Archive for August, 2014

See an updated version of this post on The Leaf Online,Cannabinoid Profile – Anandamide!

Formula: C22H37 NO2

Molecular Mass: 347.53468 g/mol

Decarboxylation Point: ????

Boiling Point: ????

LD50 (Lethal Dose): Currently Unknown for humans, 100mg/kg for mice  (Compare to Nicotine: for mice – 3mg/kg for humans – 40–60 mg/kg)

First isolated in 1992, Anandamide is a neurotransmitter and endo-cannbinoid, a cannabinoid produced within the body. Anandamide, also known as N-Arachidonoylethanolamine or AEA, is  an endogenous cannabinoid that acts as a “key” molecule fitting into the “locks” of the CB1 and CB2 receptors around the body. It’s name is taken from the Sanskrit word ananda, which means bliss, and the word amide. An amide is a type of acid found within the body. Anandamide is the bliss amide, though it is more widely called the bliss compound (not to be confused with the spirit molecule, DMT). Very appropriate to the Sanskrit origins of it’s name, anandamide has been shown to be boosted by doing yoga, which may explain why those yogis are so calm and blissful all the time.
Anandamide can be thought of as the body’s version of THC, it has many of the same therapeutic effects and if it wasn’t for the presence of anandamide in the body we wouldn’t have the CB1 and CB2 receptors that all cannabinoids interact with. Anandamide doesn’t exist solely in the human body. Outside of the body this endo-cannabinoid can be found in chocolate. Next time you’re enjoying a chocolate bar allow that anandamide to jog your memory, and enjoy those sweet cannabinoids.

Therapeutic Uses

Analgesic – Relieves pain.

Angiogenic  Causes new blood vessels to form from pre-existing blood vessels.

Anti-inflammatory – Reduces inflammation systemically.

Anti-Proliferative – Inhibits cancer cell growth.

Anxiolytic – Relieves anxiety.

Euphoriant – Produces feelings of euphoria, promotes happiness and relaxation.

Neurogenic  Promotes the growth of new brain cells. Specifically within the Hippocampus, an area of the brain responsible for memory and spatial awareness (just like CBD).

 

The Metabolism of Anandamide

Currently Being Studied For

Angiogenesis: Anandamide is unique among cannabinoids for its ability to cause blood cells to split and form new blood cells. This is known as angiogenesis and proper functioning is crucial to fighting off the spread of cancer due to the necessity of oxygen, nutrients, and bodily waste removal that come with it.
Anxiety: Anandamide, like THC, has been shown to reduce anxiety. This 2009 study, while done on mice, still sheds plenty of light on the mechanisms that AEA uses to reduce mental stress and anxiety in those experiencing it.
Cancer: As early as 1998, Anandamide had been identified as an anti-proliferative compound. This means that, like most cannabinoids, Anandamide helps slow the growth and spread of cancerous cells. Specifically the 1998 study looked at its role in inhibiting the proliferation of breast cancer cells. A more recent study from 2007 showed that AEA not only suppressed the growth of tumors it also spurred the formation of new blood cells. If that wasn’t enough Anandamide also induces COX-2-dependant cell death, a type of apoptosis that helps control the growth of cancerous cells. Specifically, AEA was found to do this in apoptosis resistant colon-cancer cells.
Memory Consolidation: Anandamide has been shown to boost in memory consolidation, a process where things in the short term memory get transferred into the long term memory. This gives Anandamide a very unique and important role in allowing people to function normally and to build on their prior knowledge, rather than having to relearn the same things constantly. You can think of memory consolidation as a fancy way to say learning. This same study emphasized the anti-anxiety effects of AEA.
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See an updated version of this post on The Leaf Online, Cannabinoid Profile – CBGa!

Formula: C22H32O4
Molecular Mass: 360.48708 g/mol
Decarboxylation Point: ????

Boiling Point: ????

LD50 (Lethal Dose): Currently Unknown, likely similar to CBG, 300mg/kg for mice  (Compare to Nicotine: for mice – 3mg/kg for humans – 40–60 mg/kg),

Cannabigerolic acid (CBGa) is formed when geranyl pyrophosphate combines with olivetolic acid within the cannabis plant. It is thanks to CBGa that all other medicinal effects of cannabis are possible. Cannabigerolic acid (CBGa) can be thought of as the stem cell cannabinoid, which becomes THCa/THC, CBDa/CBD, CBCa/CBC, and CBG. It does this through different types of biosynthesis, where chemicals combine to form new compounds, examples being the  THC biosynthase and the CBD biosynthase. During these different chemical processes the acid grou Hemp species of cannabis have higher amounts of CBG due to a recessive trait, which may imply higher amounts of CBGa present in those strains as well.

Image Courtesy of Steephill/Halent Labs and Elemental Wellness

Image Courtesy of Steephill/Halent Labs and Elemental Wellness

Therapeutic Uses

Analgesic – Relieves pain.

Antibacterial – Slows bacterial growth.

Anti-inflammatory – Reduces inflammation systemically.

Anti-Proliferative – Inhibits cancer cell growth through apoptosis.

 

Halent 2011 - Cannabinoid and Terpenoid Chart

 

 

Currently Being Studied For

Cannabinoid Biosynthase: Nearly all current research on CBGa focuses solely on its role in the biosynthesis of other cannabinoids. Virtually no money is going to study its analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-proliferative properties.

We learned in 2005 that the enzyme controlling the conversion of CBGa into THCa and further THC is held within the trichomes of the plant. This makes sense, as the trichomes have long been known to be the home of THC. Sirikantaramas did a follow up study on his 2005 research which showed they could grow THCa in a laboratory using a yeast culture as a host. If you want to know more about the THCa synthase, which is the first biosynthase to see any major study, you can look at this 2009 literature review profiling it. It wasn’t until 2014 that any of this research turned back to focus on CBGa again, when Alaoui et Al (2014) identified how and where CBGa binding happened, then explored how it was converted into THCa. Their research could be key to better understanding how THCa production happens and thus how much THCa will be resulting in the plant material.

Cancer: While there are no current studies being done on CBGa for it’s abilities to help with cancer it has been shown to be an anti-proliferative just like CBG, THC, and CBD. CBGa encourages apoptosis, which is programmed cell death. Defective apoptosis is believed to be a major reason for the formation and progression of cancer, one obvious solution to a person having depressed levels of apoptosis is to stimulate that bodily response. Cannabinoids appear to stimulate apoptosis in previously unknown ways posing a novel way to mitigate and potentially cure cancer. While this much is known about CBGa more research should be done.

*Note: Decarboyxlation – A chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl group and releases  CO2, often triggered by heat.