Cannabis compounds interact dynamically when left intact in the whole full or broad-spectrum plant product. Though different people and different conditions will not respond the same way to cannabis treatments every time, products like full or broad-spectrum oil allow the maximal scope of benefits for everyone. Whole plant extracts bring the whole “entourage” of natural chemical compounds together, and with it, the greatest chance for healing. Aside from cannabinoids, there are two other very important healthy compounds in cannabis to discuss.
Terpenes: Terpenes are the first major non-cannabinoid group with aromatic, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties – among other beneficial effects. For example, terpenes like Pinene and Eucalyptol/1,8-Cineole counteracts sluggishness by providing mental alertness and focus, while others like Myrcene and Borneol are sedative and calming. Many terpenes can influence behavior by directly binding to receptor sites or by affecting intermediary chemical messengers such as neurotransmitters like GABA, dopamine or serotonin. Even more powerfully, terpenes when inhaled can directly target receptor groups in various parts of the brain and influence behavior in that way as well.
Flavonoids: A second major non-cannabinoid beneficial group of plant compounds found in cannabis/hemp are flavonoids. Everyone associates the unique smell of a cannabis strain to its terpene profile but that unique smell is also produced in part by its flavonoids. Some flavonoids, like quercetin, luteolin and kaempferol, naturally appear in cannabis as well in many other varieties of plants. However, flavonoids that are unique to cannabis are called cannaflavins, and they don’t just smell good, they are biochemically active. For example, cannaflavin A has been found to reduce inflammation by inhibiting the inflammatory molecule PGE-2, something that aspirin does also, only cannaflavin A does it 30 times more effectively than aspirin. Flavonoids can also interact with estrogen receptors, act as potent antioxidants or inhibit many different enzymatic processes.