A Guide To The Different Cannabinoids - Learning the basics

A Guide To The Different Cannabinoids - Learning the basics

Have you ever heard of cannabinoids and wondered what these mysterious compounds are? 

Cannabinoids are an incredibly diverse group of chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant, and they play a major role in how we experience cannabis. While the two most famous cannabinoids - THC and CBD - get the majority of the spotlight when it comes to understanding this unique plant, there’s a lot more out there that’s worth exploring. From minor cannabinoids like CBG and CBC to powerful terpenes, every compound has its own special set of effects on our bodies. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at all the different kinds of cannabinoids that can be found in cannabis – from basics like THC to lesser known elements such as CBN – along with their individual effects on us. Read on to find out more about cannabinoids!

Key Cannabinoids Found in Cannabis

Like stated Cannabinoids are the naturally occurring chemical compounds that give cannabis its medicinal and therapeutic qualities. Proof of their beneficial properties can be found in the overwhelming variety of cannabis products available today. A search for cannabis-infused edibles or oils quickly yields a lengthy list of options to choose from.

But how many cannabinoids are actually in a cannabis plant? 

The answer is at least 113, with 10 being the most widely recognized including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG), delta-8-THC, cannabichromene (CBC), delta-9-tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), cannabinodiol (CBND) and cannabidivarin (CBDV). These cannabinoids interact with our body’s endocannabinoids system to provide therapeutic relief, showing to be especially effective when used together as opposed to singularly isolating them out of a product.

Through this phenomenon we now understand just how unique and complex cannabis truly is — presenting us countless opportunities for exploration into its numerous uses for natural healing.

Cannabinoids Image

Top 10 Cannabis Compounds

We have compiled a list of the top ten most popular cannabinoids, with CBD and THC being the most abundant in the plant. The ranking of our top ten cannabinoids is not in any particular order. 

1. THC (Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol)

What is it? - Delta-9 THC is the active ingredient in cannabis plants. It is responsible for many of the psychological and physiological effects associated with using marijuana. 
What does it do? - THC works by attaching to certain receptors present in neurons located in various parts of the body, such as the brain and immune system. This creates a unique set of effects which include euphoria, relaxation, increased appetite, a feeling of wellbeing, and possible anti-inflammatory responses. 

2. THCA (Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) 

What is it? - An inactive form of the psychoactive compound THC. It's commonly found within cannabis plants in its acidic form before being activated into cannabinoid-rich THC through a process known as decarboxylation. 

What does it do? Decarboxylation exposes THCA to heat and/or light, changing its molecular composition and producing molecules like THC or CBD that can interact with our endocannabinoid system. This process can occur naturally over time or it can be expedited by grinding the plant material before infusing it with heat sources like a joint or torch tip concentrate rig. No matter the method used, decarboxylation is essential for people who desire the psychoactive effects commonly associated with THC consumption.

3. CBD (Cannabidiol) 

What is it? CBD is one of the main cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. It is non- psychoactive and produces calming, yet energising effects that have recently made it very popular among people who are looking for a natural way to relieve physical and mental stress. 

What does it do? CBD has demonstrated potential medicinal uses due to the cannabinoid's ability to interact with cannabinoid receptors in our bodies, enabling the influence of important physiological functions such as pain relief, metabolism, and immune response. This cannabinoid also shows promise for managing a variety of mental health concerns such as depression and anxiety. The uniqueness of CBD is that its effects are quite specific, so before using it one should consult with a knowledgeable medical professional to make sure it is right for them.

4. THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin)

What is it? THCV is a cannabinoid found in many strains of cannabis. It was first isolated and identified by researchers at Tokyo University of Science in 1971. Like its close cannabinoid relative, THC, it produces a mild euphoric effect but does so in a much shorter amount of time than its cousin; however, its effects are not as intense. 

What does it do? The compound can act as a stimulating or appetite suppressant depending on the dose and strain consumed, allowing users to benefit from both relaxation and alertness without the same intensity associated with THC. THCV has also been studied for its potential benefits in treating anxiety, pain relief and even diabetes. Ultimately, discovery of THCV is a huge milestone within cannabinoid science as it offers unique therapeutic potential not seen before and recently proven to assist in weight-loss as well as used to prevent diabetes.

