Cannabis and hemp plants produce a wide range of compounds, known as cannabinoids. You’ve likely heard of cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but did you know there are actually more than 113 cannabinoids found in these plants?
In most cannabis and hemp strains, other cannabinoids—often referred to as minor cannabinoids—are found in much smaller amounts than CBD and THC. So, if you’ve ever consumed a full- or broad-spectrum CBD product, you’ve likely consumed a small amount of many of the other cannabinoids, such as cannabinol (CBN) and cannabichromene (CBC).
Whether you’re looking to branch out and incorporate other cannabinoid products into your wellness routine, or you’re simply just curious about cannabinoids and their effects, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about cannabinoids, including important cannabis terms to know, how cannabinoids work with the body when consumed, and a list of some of the most common cannabinoids and their effects.
Key Cannabis Terminology
Before we jump into our list of common cannabinoids and their effects, there are a few terms that will be helpful to understand:
Cannabis vs. Hemp: Cannabis plants and hemp plants are often lumped together and are sometimes used interchangeably because they’re two varieties of the same plant species, Cannabis sativa. However, hemp plants are simply cannabis plants specially grown to have less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
The Endocannabinoid System: The endocannabinoid system, or ECS, is a cell-signaling communication system that plays an important role in homeostasis and the regulation of various processes and functions in the body, such as sleep, mood, inflammatory response and pain, metabolism, and memory. The ECS is composed of two receptor types: the endocannabinoid type I and type II (CB1 and CB2) receptors. These are located throughout your body, including the nerve cells in your brain and spinal cord, gastrointestinal tract, skeletal muscles, vascular system, and skin. Cannabinoids interact with this system to produce potential benefits we all know and love.
Cannabinoids vs. Endocannabinoids: Cannabinoids, or phytocannabinoids, are the cannabinoids found in hemp and cannabis plants (CBD, THC, CBN, etc.). Endocannabinoids, or endogenous cannabinoids, are cannabinoids that are produced naturally within your own body on an as-needed basis. Endocannabinoids, such as anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), activate receptors in the ECS to maintain homeostasis and keep internal functions running smoothly.
Cannabinoids and Their Effects: Major and Minor Cannabinoids
Cannabinoids are categorized by the abundance found in cannabis and hemp plants. Major cannabinoids are found in larger amounts in the plant and minor cannabinoids are found in smaller amounts. CBD and THC are generally regarded as major cannabinoids while THCV, CBC, CBN, and cannabigerol (CBG) are considered minor cannabinoids.
Major Cannabinoids and Their Effects
THC: THC is the most common cannabinoid and is well known for producing intoxicating or psychoactive effects (aka a “high”). These effects are produced through THC’s action on the brain’s CB1 receptor. THC is also known to interact weakly with CB2 receptors in the ECS. Because of this, THC may ease mild aches and pain, reduce sleeping troubles, stimulate appetite, and reduce nausea and vomiting.
CBD: CBD is the second most common cannabinoid and is well-known for its potential to promote a normal inflammatory response, ease mild anxiety, and promote restful sleep. CBD doesn’t bind well to CB1 receptors (which is why it’s non-psychoactive), but it can weakly activate CB2 receptors in addition to interacting with other receptors such as 5-HT1A, TRPV1, and PPARs. A highly purified prescription CBD solution, Epidiolex, was approved by the FDA to treat seizures associated with two rare forms of epilepsy and is now being researched for conditions such as neuroinflammation, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and multiple sclerosis.
Minor Cannabinoids and Their Effects
THCV: While similar in name, THCV is much different than THC and is currently far less understood. Scientific research into how THCV works with the ECS and its potential benefits is in the preliminary stages, so there are no definitive answers about this cannabinoid quite yet. However, based on animal studies, researchers currently think THCV may block the CB1 receptor, which is well known for stimulating appetite, so one potential use for THCV may be to reduce appetite. It’s currently being researched in a clinical setting for its potential to be used to manage obesity and diabetes. Anecdotal evidence suggests THCV may also boost energy, concentration, and focus, though more research is needed.
CBC: CBCis the third most common cannabinoid. It has many similar beneficial aspects to CBD and THC. While CBC doesn’t bind well to CB1 and CB2, it can bind with TRPV1 and TRPA1 which are receptors linked to the perception of pain. Because of this interaction, CBC may help reduce everyday aches and pains.
CBN: CBN is believed to bind to both CB1 and CB2 receptors, though more scientific and clinical research is needed. Anecdotal evidence and preliminary research suggest CBN may help your body manage inflammation in addition to promoting restful sleep.
CBG: CBG is believed to bind to both CB1 and CB2 receptors and may strengthen the function of anandamide (aka the “bliss chemical”), a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in enhancing mood and pleasure and regulating sleep. Since anandamide signaling is associated with a positive mood and a sense of calm, CBG may promote a positive mood and reduce mild anxiety.
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At Feals, we believe you deserve a better way to feel better, and we’re here to help you find that. Our full-spectrum CBD oil, full-spectrum CBD mints, and THCV/CBC focus melts are made with only the purest ingredients and are designed to help you find balance and feel at your best.
If you still have questions about cannabinoids and their effects or any other cannabinoid-related questions, our customer service team would love to help. Just give them a ring.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.