular ones are found throughout the nervous system reaching far into every corner of the body from the immune system to the reproductive system. These endocannabinoids and the receptors they attach themselves to, are found in all mammals from reptiles, birds, fish, dogs, cats and dolphins (even earthworms).
Anandamide is one of the endocannabinoids (neurochemicals) produced by the human body and is found in mothers breast milk along with another important cannabinoid 2-AG. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), works in a similar way to anandamide, this is the well known compound for producing the “high” in marijuana users.
It works by attaching itself to the receptors in our body called CB1 and CB2. These receptors work like lock and key and are part of the endocannabinoid system. How many cannabinoids are there? Anandamide and 2-AG are just two of the four hundred documented thus far, with researchers finding more every week.
Anandamide is improved in it’s function by CBD, which binds to and activates receptors that prevent the enzymes that metabolize and breakdown anandamide, essentially keeping this powerful natural endocannabinoid free flowing in the body for longer. This powerful action of CBD produces anti-anxiety, antipsychotic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and analgesic effects.
Although we tend to look at CBD as the compound providing the healing effects we see, it would be far more accurate to say that CBD is the cannabinoid that assists the body in healing itself through bringing more balance and order to the endocannabinoid system.
We see that across the world, the cannabis plant is becoming legalized in various countries and states due to these reasons. Burdening healthcare costs put a strain on healthcare systems and it is for this reason among others, that cannabis is being legalized, so that the sick can begin to heal themselves and their friends and family through smart use of this miracle plant.
As more people heal themselves with cannabis use, from debilitating conditions such as epilepsy, endometriosis, cardiovascular disease, insomnia, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, bipolar, schizophrenia, cancer and a long list of physical and mental illnesses, we see these same people with their friends and family becoming activists for the legalization of cannabis.
We back these incredible testimonials up with the growing body of research that is published in reputable peer reviewed medical journals and we have a winning formula for change that simply cannot be ignored.
In countries and states where cannabis use has been legalized we see a significant decline in the deaths and overdoses from pain medications such as opiates. Cannabidiol is saving lives that could have been lost from overdose on pharmaceutical painkillers. The analgesic effects are just the beginning of these powerful compounds found in this unique plant.
Although the results obtained with the use of cannabinoid-rich cannabis products have been groundbreaking, there is still a lot of education to be done around cannabis and how to best use treatments most effectively. Medical schools are now only just starting to educate Doctors on the endocannabinoid system and that leaves the current medical community open to self-learning about this important system and how cannabis interacts with it. But it still leaves many medical professionals uneasy about how best to recommend medicinal cannabis.
The cannabinoid CBD is highly regarded by most experts in the medical and scientific fields to have an incredibly wide scope of applications. CBD is so well regarded due to several factors such as 1) it has a very low risk of addiction 2) it has virtually no side effects 3) there is almost no chance of a lethal overdose. When you compare the benefits of CBD to opiates and other pharmaceutical medications commonly used for debilitating conditions, it almost becomes a complete no-brainer to at the very least give cannabis a try.
Although we still need more research on cannabis and it’s over two hundred phytochemical compounds, what we do know from the vastly growing research available, is that it has numerous powerful effects on health and its applications of potential use run far and wide. What is also clear is that the effects of cannabis are most available to users when they utilize a product derived from the whole plant containing a full spectrum of naturally occuring plant compounds rather than from synthetic or isolated cannabinoids.
If you would like to learn more about hemp, cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system, be sure to spend time reading through our blog as our editors scrape the research from peer reviewed medical journals and bring you the most up to date information in a way that’s easy to understand and digest.
We hope this answered your question about how many cannabinoids are there in hemp, which there's over 130 with more being documented weekly. If you would like to learn more about the individual cannabinoids and what they are, you can read our other article here.