Cannabinoids have been associated with the cure of a number of diseases including cancer and multiple sclerosis to name a few. But where do these cannabinoids come from?
Simply put, these cannabinoid compounds are obtained from cannabis, commonly known as marijuana. Classified as 21-carbon-containing terpenophenolic compounds, they are also referred to as phytocannabinoids.
Apart from delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the primary psychoactive ingredient, there are other compounds that demonstrate similar activity, like cannabinol, cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol, cannabichromene, delta-8-THC and tetrahydrocannabivarin.
The compound known as CBD has a number of benefits that range from analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anxiolytic activity, but minus the psychoactive effects that come with THC.
There’s a lot of research that has pointed to the benefits of these cannabinoids even if the FDA in the United States has not approved these compounds for the treatment of diseases yet.
So, let’s look at some of the effects of these compounds as determined by research over the past few years.
The Benefits of Cannabinoid Compounds
Most of these benefits are based on studies conducted on the use of cannabinoids. So, here are 5 benefits of cannabinoid compounds:
1: Anti-tumor effects
A number of cannabinoids have been found to cause anti-tumor effects by various mechanisms such as cell death, inhibition of cell growth as well as tumor angiogenesis invasion and metastasis.
In a study conducted on rats and mice, cannabinoids have a protective effect on the growth of certain types of tumors. This study was conducted using the THC cannabinoid. Apart from this, there are other studies that stopped the growth of Lewis lung adenocarcinoma cells in vitro and in vivo.
What should also be pointed out is that they kill tumor cells but also do not do anything else to their nontransformed counterparts. Sometimes, they will even protect them from cell death.
As for CBD, an in vitro study concluded that it was capable of inducing programmed cell death while also being able to exert a chemopreventive effect on a mouse model of colon cancer too. Apart from this, it has also been found to decrease cancer cell invasiveness as well as increase intake of cytotoxic drugs into malignant cells. Also, tumors in immunodeficient mice and their growth was inhibited by 60% by THC. It was also clear that this cannabinoid had antiangiogenic and antiproliferative effects.
2: Antiemetic effects
Endocannabinoids can control emetic circuitry tonically and this takes place when interacting with the 5-HT3 receptor. Both CBD and THC have been shown to work well in preventing vomiting, thus proving their use in generating anti-emetic effects too.
3: Appetite Stimulation
A number of animal studies have shown that delta-9-THC and other cannabinoids can stimulate one’s appetite while increasing their food intake as well. What is also believed is that the endogenous cannabinoid system will work as a regulator of feeding behavior. In particular, the endogenous cannabinoid anandamide has shown to increase the appetite of mice.
Cannabinoids are able to produce analgesia through the spinal, supraspinal and peripheral modes of action. They tend to act on ascending and descending pain pathways too. Of course, a deeper understanding of cannabinoids in doing this has come from studying endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors and synthetic agonists and antagonists. Apart from this, these cannabinoids are known to modulate pain by the means of an anti-inflammatory mechanism. In other words, they facilitate the release of inflammatory agents such as serotonin and histamine.
5: Anxiety and Sleep
Using cannabinoids aids in the regulation of mood while also removing aversive memories as well. In particular, CBD tends to have anxiolytic properties and has been proven to exist in a number of animal models too. Also, it has been found that the endocannabinoid system modulates the sleep-waking cycle as well.
While there is still a lot of work to be done in researching the benefits associated with cannabinoids, what is certain is that cannabis can prove to be useful in a number of ways by the medical community.
Are there any other beneficial effects of cannabinoids that you can think of? If so, feel free to share them in the comments section below.