Updated: Aug 6, 2022
Your Beginner’s Guide to Cannabinoids: Get Started Here on Learning a Little Something About Them.
Become educated on their history, products, and benefits.
You’re already familiar with cannabidiol (CBD), one of the most well-known cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are chemicals found in cannabis and hemp plants. They work by interacting with our endocannabinoid system, which plays a major role in maintaining our health.
CBD is not the only cannabinoid. In fact, researchers have identified over 100 cannabinoids in hemp and cannabis plants — many of which seem to have helpful properties.
So many people swear by using CBD health products, but it’s only one out of a multitude of beneficial cannabinoids. Can you imagine the potential that the rest of the plant might hold?
Heading #1: Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
Along with CBD, THC is pretty well-known.
This cannabinoid is responsible for making you feel intoxicated — in other words, it’s the reason why cannabis makes people high.
However, that’s not THC’s only effect. It also may help with mood, inflammation, soreness and nausea, A THC-based drug called dronabinol (Marinol) was approved by the FDA in 1985. It’s prescribed to improve appetite in AIDS patients and to soothe nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.
For a plant to be classified as hemp in the United States, it needs to contain 0.3 percent THC or less. This definition was repeated in a number of laws, including the 2018 Farm Bill, which made it legal to grow commercial hemp throughout the United States.
Because hemp products contain such a tiny amount of THC — or in some cases, zero THC — you won’t feel intoxicated after using hemp products.
Heading #2: Cannabigerol (CBG)
CBG is considered the “mother cannabinoid” — other cannabinoids, including CBD and THC, are synthesized from CBG.
Recently, more researchers have started looking into the potential benefits of CBG. Specifically, studies have explored CBG’s anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Research has also examined whether CBG could be used to help people with glaucoma, Huntington’s disease, and irritable bowel disease (IBD).
CBG tends to be pricey because it isn’t easy to produce. Because other cannabinoids are synthesized from CBG, high-CBG yielding plants tend to be lower in THC and CBD, although more recently, growers have started to produce high-CBG strains for medical use.
Many researchers are curious about whether CBG could improve brain function by supporting focus and concentration. You’ll find CBG in many products that are intended to boost energy, memory retention and focus.
Heading #3: Cannabinol (CBN)
Cannabinol is another cannabinoid you’re likely to see in the wellness world. Like CBG, it’s gained a lot of popularity over the past year or two.
CBN is a breakdown of THC: over time, THC converts to CBN. However, unlike THC, CBN is not intoxicating.
Interestingly, CBN was the first cannabinoid to ever be identified and isolated from cannabis — way back in the late 1800s. According to one book, “This discovery was most likely due to rampant degradation of THC to CBN due to poor quality control, the transportation and storage conditions related to the 19th century.”
At present, CBN isn’t as well-studied as CBD and THC. However, it’s currently being studied to determine whether it can soothe pain, insomnia, and seizure conditions. It might have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, but this hasn’t been studied sufficiently yet.
You’re most likely to find CBN in sleep-enhancing products. Many people use it to soothe stress and tension, or to wind down before bedtime. Fair warning: CBN might make you sleepy, so it’s best to avoid using CBN before you drive!
Heading #4: Cannabichromene (CBC)
CBC is a lesser-known cannabinoid. There’s interest in investigating CBC’s potential for soothing pain and inflammation, improving mood, and supporting brain health, but there’s a lack of evidence for these potential uses.
We do know, however, that CBC doesn’t seem to make people feel intoxicated. Hopefully, future research will confirm whether CBC can be used for health reasons.
Heading #5: What is the entourage effect?
You’ll find that many experts talk about something called the entourage effect. This is the idea that all the compounds in cannabis work better when they’re used together.
Recent studies have also suggested that terpenes — which are the chemicals in hemp and cannabis that produce distinctive aromas and other unique profiles — play a role in the entourage effect, magnifying the effects of cannabinoids.
Some cannabinoid products contain multiple cannabinoids. Broad-spectrum (0.0 percent THC) and full-spectrum (<0.3 percent THC) hemp products include a variety of cannabinoids as well as several terpene profiles. Many experts believe that broad-spectrum and full-spectrum products work better because the entourage effect improves their efficacy.
Isolated versions of cannabinoids contain only that cannabinoid and nothing else. There can be benefits to this, as it means you’re getting a pure experience with that cannabinoid.
It’s entirely up to you whether you choose to use a cannabinoid isolate, broad-spectrum product, or full-spectrum product — feel free to experiment and see what works for you!