What are cannabinoids? This is a question many in the cannabis industry will hear from those who may be new to cannabis, or just discovering the science behind this amazing plant.
Cannabinoids are a class of diverse compounds that react to cannabinoid receptors within the body. In addition, the reaction between cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system can also alter releases of neurotransmitters within the brain.
Cannabinoids are far more important than choosing an Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid strain;
“Cannabinoids and terpenes are the future of cannabis. Strain classification is severely outdated as many Indica strains may exhibit the same traits as a Sativa strain and vice versa. Not to mention, there are almost no 100% Indica or Sativa strains in existence as most strains are a hybridization of the original landrace strains”.
Cannabis Information Institute
Although there are over 120 cannabinoids, there are arguably some more important, and more well-studied, than others.
The 5 most common cannabinoids found in cannabis are:
- THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)
- CBD (Cannabidiol)
- CBC (Cannabichromene)
- CBN (Cannabinol)
- CBG (Cannabigerol)
Learn more about the THC, CBD, CBC, CBL, and CBG cannabinoids below.
Cannabinoids and the Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system within humans, and other mammals, processes cannabis and reacts accordingly.
What happens when a human consumes cannabis?
The endocannabinoid system transmitters begin a process in which neurotransmitters will attach themselves to cannabinoid receptors and proteins that already exist within the body. After the transmitters have bound themselves to receptors and proteins, the endocannabinoid system will begin to regulate important bodily functions such as the ones mentioned above.
This process will occur whether cannabis is consumed as an edible, smoked, or vaporized.
There are two main cannabinoid receptors that have been discovered in the endocannabinoid system present within humans. These receptors are known as CB1 and CB2. Both of these cannabinoid receptors and the way that they react to cannabis have shown a far-reaching capability for medicinal application. In addition, the wide variety of important bodily functions that cannabis can affect positively also give credence to the thought of using cannabis as a medicine.
What is THC? Cannabinoids Explained
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is currently the most commonly found, and sought after, cannabinoid found in cannabis. THC is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis and when heated, ingested as an edible, or vaporized, it will produce the signature effect of cannabis. THC stimulates dopamine production in the brain, creating euphoria, and the feeling of being ‘high’.
In some studies, THC shows that it may interfere with a part of the brain which is responsible for forming memories (hippocampus). If you consume cannabis, you may experience ‘haziness’ of some sort and THC is somewhat responsible for this.
Interestingly, THC also acts similarly to a naturally occurring compound known as anandamide, produced by the endocannabinoid system within the body, that controls important bodily functions. THC will also degrade into the CBN cannabinoid over time.
What is CBD? Cannabinoids Explained
CBD, scientifically known as cannabidiol, has become a popular cannabinoid for many individuals with various ailments/disorders. In addition, CBD is an incredibly important cannabinoid in the field of cannabis medicine.
The World Health Organization has also stated that CBD is safe to use medically, in addition, data was also provided that showed the medical benefits of CBD.
The most common ways to consume this cannabinoid are through oils and tinctures, topicals, and edibles products. It is very important to know the difference between full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate if you are using this cannabinoid as medicine.
What is CBC? Cannabinoids Explained
Cannabichromene (CBC) was discovered in 1966 but has had little medical research devoted to it. In the 1970s, CBC was the second-most common cannabinoid found in cannabis – since this time, cannabis growers have bred strains with higher THC and CBD content, effectively mutating the species for our benefit.
When the CBC cannabinoid is exposed to oxygen and heat it will convert into another cannabinoid known as cannabicyclol (CBL).
What is CBG? Cannabinoids Explained
Cannabigerol (CBG) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis. Studies have shown major benefits of using CBG with regards to glaucoma, anti-inflammatory needs, and much more.
Discovered in 1975, CBG is gaining momentum as the next ‘big’ cannabinoid within the industry, however, as of 2019, no clinical trials concerning CBG had been conducted.
Cannabigerol is usually converted into CBD and THC during the cultivation process and fully grown cannabis plants may only have a CBG content of 1%.
What is CBL? Cannabinoids Explained
As mentioned, the cannabicyclol (CBL) is a product of the degraded and oxidized CBC cannabinoid. The CBL cannabinoid was discovered in 1964 and is not as effective as THC and CBD in terms of medicinal value.
CBL is also sometimes referred to as CBP and only a small handful of medical studies have used cannabicyclol.
In 2008, the world’s oldest cannabis stash was found in China and this cannabis was found to be high in CBL content.
Thank you for reading “What are Cannabinoids”, sharing this on social media helps us grow and provide the latest cannabis information available.
CBG: National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Database. Cannabigerol.
Emblem Cannabis, (2018). Let’s Talk About Cannabinoid Receptors Nelson, (2015).
Lambert DM, & Fowler, CJ (2005). The endocannabinoid system: drug targets, lead compounds, and potential therapeutic applications. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.
Prud’homme, M., Cata, R., & Jutras-Aswad, D. (2015). Cannabidiol as an Intervention for Addictive Behaviors: A Systematic Review of the Evidence. Substance abuse: research and treatment.
Russo, E. (2011). Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. British Journal of Pharmacology.
Smith, T. H., Sim-Selley, L. J., & Selley, D. E. (2010). Cannabinoid CB1 receptor-interacting proteins: novel targets for central nervous system drug discovery. British Journal of Pharmacology.
If you would like to learn more about the most common terpenes found within cannabis, please click here.