What do we know about Cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are a subset of terpenophenolics that are unique to the species C.. sativa. There are 70 known cannabinoids in Cannabis Sativa (Flores-Sanchez and Verpoorte 2008), with the most abundant being Δ9 THC (Δ9 Tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD (Cannabidiol) and CBN (Cannabinol). Several of the genes controlling the biosynthesis of these compounds from a Cannabigerol precursor have been identified (Taura et al. 1996). The amount and type of cannabinoids produced is influenced by both genetic variation among Cannbis sativa plants and the environment (de Meijer et al. 2003). Cannabinoids are at highest concentration in glandular trichomes of the plant, and therefore genes controlling trichome development will also influence the amount of cannabinoids a given plant produces.
What peer-reviewed research is there about the Endocannabinoid system?
In 1988 Devane et al reported the existence of cannabinoid binding sites in the human brain. This CB1 receptor was cloned in 1990, and identified as part of the family of G protein-coupled receptors. A second cannabinoid receptor, CB2, was discovered in 1993 (Munro et al. 1993). We now know that these 2 cannabinoid receptors exist in all chordates and evolved hundreds of millions of years ago (Pertwee et al 2010). The presence of these receptors implies that humans (and other chordates) produce their own compounds that bind to these receptors. Two such endogenous or endocannabinoids have been discovered and characterized. There is currently an ongoing effort to understand which cannabinoids are affecting which neuro-pathways will take a tremendous team of professionals from multiple disciplines in science.
Why bother learn about the Biochemical Genetics of Cannabinoids?
Identifying what cannabinoid/s is/are affecting which neuro-pathways will take a tremendous team of professionals from multiple disciplines in science. The ability to use marker-assisted breeding will help this happen faster and pinpoint with certainty the pathways desired for selection. This will make medicinal solutions more stable and predictable for product makers and consumers. New West Genetics is building the background knowledge necessary to move Cannabis sativa’s potential into a data-based reality.
Is there a difference between CBD sourced from hemp, and CBD sourced from marijuana?
No. CBD (cannabidiol) is a compound defined by its chemical characteristics which distinguish it from all other compounds in the physical universe. Any suggestion that CBD derived from hemp is different from that of marijuana is false. This would be akin to suggesting that calcium derived from the milk of a cow is different from that of a goat. In fact, it is less contentious since hemp and marijuana are slight variants of the same species. It is true that the final CBD extract from a hemp cultivar may differ from that of a marijuana strain for features such as the terpene and/or cannabinoid abundance. However, these characteristics will also distinguish different strains of marijuana since they have been selected for different attributes (e.g. %THC). There is no reason that a hemp variety could not create a CBD extract identical to that of marijuana, differentiated only by its low THC content.