When you consume cannabis it is the cannabinoids and terpenes that affect your body.
This post focuses on cannabinoids.
The most common cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), but there are over 100 different cannabinoids found in cannabis. These are called phytocannabinoids. There are also natural cannabinoids within each of our bodies. These are called endocannabinoids.
It was in 1988 when scientists first discovered how cannabinoids affect our bodies and they coined the term endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS maintains your body’s homeostasis by acting as a chemical bridge between your body and your mind. Homeostasis is a balance between your body and mind, and it is maintained through the largest receptor system within your body. Cannabinoids, be them naturally within your body already or consumed through cannabis, interact with these receptors creating different effects in your body.
Unfortunately, because cannabis is federally illegal, the ECS and cannabinoids are understudied. However, we have learned that each person’s ECS is unique, similar to how your personality is unique. Therefore, while some generalizations can be made about how cannabinoids affect your body, we know that they can affect people differently. We also know that because each strain has its own unique combination of cannabinoids and unique dosing of each, each strain will affect you different. And because your ECS is different than mine, the affect within me is different than it is within you.
To complicate things more, to understand how cannabis affects us, we also need to consider the role that terpenes play. Stay tuned for more on terpenes in a future post.