The chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is commonly given most of the fanfare when it comes to the effects of Cannabis, but in reality, it’s only one of several chemicals that can have an impact on the way marijuana products affect the human body. Collectively known as cannabinoids, each substance is associated with a variety of characteristics that give Cannabis its psychoactive qualities and the many benefits sought after for medical purposes.
THC is responsible for most of the “high” that is experienced by recreational users, which explains the popularity of the chemical in pop culture. THC is also responsible for marijuana’s soothing effect on nausea, muscle spasms and certain types of pain. Conversely, symptoms such as anxiety and epilepsy can be worsened by high THC levels.
This is why it’s important to select strains with the appropriate mix of cannabinoids for the exact conditions being treated when growing for medical use. Selecting the wrong strains can make symptoms worse.
Cannabinol (CBN) is another cannabinoid found in marijuana. It has a psychoactive effect, but much less so than THC. The chemical is connected to the sleepiness and relaxation aspect of cannabis ingestion, though too much may induce “couch lock” or unwanted grogginess.
The similarly named cannabidiol (CBD) does not have a psychoactive effect and seems to be related to many of the positive medical implications associated with cannabis. Rare forms of epilepsy have been responsive to CBD treatments where traditional approaches fail, and even the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia show improvement in response to the chemical. This finding is in stark contrast to the known role of THC as an aggravator of psychological disorders.
There are over 100 known cannabinoids in cannabis, many of which haven’t been studied to determine their effects. For medical-minded growers, it is important to become familiar with the aspects of as many cannabinoids as possible, though the big three listed above are by far the most important known to date. With this information in hand, the right strains can be selected and growing procedures can be streamlined to produce the highest quantity of the desired chemical(s) as possible.