Marijuana 101

Marijuana 101

What is the difference between Indicas and Sativas?

Indicas and Sativas are two of the three recognized sub-species of cannabis (Ruderalis is the third). The geographical origins of the different varieties vary, with Sativas hailing from warm Southern Asia and Indicas from the colder Himalayan foothills of Central Asia. The differences in their respective environments led to different growth patterns and chemical compositions.  It should be noted that landrace varieties are exceedingly rare and that most medical cannabis is hybridized.

In terms of effect, indicas are generally going to be more sedative and body-centric, whereas sativas are generally going to be more cerebral and energetic.  This doesn’t hold true in all cases, and depends heavily on the specific amounts of cannabinoids and terpenes present in the plant.

What makes cannabis medicine?

The cannabis plant contains dozens of active compounds called cannabinoids, found in various concentrations within a plant’s flowers, leaves, and stem. The majority of cannabinoids are located in the flowers of the female plant and are concentrated in a viscous resin, which is produced in glandular structures called ‘trichomes’.

In addition to its wealth of cannabinoids, the resin is also rich in terpenes. Terpenes are largely responsible for cannabis’ distinct odor, as well as much of the variations in physiological effects across strains.

Cannabinoids are delivered to the body via several routes, including through smoking plant material, vaporizing concentrates, ingesting plant material, and topical application. Researchers have identified over 70 unique cannabinoids within the cannabis plant. Many of these cannabinoids interact with the human endocannabinoid system via cannabinoid receptors found throughout our bodies.

Although scientists are still identifying new cannabinoid receptors, research has advancedat a rapid pace.

The two main types of cannabinoid receptors in the human body are called CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptor is expressed mainly in the brain and central nervous system, as well as the lungs, liver and kidneys. The CB2 receptor is primarily expressed in the immune system, hematopoietic cells, and throughout the gut. The affinity of an individual cannabinoid to each receptor, as well as the cannabinoid’s own pharmacology, combine to determine how it will affect the human body.

Information Courtesy of SC Laboratories. For more information, visit www.sclabs.com