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What is a chemovar? A chemovar is basically a chemically distinct entity within a plant. For anyone that's new to the cannabis industry, it may seem a little overwhelming to pick which breed of plant is best to treat your illness. How do you choose between all of the delicious sounding names? Luckily the dispensaries give a pretty good description of what each strain of cannabis contains, and that very helpful for connecting with the best chemover for you.
Let's take a look at some of the key properties in distinguishing different types of cannabis:
Some people may be familiar with the terms "Indica" "Sativa" and "Hybrid". It's been generally believed that indicas are calming and give more of an all-over body effect, while sativas are invigorating, and effects are mostly felt in the head. Hybrids being somewhere in between. Recent studies have shown that there's much more to it than that and different breeds can have varying effects, within the indica/sativa classification.
Each breed of cannabis has what's called a "cannabinoid profile" which is distinguished by it's cannabinoid and terpene content. These chemical compounds are responsible for the effects the plant has on it's user. When looking at the cannabinoid part of the plant, it's important to understand how our body uses it.
The human body has a complex system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is responsible for regulating a multitude of important bodily functions. The key components of ECS are endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes. We produce cannabinoids naturally, whether we use cannabis or not. We have endocannabinoid receptors spread out all throughout our bodies. CB1 receptors are mostly found in the central nervous system and CB2 recepters are found in our peripheral nervous system and immune cells. The different endocannabinoids target and bind to different receptors in order to trigger a desired result. After the endocannabinoid has carried out it's desired function, enzymes come and break it down. They pretty much clean up the mess. Scientists believe that the ECS's function is to keep the body stable and have been linked to the following functions: immune response, metabolism, sleep, appetite, digestion, chronic pain, stress, nervous system function, motor function, mood, cardiovascular system function, musculoskeletal system function, liver function, reproductive system function, and more.
It is important to understand how vital these endocannabinoids are to our bodies to understand the benefits of cannabis for our healing.
When cannabis is used as a medication, or even recreationally, our bodies use the cannabinoids the same way it uses endocannabinoids naturally produced. There is THC, which is the main psychoactive compound of the plant. It's effect is euphoric in nature and is the benefit usually associated with the plant. CBD, which doesn't cause any "high" or euphoria, but does help with pain, nausea, preventing seizure activity, and migraine headaches. CBN, which is great for treating neurological conditions and their side effects. THCA, which has no psychoactive effects, but reduces symptoms of neurological conditions like MS, Parkinson's, Huntington's, and ALS. It also helps reduce inflammation caused by autoimmune disorders and arthritis. CBG, which reduces mental illnesses such as anxiety, OCD, depression, PTSD. Different chemovars of cannabis can have more than one of these cannabinoids which makes it an appropriate choice for many different illnesses.
Terpenes are another important compound within the plant. Terpenes are what give the plant the aroma, which is where all the fun names come from, but what has recently been discovered is that different terpenes seem to also have an effect on the medicinal benefits of the plant.
Bisabolol - reduces inflammation, pain, and irritation.
Caryophyllene- helps with anxiety and depression
Linalool- reduces stress and improves mood.
Myrcene- helps with anxiety and insomnia
Ocimene- antiviral and antimicrobial
Pinene- boosts memory and eases pain
Terpinolene- antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Sedative.
Limonene- boosts mood and relieves stress
Humulene- reduces pain and inflammation
Eucalyptol- invigorating and reduces inflammation
Of course everyone is different, and different terpenes may effect people differently. These are in no way set in stone, but it gives an idea of where to start.
When choosing the right chemovar for you it's important to keep in mind what you want to treat. Now that you know what the different cannabis compounds do, you have a better idea of what you're looking for. When in doubt, you can always speak with one of our team members, or the specialists at the dispensaries to help find the best product for you!