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Cannabis is a complex plant that can be confusing. With more and more studies being done, even the most experienced cannabis users can always learn something new.

Here, at Kuzen.ca, we want to help you understand cannabis and have the best experience with this plant. Welcome to our educational section!

Let’s start with some basic cannabis terminology.


What are the differences between sativa, indica and hybrid plants?

Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica are two different species of the same family: Cannabaceae. That is, both plants have characteristics in common with their family, but also have distinct characteristics that differentiate them.

While the sativa plant, physically, appears as a plant of big size, slender, with less dense floral summits, the plant of the indica species is of smaller size and well furnished, with floral summits usually compact and stubby. The hybrid, on the other hand, is the genetic mixture of strains of both species. The hybrid can therefore have attributes of both species depending on the dominance of one species or the other.

The popular belief is that the indica species is associated with effects generally described as possibly calming or relaxing, even drowsy effects and that the sativa species is rather associated with effects generally described as potentially energizing and euphoric, even cerebrally stimulating.

However, some experts argue that such reasoning could be misleading. Indeed, when it comes to the recreational and therapeutic effects of cannabis, there is much more to consider than the species alone. The terpene profile is a good example of what to look for in a plant’s effect on an organism.


What compounds are found in cannabis?

Cannabis is composed of more than 500 different substances. More than 100 phytocannabinoids have been discovered to date. The most frequently encountered are THC, CBN, CBG and CBD. Cannabis is also composed of terpenes and flavonoids.


What is a phytocannabinoid?

Cannabinoids are a group of chemical substances (more than 100 listed to date) capable of activating the receptors of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) in mammals, including humans. There are 3 types of cannabinoids: phytocannabinoids, endogenous cannabinoids and synthetic cannabinoids.

While endogenous cannabinoids are produced by the mammalian organism (anandamide is an example) and synthetic cannabinoids are created in the laboratory (for the manufacture of medication such as Nabilone), phytocannabinoids are those found in the cannabis plant. The best known and most studied to date are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD (cannabidiol), CBN (cannabinol) and CBG (cannabigerol).

These substances are related to the ECS and its receptors (CB1 and CB2) and researchers around the world are conducting research to determine their possible therapeutic effects and how they function in the body.


But what is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)?

The ECS is one of the many systems that are part of the mammalian organism, including humans. The SEC has multiple functions and is responsible for maintaining the homeostasis of the organism. Homeostasis could be translated as balance. The ECS has the power to influence the other systems that make up the body and works to rebalance the body’s imbalances with several functions.

The ECS has two types of receptors, CB1 and CB2. While CB1 receptors are mainly found in the central nervous system, CB2 receptors are found in the periphery of the body.

It is by binding to these receptors that phytocannabinoids can produce both a psychoactive and a physical effect.


What is THC?

THC or Delta9-tetrahydro-cannabinol is a phytocannabinoid found in different concentrations in different cannabis plants. THC is definitely the most documented phytocannabinoid. It is responsible for the psychotropic effect or “high” since it binds to the receptors of the ECS, particularly the CB1 receptors which are linked to the central nervous system. It is this binding that is responsible for the euphoric effect and modulation of certain symptoms related to medical conditions.

While it may be recognized for some potential therapeutic benefits, THC is also a substance that, in high concentrations, can cause adverse effects. Generally, the effects can be pleasant, but it is essential to START LOW AND INCREASE GRADUALLY to avoid adverse effects.


What is CBD?

CBD (cannabidiol), like THC, is a phytocannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. However, unlike THC, CBD does not cause a high or intoxication. It is thus a cannabinoid that one can easily use during the day.

Unlike THC, CBD does not bind to CB1 receptors in the central nervous system, but rather to CB2 receptors found throughout the body in areas such as the digestive tract, immune cells, skin, etc.

Supported by clinical and preclinical evidence, CBD is known for its anti-epileptic and anti-anxiety effects and several studies are focusing on CBD’s other potential benefits, such as anti-inflammatory effect.


What does the term “psychoactive” mean?

THC binds to the CB1 receptors of the ECS, which are receptors located in the central nervous system, i.e. the brain. This binding causes an impression of joy, a feeling of euphoria. This is called the psychoactive effect since it changes the brain chemistry. Psychoactive does not mean that you start having hallucinations.

When used in small amounts, THC generally has a pleasant effect. That’s why it’s always suggested to START LOW AND INCREASE GRADUALLY.


What are terpenes?

Terpenes are substances that, like phytocannabinoids, are stored in the trichomes of the cannabis plant. Terpenes, in particular, are responsible for the characteristic smell of different strains of cannabis.

Terpenes are very useful in the plant world, as they also help to repel pests, bacteria and fungi, and in turn, attract beneficial insects such as bees for pollination. Through a multitude of products, terpenes are present in everyday life, even without consuming cannabis.

Although a single strain may contain several terpenes, it is still possible to identify a dominant profile. Each terpene has a distinct smell that plays a key role in the aroma and flavour of the plant. Terpenes definitely play a role in the so-called entourage effect because they would interact with cannabinoids.

More than 100 terpenes have been identified in the cannabis plant. Some terpenes are thought to promote relaxation and sleep, while others are thought to give energy and focus. Since each person can react differently to the same strain, it is difficult to measure, hence the relevance of keeping a consumption diary to record the effects on yourself.


Que sont les flavonoïdes?

Flavonoids are plant-sourced pigments or phytonutrients responsible for the vivid coloring of flowers, fruits and other organic matter and are found in thousands in nature. These flavonoids also contribute to the taste and smell of the plant and represent about 10% of the known compounds in cannabis, with about 20 varieties of flavonoids found in the plant.

Some flavonoids are found only in the cannabis plant and are called cannaflavins. Like terpenes, they play a role in how we perceive cannabis. Cannaflavins give the cannabis plant its pigmentation and flavour. Although cannaflavins are one of the least studied compounds, 20 distinct cannaflavins have been discovered to date.

Their contribution to the maintenance of health in the body as well as their currently proclaimed virtues as protection against aging are under study. That said, flavonoids are plant-based and may allow the plant to protect itself against bacteria, viruses and molds.

Although the use of supplements is questioned as to their real benefits, it is not at all inadvisable to consume flavonoids since they come from plants such as tea, grapes, onions, apples, cocoa, pomegranates, black currants, blueberries, coffee, etc. In the case of cannaflavins, it is not to be ruled out that they have a role to play when we talk about the entourage effect, i.e. the effect of the complete plant and the synergy that exists between the different compounds found in it compared to the effect of isolated cannabinoids.


There you go! We hope this blog has helped you understand the basics of cannabis. Our educational series will continue with more information to help you get the most out of your cannabis products. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

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