The chemical compounds found in the Cannabis plant, called cannabinoids, offer a variety of health benefits. While there are over 80 different cannabinoids in marijuana, only a handful have been researched and are known to provide positive effects on the human body. Understanding how cannabinoids affect the body helps you find the right strain for your individual needs.
Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the most well-known cannabinoid due to its euphoric and psychoactive effects on your body (i.e.; the "high"). THC can alter behavior, consciousness, mood and perception. Marijuana is often prescribed as a pain killer -- one of the main health benefits of THC. THC is commonly used to stimulate your appetite.
THC-A is the acidic form of THC known as tetrahydrocannabinolic acid. THC-A is the biosynthetic precursor for THC without any psychoactive effects. A variety of pharmacological effects are associated with THC-A, including anti-inflammatory, antiemetic, anti-prostate cancer, anti-vomiting and neuroprotective. Purified THC-A forms an unstable powder.
Tetrahydrocannabivarin, or THC-V, is a homologue of THC found naturally in the Cannabis plant. THC-V has a propyl side chain group on the molecule which can affect your body much differently than THC. This cannabinoid is often associated with appetite suppression, reduced blood sugar and bone growth stimulation.
Cannabinol, abbreviated as CBN, stems from cannabigerolic acid. CBN is the cannabinoid responsible for inducing sedative-like effects. You might want to reserve strains with high levels of CBN for use before bed. CBN is also used as an anti-bacterial and may reduce muscle spasms.
Most health benefits of marijuana are associated with the cannabidiol cannabinoid, known as CBD. Marijuana products are often enhanced with CBD to provide more potent effects. Choose a strain with high levels of CBD if you're looking to use marijuana as an alternative form of medication. CBD is also used to treat Dravet syndrome, sold under the drug brand name of Epidiolex.
Some other common cannabinoids include CBD-A, CBC, CBC-A, CBG and CBG-A. Use the "Health Effects of Marijuana" chart, below, to identify which cannabinoids induce the effects you're looking for.
Health Effects of Marijuana