What Are Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids refer to the natural compounds that are extracted from cannabis plants like hemp (cannabis indica) and marijuana (cannabis sativa). When people refer to medical cannabis, they’re talking about using the whole plant or these cannabinoids for the treatment of various ailments or conditions.

Often, people become confused between the terms cannabis and marijuana. Cannabis is a category for a plant species that includes both hemp (cannabis indica) and marijuana (cannabis sativa). For a lot of people, the best way to think about cannabis is with an analogy: hemp and marijuana are to cannabis as lemons and oranges are to citrus. Two related but different plants, from the same “family.”

The characteristic that defines hemp from marijuana is the content of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound in cannabis that gets users high. Hemp is almost devoid of THC but often high in another cannabinoid – cannabidiol (CBD). Hemp has 0.3 percent THC or less while the threshold for Marijuana starts at a THC concentration of 0.3% percent or higher. Sterling’s CBD is manufactured to contain absolutely no THC.  Both forms of cannabis, hemp and marijuana, have been shown to contain medically beneficial levels of differing cannabinoids, active compounds found in the cannabis plant.

Cannabis plants contain over a hundred cannabinoids, some of which have been found to have therapeutically beneficial properties. CBD and THC are the two major cannabinoids that through academic and scientific studies have shown to possess the most therapeutic properties. However, several other cannabinoids, like cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabinol (CBN), also exhibit health benefits.

Each of these cannabinoids interact directly with the body’s endocannabinoid system – a signaling network found within every mammalian species on Earth. The system features two cannabinoid receptors, CB1 (mostly in the brain) and CB2 (mostly found in the immune system) receptors, which cannabinoids like THC and CBD “dock” with to provide their therapeutic effects.

The non-psychoactive compound hemp derived CBD (from the cannabis indica plant) has shown to reduce pain and inflammation, as well as be effective in killing certain cancer cells, controlling epileptic seizures, and treating mental illness. Whereas, THC, the mind-altering cannabinoid (from the cannabis sativa plant), has shown to increase appetite, reduce muscle control problems, and reduce nausea, pain, and inflammation.

To date, cannabis has not been recognized or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a food or medicine, but the agency has approved some cannabis-based medications for distribution in the U.S.  Sterling’s hemp derived CBD is federally legal in all 50 states.

How Long Have Cannabinoids Been Around?

Cannabis has been used for medicinal purposes since at least the time of ancient China. Cannabis and its therapeutic benefits were first described in ancient Chinese texts, with references made about its ability to treat gout, rheumatism, constipation, and senility. Chinese Emperor Shennong, who was also a pharmacologist, wrote about using cannabis for treatment purposes in a book published in 2737 BC.

Are hemp derived cannabinoids legal?

With regard to the United States’ pharmacological system, cannabis was long included as a viable treatment option. It wasn’t until 1937 when, in defiance of the American Medical Association (AMA), the U.S. passed a federal law banning cannabis. The vast majority of Americans found themselves shut out of access to medical cannabis. Then, in December of 2018 the Federal Farm Bill legalized hemp derived CBD, from the cannabis indica plant, in all 50 states.