Since the discovery of THC, the medical industry has been interested in studying the interactions between cannabinoids and the human endocannabinoid system (ECS). Synthetic cannabinoids (SCBs) have been developed to mimic the effects of natural cannabinoids, with thousands of compounds created. These chemicals have different structures and a higher affinity for ECS receptors, making them more potent than natural cannabinoids. They have been used in pharmacological studies and show potential for treating various medical conditions. However, they also have drawbacks such as unpredictable side effects and a higher risk for abuse.
Cannabimimetic compounds, including cannabinoids, terpenes, and non-cannabinoid constituents, have garnered considerable interest for their interactions with the human endocannabinoid system (ECS). While THC and CBD are widely studied, numerous non-cannabis plants have been found to produce cannabimimetic components that stimulate or modulate the ECS. These compounds can bind to cannabinoid receptors or influence ECS-related enzymes. Such interactions impact physiological processes like neurotransmission, sleep, appetite, mood, and immune response. Alkaloids, terpenes, and other compounds in common herbs and spices exhibit cannabimimetic properties. Understanding and harnessing these compounds hold promise for therapeutic interventions. In this newsletter, we will provide an overview of Cannabis-like compounds beyond the Cannabis genus, highlighting their potential and importance in expanding therapeutic research and drug development.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex network in the human body that plays a role in various physiological processes. THC and CBD are believed to be the main agents responsible for the effects of cannabis, but research has suggested that the combination of different cannabinoids in cannabis may produce effects that are different from the simple combination of each individual component, a phenomenon known as the “entourage effect.”
CBD and THC are the two most significant cannabinoids found in cannabis. Raphael Mechoulam discovered the structure of THC in 1964 and found it to be psychoactive. The discovery of THC led to the exploration of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) which is made up of chemical compounds that bind to cannabinoid receptors (CBRs) found in the nervous system. The ECS influences a wide variety of processes, including motor learning, appetite, and pain sensation. THC is thought to bind to CB1 receptors in the brain and regulate hunger by affecting the production of endocannabinoids.