Science Sunday… …Part three: the cannabinoids…

Whoever discovered them and when (see Part two), defining cannabis’ best known constituent compounds turns out to be less than straightforward and our usual sources shy away from the question.

For starters, cannabinoids found in plants – by far most plentifully in cannabis – are known as “phytocannabinoids.” We know the chemical structure of perhaps forty of these, have studied maybe ten, and the total number is variously estimated as between 70 and perhaps even up to 140 (not including terpenes, etc.).

Also, since the more recent discovery of the human endocannabinoid system (ECS) – which beneficially utilizes them, we’ve begun to discover the human body’s own internally produced “endocannabinoids,” beginning with “anandamide,” and now some scientists assert there may be as many as 200 of these.

Still, when you ask what cannabinoids ARE chemically, i.e., what makes them a “class of chemically related compounds” clear and straightforward answers are hard to come by.

The cannabis press by and large focuses on describing the structure of individual members of the class and what’s known about their effect the body (highly worthwhile info we’ll begin to share later, but not the answer to what makes a cannabinoid.. …a cannabinoid).

Dictionaries, even medical dictionaries, are at a loss to get beyond circular definition, e.g.:

“cannabinoid can·nab·i·noid (kə-nāb’ə-noid’): Any of various organic substances, such as THC, found in cannabis.”

[American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary]

OK…. …and we found five more definitions just as informational.

However we have found and linked below to a cogent and informational paper from 2009 or 10 on the topic to share with you which does much to clarify the situation. It’s well-sourced, and while no author is listed, still, we’re grateful to her, him or them – and to the posters.

The paper concludes: “The use of herbal marijuana as a medicine is here to stay. Both its safety and efficacy have been well established through much anecdotal and clinical experience.”

Bonus geeks-only material: If you want your head to hurt or you’re just more sophisticated than we blog editors, we also unearthed another scientific paper which proposes various scientific schemata (botanical, chemical, and pharmacological), but finds problems with all and proposes…

“To avoid preexisting ambiguity in the word ‘cannabinoids,’ the term ‘cannabimimetics’ has been coined to include all such agents, regardless of origin or structure.” See:

While the rest of (most of) you can click below….

#MMJ #Research #Cannabinoids #TRUCE    

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