The other day I came across some Dronabinol, which is a synthetic version of the cannabaniod THC. It is a FDA approved medication, prescribed for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting treatment), as well as anorexia related to weight loss in patients with AIDS, according to Goodrx in this blog here. I got to thinking about how this drug being a scheduled II is such a hypocrisy from our government for recognizing the medicinal properties from the cannabis plant, but at the same time ignoring it's full potential, and keeping it a Scheduled 1. This classification states that a substance that has no medical usages, and has a potential for abuse. According to the DEA, drugs that are Scheduled 1:
- LSD(Lysergic Acid Diethylamid)
- 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (Ecstasy)
- Cannabis(grass, weed, devils lettuce, wacky backy,)
Of course all of these banned substances have great medical value, but that is a whole other post, for a different day.
So let's get back to this synthetic form of THC, that is approved by Uncle Sam for ingestion. Does it work better then cannabis? That is really personal preference, who am I to say it does not work, to the person who swears by this stuff? Me personally, I think Marinol does not even come close to whole plant cannabis. Marinol does not have the same therapeutic effects as whole plant cannabis does, according to this research. Another downside to Marinol, is it takes 30-60 min to kick in, while cannabis is instant, when vaporized or smoked. By why is a synthetic version of THC less effective then the real thing? Well the answer is very complex, but the short one is, it is more then just THC.
Entourage Effect(Is It real, or a myth)
One reason why whole plant cannabis is so therapeutic, is something cannabis users have known all along(even though we could not tell you why), but research is emerging on this subject, and we are discovering that the effects of cannabis is due to all of the compounds found withing the plant. They are dubbing this synergy of compounds the "Entourage Effect". Cannabonids and Terpenes working together as one.
Within our brain is the Endocannabinoid system, and we have receptors for cannabonids. A cannabaniod is a chemical that attaches itself to this receptor, according to this Wikipedia article here. SClabs states there has been 70 unique cannabinoids discovered within the cannabis plant. We still have a long ways to go before we understand each cananbiniod individually. We still do not even understand why we have receptors just for this chemical, and why is there so many of them found within a plant! One thing for sure is, this plant has not earned mankind's love for nothing. The big 2 cannabonoids that everyone knows are THC, and CBD
Here is a short list of some of the other prevalent less known Cannabanoids
** For a very cool guide, check out this page here
So as we see, there are many more things going on when you consume cannabis. I encourage you to do some more research. You may be surprised at what effects some of these less known cannabanoids provide.
If you are familiar with cannabis, you would know that there are many flavors and aromas from strain to strain, this is because of terpenes. You will also find the same terpenes in products, and in nature you come across in everyday life. Ever wonder why OGKush smells lemony, well that is the terpene Limonene, why does that Tangie smell like oranges, well that is Valencene. Breeders over the years have combined so many terpene profiles to create new strains. Just like my Blueberry Muffin I grew, it smelt exactly like Baked Blueberry Muffins!
Here is a list of some strains with interesting terpene profiles that you need to check out, especially if you live in California!
But wait, there is more! Terpenes do not only create the different aromas in cannabis, but they also work with how cannabanoids work in your body, and have medicinal properties. According to this article here, terpenes can intensify or downplay the effects of the cannabinoids. It other words, it can determine if you are going to get tired and sleepy, and want to stay on the couch all day. Or it can determine if you are going to consume a strain, and then clean all day. Before they would classify these effects from the strain you are consuming in just two categories.
- Cannabis Indica(Known as a more sedative effect)
- Cannabis Sativa(Known for a more energetic felling)
Oh have times changed. These classifications for cannabis strains effects are not only becoming obsolete due to us learning about the 'Entourage Effect', but because of hybridization. There is really no true indicas or sativas in the gene pool in today's cannabis. I predict in the near future you will see more and more terpene profiles listed on cannabis, so people can pinpoint exactly which medicine they need.
It is no secret that the Entourage Effect is real. I understand that more research is needed on this subject, but I have no doubts about the effects of different strains has on me. But it is also more complex then just compounds within a certain strain. There are more variables that come into play, on how a certain strain will make me fell. These variables are, time of day when I consume, what kind of mood I am in, and then other factors like, am I on other medication and so on. All of the answers are around the corner. With legalization sweeping the world, and a high interest in this herb, there will be no more guess work when it comes to cannabis, and people can choose exactly what they need for medicine.