5. CBDA (Cannabidiolic acid) 

What is it? Another active compound from the Cannabis plant is Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA). It has many potential benefits, ranging from anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to helping reduce the frequency of seizures in children with severe forms of epilepsy. 

What does it do? CBDA works by interacting with our natural endocannabinoid system which helps modulate pain, mood, sleep and immunity. While it may not produce a psychoactive high like THC does, this unique chemical can still offer relief to those experiencing chronic conditions. Research continues to uncover new applications for CBDA and its potential remains largely untapped. Further study may reveal even more uses of this incredible compound and its positive effects on our overall health and wellbeing.

6. CBDV (cannabidivarin) 

What is it? Cannabidivarin is a lesser known cannabis compound that offers many of the same potential benefits as its close relatives, CBD and CBDA. What sets it apart is its molecular structure; specifically CBDV has a slightly different molecular shape than both CBD and CBDA, which leads to some unique therapeutic capabilities. 

What does it do? There is still much to be discovered about the exact effects of CBDV, but preliminary studies suggest that it may have anti-seizure properties, as well as an ability to reduce inflammation. Whatever its true potential in the medical arena ends up being, one thing is clear: The research efforts dedicated to unlocking the medicinal powers of this mysterious compound will certainly be exciting.

7. CBN (Cannabinol)

What is it? Cannabinol, is the new kid on the block when it comes to therapeutic cannabinoids. It's derived from CBD in a process of oxidation and is quickly rising in popularity for its powerful introduction to the healing world. 

What does it do? CBN has similar effects to CBD, but as it's new to the cannabinoid limelight, there are still many studies underway to determine its exact capabilities. Currently, CBN is being used for a variety of ailments including helping people sleep better and reducing inflammation related to arthritis and other joint pain issues. Its antibacterial properties may even make it invaluable in treating some forms of skin conditions.

WebMD provides valuable insights into the primary distinctions between CBD and CBN. Despite their similarities, they exhibit distinct modes of action.

8. CBC (cannabichromene)

What is it? The surprising popularity of CBC in the health industry has been a popular talking point - after all. It's actually one of the three major cannabinoids found in hemp, alongside CBD and THC. Of course, CBC doesn't have any psychoactive properties, so you won't get high from taking it; instead, current studies have indicated that CBC may serve valuable benefits when used as a medical supplement. 

What does it do? Many use it to tackle skin issues like eczema, as well as promote healthier brain and cardiovascular functions. What's more surprising about this cannabinoid is its ability to potentially fight off cancerous cells - quite remarkable for something derived from cannabis!

9. CBG (Cannabigerol)

What is it? CBG, is a surprising and lesser known cannabinoid found in the plant that is quickly becoming popular among medical researchers. While it does not have the same psychoactive properties of its more well-known counterparts, CBG has been found to have numerous potential health benefits. 

What does it do? From helping relieve chronic pain and inflammation to providing protection against damage to eyesight, experiments with this cannabinoid are beginning to point toward significant results, making CBG an increasingly important part of the cannabis industry.

10. CBGA (Cannabigerolic Acid)

What is it? Cannabigerolic Acid is an important component of cannabis that has recently gained attention for its potential medicinal benefits. It is the ‘parent’ cannabinoid found in raw hemp and cannabis plants, from which other cannabinoids such as CBD and THC are derived. 

What does it do? Unlike other cannabinoids such as CBG (Cannabigerol), however, CBGA cannot be consumed directly by humans. Instead, it interacts with enzymes in the plant to form other compounds, thus producing varying ratios of more well-known cannabinoids like CBD and THC. As a result, understanding and controlling the natural balance of CBGA can prove effective in managing specific medical issues in combination with other notable cannabinoids.

Dr. Nick Jikomes, who holds a PhD, provides a detailed explanation of plant cannabinoids that are derived from cannabinoid acids.

Legality of cannabinoids

In the United Kingdom, the legal status of cannabinoids varies depending on the type. While Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component in marijuana, is restricted and illegal, all the other natural cannabinoids like Cannabidiol (CBD) are legal as long as they meet certain requirements. It is also important to note that THC levels in products must remain below 0.2% in order to be considered legal under UK law. Despite these restrictions, people can still access hemp-based CBD products with a relative degree of ease if they adhere to all existing regulations.

Back to blog