Analyzing the Chemical Compounds in Marijuana

  1. The two primary compounds that contribute to marijuana's therapeutic value are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Natural marijuana plants contain 5% to 15% THC, the most active ingredient. The variability in THC-to-CBD ratio in different marijuana plants makes dosage standardization difficult nearly impossible to regulate in marijuana farms. The duration of marijuana's effects depends on dosage; however, it is unclear how to deliver a specific dose of marijuana by smoking.
  2. THC, the primary psychoactive component of marijuana, binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and produces feelings of euphoria, altered sense of time, analgesia, increased appetite, and impaired memory.  THC interferes with anandamide’s ability to naturally protect and balance cell activity. Repeated THC exposure continually dampens down the activity of many brain cells, causing there to be too much INHIBITION.  In fact, THC effects are similar to those produced by naturally occurring chemicals found in the brain (and body) called endogenous cannabinoids. These chemicals help control many of the same mental and physical functions that may be disrupted by marijuana use.
  3. CBD is a nonpsychoactive compound that is a serotonin receptor agonist with anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects (does not contribute to the feeling of “being high.”  CBD has been found to provide relief from chronic pain due to muscle spasticity, muscle convulsions and inflammation.  This type of pain is often experienced by patients who suffer from Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia and Epilepsy. Thus considered to have a wider scope of medical applications than THC.