04 Jan 2018

Endocannabinoids vs. Phytocannabinoids

Differences & Similarities Between Endocannabinoids and Phytocannabinoids

The complexity of cannabis can be overwhelming. Its many components and the variety of benefits users can experience is in-depth. Although people often associate cannabis with THC and/or CBD, there’s much more to the plant.

How our body processes CBD or other cannabinoids is where the magic lies.

Phytocannabinoids are naturally-occurring and concentrated in the oil resin of the cannabis leaves and buds. Whereas, endocannabinoids are cannabinoids that our bodies produce internally.

Endo= body

Phyto= plant

Explanation of Phyto-cannabinoids:

The cannabis plant and other plants produce cannabinoids, which interact with our body’s receptors. These plant cannabinoids are known as phyto-cannabinoids. Phyto is a prefix that means “pertaining to derived from plants”. They are categorized as any plant-derived natural product with the capability to directly interact with the body’s cannabinoid receptors or share chemical similarity with cannabinoids.

Furthermore, phytocannabinoids from cannabis have significantly influenced research on the endocannabinoid system. So far, phytocannabinoids like THCA, CBD, and CBN have become widely known for their medicinal properties in recent years. In particular, the cannabis plant contains over 400 chemical entities, and more than 60 of them are cannabinoid compounds, which have varying effects.

Moreover, phytocannabinoids are just one of the cannabis plants’ active ingredients. Some would say that phytocannabinoids are known as the main cornerstone of your cannabis’ effects. Aside from the most well-known cannabinoids, THC and CBD, there are other major phytocannabinoids. These include but not limited to; THCA, CBDA, CBN, CBG, CBC, and THCV.

Importance of Finding the Right Phytocannabinoids For You:

As compared to other medicine and forms of cannabis, trial and error is often necessary to find out which phytocannabinoid(s) are the best for you and your specific condition. However, the only way to know the exact phytocannabinoid content of your medicine is to have it lab tested. Unfortunately, though, cannabis lab testing is underutilized and under-regulated. Regardless, lab-tested products are a critical and essential part of consuming your desired medicine.

Linkage Between The Endocannabinoid System, Endocannabinoids, and Phytocannabinoids:

Everybody has an endocannabinoid system, and this system has three basic components. The system includes the endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and hydrolytic enzymes that break down the endocannabinoids. In general, cannabinoids are classified as molecules produced by cells that contain activity similar to THC and other phyto-cannabinoids. Surprisingly, endocannabinoids are not only found in human bodies, but in animal bodies as well.

Throughout every human body, endocannabinoids and their receptors, such as CB1 and CB2, are found within our brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells. Additionally, endocannabinoids are found at the intersection of the body’s various systems. This allows for communication and coordination between different cell types.

Both endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids act with CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. It has been discovered that a functional endocannabinoid system is essential for our health and well-being.

Benefits of Endocannabinoids and Phytocannabinoids:

Cannabinoids contain antioxidant and neuroprotective properties, which was patented by the U.S. government back in 2003. Thus, it’s safe to say that the U.S. government is aware of the true potential and value of cannabis and its many cannabinoids.

The Influence Endocannabinoids and Phytocannabinoids Have On Our Lives:

To some people’s surprise, endocannabinoids are able to influence an individuals’ relationship with their external environment. For example, phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids can alter human behavior through promoting humor, creativity, and sharing. Endocannabinoids could even directly influence an individuals’ open-mindedness and ability to move beyond initial limiting thought patterns and behavior from previous situations.

On a similar note, it has been found that small doses of cannabinoids, like CBD, can signal the body to produce additional endocannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors.

The Role Phytocannabinoids Play:

Have pain?

You might have a deficiency in cannabinoids. According to Dr. Russo, when you experience pain where you shouldn’t, you have a cannabinoid deficiency. By providing your body and endocannabinoid system with phytocannabinoids, you can help to restore the system and body to optimal health.

Phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids go hand-in-hand.



  1. I keep wondering how the so-called cannabis saliva test fro drivers differentiates between phytocannabinoids and andocannabinoids. I can’t find any mention of any differences, and both act on the same receptors, but how does the saliva test tell the difference, or is it just detecting cannabinoids? If this were the case no test sgould result in convictions since it could be measuring the body’s own cannabinoids.
    PS Your web designer must have better eyesight than me, I’m struggling to read anything printed in pale beige, a recent ‘trend’ among designers which makes reading and comprehension difficult. Surely the whole purpose of text is to be read and understood? Preferebly without straining eyes and giving a headache? Initially I cxouldn’t see the Name and Email fields below until told to fill them in. PLEASE make the text dark enough to see!

    1. Phytocannabinoids are derived from plants while endocannabinoids are found internally in the body. And thank you for the feedback about the text, we will look into this!

    2. Phytocannabinoids are the molecules found in the cannabis plant. Endocannabinoids are the receptors that are activated by THC and other similar molecules. Molecules that activate these receptors are not naturally produced by the body. The saliva test picks up on the metabolites produced in the body after ingesting cannabis, typically THCa, the carboxylic acid derivative of THC. This is just a preliminary test, as there are other molecules that can produce a false positive for the THC saliva test. If the saliva test is positive for THC, a second confirmatory test must be performed in order to produce a conviction. The preliminary test is inexpensive and can be done very quickly. The confirmatory test is more expensive, more time consuming, and generally requires someone with a chemistry degree to perform. This is why the confirmatory test is not done first.


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