Cannabis 101

We know that knowledge is power and we want you to have all the information you need to pick the right products for you. So let’s learn the ABCs of CBD (and beyond!).

1. Cannabis plant

Cannabis is a genus of flowering plants in the Cannabaceae family, which includes about 170 plant species, including hops. 

It’s a common misconception that Hemp and Cannabis (or „Marijuana“) are different species of a plant. In fact, they couldn’t technically be considered separate plants at all.  At the end of the day, for all their differences, both varieties are indeed cannabis.

While science doesn’t differentiate between Hemp and Cannabis, the law does. Legally, the key difference between the two is the chemical composition contained within each plant. Both can produce high amounts of CBD, but the defining characteristic is the content of the intoxicating cannabinoid known as Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Hemp refers to Cannabis Sativa plants that contain 0.2% THC or less. Medical/Recreational or “Marijuana” refers to Cannabis Sativa, Indica, or Hybrid plants that can contain up to 30% THC content. 

However, CBD is always CBD; the CBD molecule and its associated pharmacology are the same, whether it comes from hemp or other varieties of the cannabis plant.

2. Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds found in the cannabis plant. These lipophilic (fat-loving) molecules are unique to the cannabis plant and give it its therapeutic potential. The most well known cannabinoids are CBD and THC, but there are a plethora of other cannabinoids produced by the plant. There are over 144 known types of cannabinoids, and they are all different with their own effects and benefits. Some are found naturally in the cannabis plant, while others have been found in various plants or in heated cannabis resin. Still, the way that these chemicals are produced often entails a chain of chemical transitions from one cannabinoid to another.

3. Terpenes

Terpenes are fragrant essential oils found in plants. They’re what give blueberries, lavender, and cannabis their signature smell. They are used in a wide variety of food and cosmetic products. They also have been used in aromatherapy by humans for millennia.

Amazingly, cannabis has the highest concentration of terpenes and flavour – and all of them have positive effects on our bodies.

In fact, recent research has shown that terpene profiles are, in part, responsible for the unique effect that different cannabis strains have on the body. While some terpene profiles might create a more relaxed mood others can encourage focus and attention. This discovery has opened up a world of possibilities.

4. Endocannabinoid System

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is a sophisticated and complex signaling system in the body that was discovered in the 1990s. A relatively recent discovery, the ECS remains a bit of a mystery but, one thing is for sure, it’s incredibly important to a range of processes including sleep, mood, appetite, memory, reproduction, and fertility. Put simply, it sends soothing signals between cells, helping to maintain the balance between different biological functions – also known as homeostasis.

Cannabinoids are natural compounds produced by plants and animals, including humans. The ECS is made up of endocannabinoid receptors that bind to endocannabinoid molecules. Endocannabinoids are endogenous cannabinoids meaning they are made by your body. Yup, your body is making cannabinoids all the time.

Cannabis cannabinoids you ingest, inhale or apply to the body can also interact with the endocannabinoid receptors to cause a variety of effects, helping regulate the body and overall well-being.

5. The Entourage Effect

The Entourage Effect happens when cannabinoids work together with other compounds found in the cannabis plant. A terpene is one of these compounds, and it brings with it a number of properties, creating a synergy with cannabinoids. It is proposed that terpenes supercharge the cannabinoids creating a greater effect versus when one cannabinoid is isolated (meaning extracted alone). Cannabinoids and terpenes are the key players of the Entourage Effect, think of it as a ‘dreamteam’ in plant form.