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What Are Cannabinoids [8 Varieties Explained]

February 17, 2020

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There are over 113 different cannabinoids found inside hemp that haven’t been discovered in any other plant outside of cannabis, making hemp a truly unique plant indeed.

Not Just "THC"

Keep in mind, the term cannabis is a genus of plant that includes both marijuana and hemp. Each plant has its own different chemical composition, or different ratio of cannabinoids. One of the key differences of hemp is that it contains exceptionally low levels of THC (the cannabinoid associated with marijuana and the “high” users experience).

Although THC is most widely seen as the compound found inside of cannabis, there are far more varieties of cannabinoids than most people realize, each with their own distinctive qualities and benefits. We do our best to retain as many cannabinoids as possible in our full spectrum whole plant hemp oil.

CBD – Cannabidiol

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CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of the most popular cannabinoids as of late with its recent explosion onto the medical scene for its use in conditions such as chronic pain, inflammation, seizures, neurological disorders, anxiety disorders, cancer treatment, skin conditions, and metabolic conditions.

CBD works with the CB-1 and CB-2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). We explain the endocannabinoid system on our website home page and in this article here.

The ECS (Endo-Cannabinoid System) is the master key that brings balance to all other systems in the body, from circulatory, digestive and reproductive to the endocrine system. An inactive ECS puts all other systems at risk of imbalance and disturbance.

Currently, there is a lot of research going into CBD and its applications for benefiting human health. With CBD’s powerful benefits, it makes one wonder about the other 112 cannabinoids and their own individual unique benefits to us all.

THCA – Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid

what are cannabinoids explained

THCA has a similar ring to it as THC, but they are entirely different. Here’s why. When the hemp plant is dried or heated, it begins going through the decarboxylation process. This turns THCA into THC.

Early research is showing promise with THCA and its effectiveness in protecting brain degeneration, treating inflammation, and preventing general nausea and appetite loss, as well as stopping the growth of cancer cells.

Brain degeneration protection could be helpful in cases of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or other neuro-degenerative brain conditions.

Inflammation treatment could be of value in those suffering from chronic pain.

Nausea and appetite loss could show promise with those undergoing chemotherapy or other treatments that result in nausea and a general loss of appetite.

Similar to CBD, THCA binds to the ECS receptors CB-1 and CB-2.

CBG – Cannabigerol

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CBG is also found in high concentrations in the hemp plant and doesn’t affect mental processes. CBG has shown to be of assistance with those suffering from chronic pain disorders, inflammation, bone growth stimulation, brain cell stimulation, depression, seizures, insomnia, poor appetite and bacterial infections.

Bone growth stimulation could prove valuable in those suffering from osteoporosis and other bone and joint disorders.

Seizures can prove helpful in those with epilepsy or related neurological disorders.

Bacterial infections could be especially of value in the treatment of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.

CBG is current being assessed for its success in treating glaucoma, IBS, Huntington’s disease, MRSA, and in blocking the growth of cancer cells.

CBDA – Cannabidolic Acid

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CBDA is the precursor to CBD and it doesn’t seem to interact with the ECS directly. Instead, research is showing that CBDA affects the non-endocannabinoid receptors and systems.

CBDA has been shown to suppress the COX-2 enzyme through its anti-inflammatory properties. The inhibition of COX-2 has shown promise in the reduction of breast cancer cell growth. CBDA activates the serotonin receptors which can help alleviate depression and anxiety. Serotonin also helps manage general nausea and vomiting, which can help increase appetite.

Differentiating Acidic & Non-Acidic Cannabinoids

Acidic compounds like THCA and CBDA are precursors to other compounds. Sometimes they are referred to as the “stem cells”, acidic compounds are the building blocks that can create an unlimited amount of the same compounds or other types of compounds with differentiation.

In this particular case, when heat or light is applied to an acidic cannabinoid, it converts into a non-acidic cannabinoid.

Currently, some of the research shows that non-acidic forms have stronger medicinal benefits than acidic, while others strongly claim the opposite. Interest and the ever-expanding research into acidic compounds is showing that they bring advantages to the user as well. The acidic compounds are crucial, as they create a large variety of cannabinoids within the plant. Studies show that acidic and non-acidic compounds work well together within the body.

CBN – Cannabinol

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Cannabinol is best known for its sedative properties and has a far stronger sedative effect than many of the other cannabinoids, without causing a “high.” CBN is extremely powerful in its ability to reduce anxiety and the negative side effects of stress.

Using CBN is showing a lot of promise in treating severe mental health disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This could prove helpful with assisting war veterans, victims of a car accident or crime, and new mothers suffering from post-natal depression and post-natal PTSD.

Additionally, CBN assists with increasing appetite, controls the growth of cancer cells, and activates the same pain-relieving pathways as THC. CBN also activates the CB-1 and CB-2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

If you would like to learn more about the endocannabinoid system and how it regulates and balances all other systems of the body, head to our home page or read our article on it here.

We hope this explains some of the other cannabinoids found inside the hemp plant, and that it opens your mind up to the possibility that if these 8 cannabinoids can be so valuable in sustaining and benefiting human health, just imagine what the other 108 cannabinoids that have still yet to be well researched could do for you.

Rahn, Bailey. “What Is THCA and What Are the Benefits of This Cannabinoid?” Leafly. March 17, 2015. Accessed November 13, 2018.

Franciosi, Anthony. “CBG: Everything You Need to Know.” Honest Marijuana (blog). October 12, 2018. Accessed November 13, 2018.

Biles, Mary. “9 Amazing Facts About CBDa.” Endoca (blog). Accessed November 13, 2018.