Pharmacodynamics: effects and mechanisms of cannabinoids

CBD info

Cannabinoids have received a lot of attention in recent years – whether it be due to the legalization of cannabis that is sweeping the US, scientific research into its effects, or the rise in popularity of hemp and CBD. This attention translates into constant discoveries, most of which appear to be positive – at least initially. Therefore, we thought it was a good idea to take a look at the long-awaited pharmacodynamics of cannabinoids – that is, their mechanisms and effects.


Hemp cannabinoids interact with the body by binding to receptors in the endocannabinoid system. A system that all human beings have and that is found throughout the body. Our body naturally produces its own version of cannabinoids that interact with the system, but adding outside varieties increases the stimulation of the system.

In the endocannabinoid system, there are two main types of receptors known (the discovery of this system is relatively new). The first is the CB1 receiver. CB1 receptors are found primarily in the brain, central nervous system, and related organs. They are believed to play an important role in functions such as sleep, appetite, mood, and pain perception.

The other type of receptors that cannabinoids interact with are known as CB2 receptors. These are found throughout the body – especially in the immune system, the gastrointestinal system, and its related organs. Activation of these receptors is believed to help modulate inflammation, reducing its severity.



Although much more complicated, the above summarizes the mechanics of how cannabinoids interact with the body. So it’s time to take a look at some of its effects. It should be noted that the following effects are still being studied, and new interactions are discovered every day – helping us to understand their true effects.


THC is, without a doubt, the most famous cannabinoid of all. It is also usually the most common cannabinoid in cannabis. In hemp, it is only present in minuscule amounts – so small that it is often considered legal.

THC is psychoactive, which allows its users to feel “high”. In addition, it is also believed to offer pain relief, stimulate appetite, reduce nausea, and suppress muscle spasms.


Possibly the second most famous cannabinoid, CBD is non-psychoactive, which means it does not get you high. It is found in both hemp and cannabis in large amounts.

The main effects of CBD are believed to be reducing inflammation, relieving pain, stimulating appetite, reducing nausea, decreasing anxiety, managing psychosis, reducing the frequency of seizures, suppression of muscle spasms and reduction of bacterial growth – to name a few. As you can see, CBD is the focus of scientific research for good reason.


CBC, although present in small amounts, remains much longer in the bloodstream than other cannabinoids. This makes its effects last longer. It is believed to provide pain relief, reduce inflammation, slow the growth of bacteria, and promote bone formation.


CBG acts as a stem cell for other cannabinoids, such as THC, CBC, and CBD. As the hemp plant grows, the CBG is converted into each of them. Therefore, when harvest time arrives, there is hardly any of it left on the plant. Its effects are believed to be pain relief, inflammation reduction, healthy bone growth, and the ability to fight fungal infections.


CBN is produced when THC is exposed to oxygen. The result is a calming effect. Therefore, it is associated with pain relief, reduction of muscle spasms and improved sleep. When cannabis is consumed, it is partly responsible for the lethargic or “couch” effect that is sometimes experienced.

As you can see, there is a lot to learn about cannabinoids and how they interact with our bodies. The pharmacodynamics of cannabinoids is a very complex subject. We hope the above serves as a brief overview of what’s going on – but if you want to know more there’s a lot more to read.

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