If you’ve been following along with the cannabis conversation, you have likely heard of the two most commonly known chemical compounds (cannabinoids) found in the cannabis plant: CBD and THC. CBD helps promote a healthy state of balance in the mind and body and THC—known for its psychoactive effects.
But according to a more recent tally, scientists have isolated upwards of 113 cannabinoids (so far)—many of which exhibit their own distinct effects depending on which receptors in the body they bind to. Here’s what we know about some of the other major cannabinoids studied to date:
CBN—The New Herbal Nightcap
Although it isn’t particularly well-known, CBN, or cannabinol, was actually the first cannabinoid to be isolated and identified from the cannabis plant and is the most promising cannabinoid that’s been identified for promoting rest and rejuvenation.
CBG—The Mother Cannabinoid
Mature cannabis plants only posses 1% or less of CBG because almost all of it gets converted to either THC or CBD. This is why it’s known as the “mother” cannabinoid—because it’s the important chemical precursor to three main cannabinoid lines (CBD, THC, and CBC). CBG also helps to balance the body’s internal systems and is thought to provide support to wellbeing, protection against nerve cell degeneration, and potentially ease skin concerns.
CBC—The Synergistic Compound
Like CBD, CBC is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid since it does not bind well to CB1 receptors in the brain. But where it does create an impact is when it works synergistically with other compounds. This includes its ability to activate receptors linked to reduced perception of occasional, temporary discomfort and increasing levels of the body’s natural endocannabinoids to bring the body back to balance.
While there are conflicting studies about THCV, which although similar in molecular structure and psychoactive properties to THC, provides a variety of altogether different impacts. Some studies show that it reduces the psychoactive effects of THC, while others found it produces short-lived but more intense “highs”.
CBDV—CBD’s Long-Lost Relative
Discovered 50 years ago, CBDV is a CBD “homolog”—in other words, it is structurally very similar to CBD and also non-intoxicating. CBDV is found in small quantities in hemp but has similar wellness properties as well as supporting particular neurobehavioral issues.
Although cannabinoids are just one (albeit significant) part of the cannabis story—appreciating their scientific complexity is key. Cannabinoids each have a unique profile, interact uniquely with the body, and produce a diverse range of flow-on effects. And while scientists are still discovering more about the potential of the cannabis plant—understanding these five major cannabinoids is crucial if it is to continue to play a key role in your path to ultimate wellness.