What are cannabinoid compounds?
As per the definition of the National Institute of Health (NIH), cannabinoids are compounds that are found in the marijuana plant that cause a drug-like effect throughout the whole body, including in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Additionally, it also affects the immune system, which typically plays a role in the majority of the medical conditions we see today. The main active cannabinoid compound that is found in marijuana is Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for the psychoactive effects which get you “high”. On the other hand, Cannabidiol, or CBD, which is found in marijuana in trace amounts and in the hemp plant in abundance, does not have any of the psychoactive properties that THC exhibits.
Cannabinoids are similar to the endocannabinoids which exist inside our bodies in structure, so they may exhibit various effects on the targeted organs. Cannabinoids are normally found in our bodies in the form of ‘endocannabinoids’ that target one of the cannabinoids receptors (type 1 or 2), which are normally distributed throughout our brains and our immune systems. This system is known as the Endocannabinoid system, or ECS. These cannabinoid compounds target the receptors in order to provoke a certain action inside our bodies and brains. These ‘actions’ include the control of memory and cognitive functions, pain perception, mood and depression, inflammatory processes, and other immune-related functions.
There are a wide variety of synthetic cannabinoids that are designed to target the endocannabinoid system in order to perform a certain function. Cannabinoids have been known to help treat the symptoms associated with cancer as well as the side effects of its treatment. Moreover, scientific evidence shows that cannabinoids, including CBD, could well be useful for therapy in the future. It is expected that there will be scope for their use as an alleviative measure for chronic pain, certain types of resistant epilepsy, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, depression, psychosis, and many other conditions.
Below, we will briefly summarise the effects of certain cannabinoids on various bodily systems.
Win exciting gifts with our free monthly contests !
Enter your email to participate to our next contest and win many gifts ! Every months we organize a free contest with exiting products to win. CBD oil, gummies, soft-gel, hemp infusion .... Don't miss this opportunity !
Cannabinoids can work as gastrointestinal anti-inflammatory drugs
Preliminary evidence has demonstrated that cannabinoids can exhibit various anti-inflammatory effects on inflammatory gastrointestinal diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis and Crohns disease. In addition, cannabinoids at low, non-psychoactive doses have been shown to counteract some of the non-inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, such as chemotherapy-induced diarrhoea.
However, though these findings are supported by scientific studies, more studies with a larger participating group are needed to confirm these observations beyond doubt.
The effects of cannabinoids on the endocrine system
Substantial evidence has confirmed the role of endocannabinoids in the regulation of food intake and energy regulation inside our bodies, as well as having a significant impact on the endocrine system. This system includes all of our endogenous glands such as the pancreas, adrenal gland, and pituitary gland, which are involved in the regulation of many endogenous functions. Therefore, the interrelations between both systems (ECS and the endocrine system) may be a therapeutic target for many drugs which would target various diseases like diabetes, infertility, obesity, amongst others.
The results of some scientific studies showed that various cannabinoids (THCV and CBD) may be promising agents in the treatment of type 1 diabetes. These cannabinoids reduced fasting plasma glucose and improved pancreatic cell function. However, these results require further confirmation by clinical trials.
The role of cannabinoids and endocannabinoids in the lungs
There has been a large body of evidence supporting the fact that the activation of the cannabinoid system helps to alleviate pain as well as reducing inflammation. In the context of lung inflammation, various cannabinoids (exogenous and endogenous) have shown valid therapeutic potential due to their inhibitory effects on the immune system. However, this research still warrants further confirmation prior to imparting it onto the public as confirmed fact.
Bones and Joints: The Effects of Cannabinoids on the Skeleton
Recent research has demonstrated the influence of the endocannabinoid system on the process of bone metabolism. With the use of various cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), it was observed that they are involved in the processes of bone growth and remodelling – a field which has become clinically relevant in recent years. However, the relevance of these observations on humans is not very clear at the current time, therefore, we require more research in order to generalise these observations.
Cannabinoids in the Treatment of Resistant Epilepsy
Evidence regarding the potential anti-epileptic efficacy of cannabinoids has reached a turning point in the past 3 years. After the conduction of 3 high-quality placebo-controlled clinical trials, it was proven that cannabinoids, particularly Cannabidiol (CBD), was more effective than placebo in the management of certain types of epilepsy. Such effects were also noted for Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Today, CBD is FDA-approved in the management of these disorders.
Cannabinoids and Cardiovascular System
Cannabinoids can influence the cardiovascular system (both the heart and blood vessels) in a broad variety of ways. The endocannabinoid system plays a crucial role in both the physiology and pathology of the heart. The ECS is over-activated during certain pathological conditions (diseases), where it plays both a protective and compensatory role. This includes the effect of various cannabinoids on various forms of heart diseases, such as hypertension-increased blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and other inflammatory-associated conditions. Recently, it has been shown that the cannabinoid (CBD) has the potential to decrease the resting blood pressure of normal subjects.
However, the role that cannabinoids play on the cardiovascular system is still under investigation and the results are not yet confirmatory. Therefore, more research is needed in this area in order to create a drug that can save humanity from heart disorders and hypertension.
Table1. Summary of evidence for medicinal use of cannabis based products and cannabinoids.
Number of studies (Participants)
Primary Product Tested
Summary estimate (95% Confidence interval)
Grade Certainty Rating
Sativex (THC + CBD)
30% reduction in pain
Odds ratio: 1.46 (1.16 – 1.84). More effective than placebo
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Sativex (THC + CBD)
Ashworth spasticity scale
Weighted mean difference: -0.12 (-0.24 to 0.01). Not more effective than placebo
Treatment of resistant types of Epilepsy
50% reduction in seizure frequency
Relative risk: 1.74 (1.24 – 2.43). More effective than placebo
Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
Complete response in nausea and vomiting
Odds ratio: 3.82 (1.55 – 9.42). More effective than placebo.
??? Moderate : the authors believe that the true effect is probably close to the estimated effect;
?? Low : the true effect might be markedly different from the estimated effect.