Cannabis contains more than 500 unique compounds, including more than 80 chemical alkaloids known as cannabinoids, each with its own chemical and pharmacological properties that we will talk about today.
Cannabis, also known as marijuana, is the psychoactive or psychotropic that is obtained from the hemp plant or Cannabis used for recreational, religious and medicinal purposes. Cannabis in its fresh state contains tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, which is then converted to THC, the predominant psychoactive chemical compound in cannabis.
It contains more than 500 different chemical compounds, among them we can find that 113 are cannabinoids apart from THC, such as cannabidiol (CBD), or cannabinoid (CBN). Currently, three general types of cannabinoids are recognized: herbal cannabinoids or phytocannabinoids produced naturally by the cannabis plant; endogenous cannabinoids, produced by animal organisms and by the human body (for example, anandamides.); and synthetic cannabinoids, similar compounds generated in the laboratory.
THC is the primary psychoactive component of the plant and from a clinical point of view, it is useful for relieving moderate pain as it has an analgesic effect as well as being neuro-protective. Various studies have proposed the possible beneficial effects of THC in Alzheimer’s disease, declaring that THC can reduce the activity of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, improving the cholinergic transition and preventing the development of the disease.
On the other hand, cannabidiol is a narcotic or narcotic, but it is not considered a psychoactive. Evidence has recently been found showing that cannabis smokers with a high CBD/THC ratio are less likely to suffer from symptoms of schizophrenia. This fact is supported by psychological tests in which participants experience a loss of intensity of psychotic effects when THC is administered together with CBD.
This leads us to the hypothesis that CBD acts as an allosteric antagonist of CB1 and consequently alters the psychoactive effects of THC. Medically, CBD seems responsible for the relief of seizures in refractory epilepsy, inflammation, chronic pain, anxiety, and nausea. Several medical studies are currently being carried out where results are being found in favor of the therapeutic potential of cannabidiol.
Now, CBD-rich oil has become increasingly popular and is administered via sublingual drops, gel caps, or as a topical ointment. THC and THCA are two cannabinoids from the hemp plant, while “cannabis” is the name of the plant itself, “marijuana”, in its proper use, refers only to the leaves and flower portions of the plant that contain a wide range of cannabinoids, including more than 0.3% of the psychoactive compound THC. Hemp, on the other hand, describes the sterilized seeds, stems, and roots of cannabis plants with no more than 0.3% THC. CBD oil produced from these seeds and roots exhibits therapeutic benefits without the mind-altering “high” produced by THC.
Quality control tests for cannabinoids are essential for the accurate labeling of cannabis and hemp products. The term “potency” is normally reserved for the quantification of the main cannabinoids, namely THCA, THC, CBD and CBN.
Currently the HPLC technique has become the gold standard for potency determinations, since the separation and detection of cannabinoids is performed without causing any decomposition of THCA, which is naturally abundant, this acid form decarboxylates to THC under the influence of heat and light. Therefore, GC determinations offer only one parameter of sum of THCA and THC.