top of page
  • Hammond Lewis

Cannabinoids, Terpenes, & THC – The Science Behind Why Cannabis Works for Patients in Louisiana

Louisiana’s medical marijuana program offers cannabis in a variety of forms for patients with qualifying conditions to use as medicine.

Whether it’s cannabis flower, edibles, topicals, or concentrates, all cannabis products have medicinal or therapeutic compounds that work to provide the natural relief patients are looking for.

And the science behind how these compounds work in our bodies is just now being revealed, with new information and research on cannabis as a medicine coming out every day.

In this article, we’ll talk about the properties of cannabis as a medicine, how cannabis works as a medicine, and why cannabis works in the human body to fight against symptoms and help with medical conditions.

What Are Cannabinoids in Cannabis?

Cannabinoids Are the Compounds That Work in Cannabis

Cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds found in the cannabis plant.

They encompass a wide range of different molecules, and there are nearly 100 known cannabinoids in cannabis, such as CBG, CBN, THC, and CBD.

Cannabinoids are essentially defined as any compound that interacts with the endocannabinoid system in the human body, so THC is a cannabinoid as much as CBD.

Cannabinoids are found within trichomes, which are resinous glands on the surface of the cannabis plant’s budding flowers. These tiny oil deposits contain cannabinoids and terpenes, and it’s where you’ll find the largest concentration of medicinal and therapeutic compounds in the plant.

How Do Cannabinoids Work?

Cannabinoids work through your endocannabinoid system.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the human body is responsible for an incredible array of functions like mood, appetite, sleep, inflammation, and many other jobs.

The ECS is essentially a communication network of receptors throughout the central nervous system that send and receive information allowing the body to maintain homeostasis.

The ECS produces its own cannabinoids known as endocannabinoids, or endogenous cannabinoids.

The cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant effectively mimic the same endogenous cannabinoids that your body creates, allowing them to fit into receptors and alter the signals that the ECS sends through the body.

This can help regulate different functions and it’s why cannabis changes your perception of feeling. The compounds in cannabis can help promote homeostasis when things are off like nausea, inflammation, or mood.

What Are Terpenes in Cannabis?

Terpenes Are Aromatic Compounds With Therapeutic Benefits

Terpenes, like cannabinoids, are compounds found in the cannabis plant that produce its smell, taste, and potentially even some of the effects perceived from cannabis.

Terpenes occur naturally in many different plants and fruits such as thyme, mangoes, lemons, hops, and cannabis.

Unlike cannabinoids, most terpenes do not bind to receptors in the ECS, so they’re considered therapeutic compounds as opposed to medicinal compounds.

Terpenes probably do, however, affect the perceivable effects of cannabis and act as a kind of funnel for how THC and other psychoactive compounds produce a “high”. We know that terpenes can drastically change a cannabis strain’s scent, flavor, and we know from many anecdotal reports that terpenes can affect a strain’s perceivable effects.

Terpenes Are Just as Important as THC & CBD

Like cannabinoids, any cannabis strain can have a unique mixture of terpenes and various concentrations of them. This makes for a large variety of different combinations that can occur with cannabis strains.

Without terpenes, cannabis wouldn’t have its unique flavors or aromas, and the perceivable high from the cannabis plant would be much more uninhibited and raw, leaving less diversity in how the effects would likely feel.

Terpenes work to produce the entourage effect, which is the combination of all factors that play roles in how the effects of cannabis are perceived. Many people suggest that terpenes may be the biggest factor in how the high from cannabis feels.

What Is THC in Cannabis?

THC Is a Cannabinoid That Causes Psychoactive Effects

THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is the most well-known cannabinoid in the cannabis plant, famously reported as the compound responsible for the “high”.

While that it's true that THC produces psychoactive effects, it has many medicinal and therapeutic properties as well.

THC binds to receptors in the ECS where it can affect changes on things like nausea, anxiety, pain, muscle tension, seizures, inflammation, sleep, neuroprotection, appetite, bacteria, tumor growth, and more.

THC often gets a bad rep as being only a compound that gets you high, while CBD is favorably reported as the medicinal side of cannabis,. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

While THC does produce a high, its medicinal effects are prolific. It is often the use of THC in combination with CBD that promotes the greatest medicinal value.

There Are Multiple Types of THC

THC as a term usually refers to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the prominent psychoactive compound from cannabis.

In truth, there are several types of tetrahydrocannabinols, though delta-9 is typically found with the highest concentration in the cannabis plant.

Delta-8, Delta-10, and other combinations of molecules can make up a tetrahydrocannabinol, though often they are either chemically created by arranging molecules in a lab or found in very small concentrations in hemp and marijuana.

THC works by binding to CB receptors throughout the ECS which massively populate the central nervous system. This is one of the reasons why THC works so effectively, as there are innumerable cannabinoid receptors located in critical areas of the central nervous system that THC can interact with.

THC remains the most desirable compound in the cannabis plant due to its incredible medicinal and therapeutic value, and of course it’s favored for recreational cannabis use. Without THC, the anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, and anti-seizure effects of cannabis would be significantly diminished, making it one of the most important compounds discovered in nature.

Get Your Louisiana Medical Marijuana Certification

Louisiana offers medical marijuana for patients with qualifying conditions who have received a medical marijuana certification. To get a medical marijuana card in Louisiana, patients must consult with a certified physician who can recommend a medical marijuana certification.

Getting a medical marijuana card in Louisiana is easier than ever, so beat the lines and get your medical marijuana certification in Louisiana today. You can even get certified for medical marijuana online for ease of use and convenience.

For questions about Louisiana’s medical marijuana program or how to become a medical marijuana patient in Louisiana, consult with one of our trusted doctors and book an online medical marijuana appointment today!


Doctors Who Care.

Relief You Can Trust.

At Louisiana Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.

Call us at (833) 253-2943, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!

Check out Louisiana Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in Louisiana!


bottom of page