Marijuana contains 85 cannabinoids, many that have already shown to have medical benefits. These have been found to work because many of them resemble chemicals already present in the human body. There have been individuals who say they have tried using cannabis oil and it was unsuccessful in treating their condition, however in the majority of these circumstances, it is more likely that the correct cannabinoid were not present in sufficient enough amounts to be effective. With so many different choices when it comes to strains of medical marijuana, however, how can you know which cannabinoid will work most effectively to alleviate the symptoms of your condition? The cannabinoid wheel has been designed to give patients a breakdown and basic understanding of what cannabis cannabinoids will be most effective at controlling and treating the symptoms of their condition. The wheel is first divided into the type of symptom that needs to be treated, then it lists the individual cannabinoids that treat those symptoms and their associated medical conditions, most effectively.
Cannabis cannabinoids bind to receptors in our brain, called CB-1 receptors, and receptors in our body, called CB-2 receptors, depending on which of these receptors cannabinoids connect to, will determine what effect is experienced by the user, i.e. while the cannabinoid CBN (Cannabidiol) connects to receptors in the body, the cannabinoid THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) attaches to receptors in the brain.
By ingesting cannabinoids that correctly connect to the receptors that will produce the optimal effects of relief, patients can further improve the quality of their condition.
There are currently five main categories of symptoms that have ben identified as being responsive to medical marijuana. These categories are broken down further by medical conditions, and defined by which cannabinoids work most effectively at alleviating the symptoms.
In most circumstances, people will simply treat a symptom, but the results will vary because the same symptom can be caused by many different conditions and varying factors. For example, pain caused by cancer is different to that of fibromyalgia or phantom limb pain. It is important to narrow the categories further to include the cause of the symptom.
In order to explain how to use the cannabis cannabinoid wheel, let’s use pain as an example because it is often the most likely reason to seek relief with the use of medical marijuana. In the category of pain, listed under the pain/sleep category, there are five different cannabinoids that have been found to be effective in treatment. If you don’t know the cause of the chronic pain, you may have to experiment with different strains in order to find one that works. However, if you know the pain is related to another disorder, or you know the specific type of pain, such as migraines, you look further on the wheel.
Looking under the migraine category you find that CBD and THC are both effective on migraine pain. This narrows that original list of five cannabinoids down to two. Now, if you had previously tried a strain of marijuana that had a higher content of one of those three eliminated cannabinoids and a lower content of CBD or THC, the results would not have been positive. If, however, you sought a strain that was high in THC, the likelihood of relief would be great.
What if you are seeking relief from multiple symptoms resulting from something like cancer? Here is where you need to check out several categories and narrow things down. You may be experiencing pain, nausea and general fatigue. Looking at the wheel, you find that there are six different cannabinoids that help in cancer treatment: CBC, CBD, CBDa, CBG, THC and THCa. You then look at the pain category under general pain and see that three of the six previous ones are the same: CBC, CBD and THC. This narrows the choices down but you are still seeking relief from nausea and fatigue. Looking under the nausea category you see CBD and THC are listed, so you have further reduced your choices. Finally, you look to general fatigue and THC is the only cannabinoid listed. What all this means is that if you have cancer and want relief from the listed symptoms, you will find the greatest relief from a strain of medical marijuana that is high in THC. Other strains may help some, but you will find the most relief with a high-THC content.
As we learn more about the properties of the different cannabinoids, things like the cannabinoid wheel may become even more developed and refined. However, in order to fully research and medically study cannabis and it’s 85 cannabinoids, the federal scheduling of cannabis will need to first be changed.