The short (but scientific) answer is that cannabinoids are microscopic compounds found in the cannabis plant. But they are also found in other plants, created in labs, and our bodies produce our own cannabinoids too! Cannabinoids interact with a system in our bodies called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS, for short) and while there’s a group of these compounds collectively referred to as cannabinoids, there are actually over 100 different specific cannabinoids found in cannabis. You could say that when it comes to cannabinoids, there’s more than meets the eye.
And, cannabinoids are not only found in cannabis! There’s also:
Endocannabinoids: These are very interesting because we make them ourselves and they serve one purpose: to interact with our ECS to create a desired result. Our bodies are constantly seeking homeostasis - so our various systems step in to get closer to that ultimate goal. This can include working to reduce inflammation, anxiety, or pain, but chemical reactions are constantly happening in our bodies (while we go about our days) to make us feel healthy and happy. That’s a hard-working bod! Phytocannabinoids: Yes, this includes those found in cannabis, but cannabinoids are also found in many plants - including some that might already be in your kitchen cupboard. Black pepper, lemon, lavender, and rosemary to name a few. Echinacea, Cacao, and Flax seeds also contain cannabinoids and have similarly been used medicinally for years. Interesting parallels to cannabis, wouldn’t you say?
Synthetic cannabinoids: These are cannabinoids produced in a lab, to pinpoint, and even strengthen, a specific result. Epidiolex, the first cannabis-derived drug that was approved by the FDA and designed to treat epilepsy, is an example of a synthetic cannabinoid that uses CBD, not THC as the active drug. There are lots of ways that CBD, and all the compounds within it, can potentially help you. Learn more by exploring our blog post Health Benefits and Uses of CBD.