Over 113 cannabinoids have been isolated from the cannabis plant. Many are obscure, and only found in trace amounts. We only have a basic understanding of how these cannabinoids interact with the human endocannabinoid system with much further research required to investigate the cannabinoid family in more detail.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the most common cannabinoid in most hemp plants, and has demonstrated the widest variety of potential medicinal uses. Many scientific papers and anecdotal reports detail possible pain relieving, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-seizure and anti-nausea effects of CBD.
Cannabidiol Acid (CBDA) is a precursor to cannabidiolate and acts as an enzyme which synthesizes cannabidiol.
Cannabidivarin (CBDV) is a homolog of cannabidiol. It is non-psychoactive. CBDV has been shown to have anti-epileptic and anticonvulsant properties. CBDV is being researched heavily for use in epileptic seizure management.
Cannabichromene (CBC) may possess anti-inflammatory, pain relieving and antidepressant properties, maybe partially due to its ability to slow the breakdown of the body’s own cannabinoids. CBC appears to have anti-fungal and anticonvulsant properties.
Cannabigerol (CBG) This reacts with another substance, olivetolic acid, with the help of an enzyme to form the “first” cannabinoid, cannabigerolic acid. Enzymes are produced by all lifeforms: bacteria, plants and animals, as they are needed to speed up vital chemical reactions that could otherwise take years. Cannabigerolic acid is the acid form of cannabigerol, a cannabinoid which may reduce the breakdown of the body’s own cannabinoids. It may also possess antidepressant, antianxiety and anti-inflammatory effects, with the latter possibly a stronger effect than that of THC. Cannabigerolic acid can then be converted to the acid forms of THC, as well as cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabichromene (CBC).
Cannabinol (CBN) is a product of aged THC, and it has demonstrated possible anticonvulsant and anti-inflammatory effects. On top of this, geranyl pyrophosphate is also joined to another substance known as divarinic acid to form cannabigerovarinic acid. This can then be converted to similar versions of THC, CBD and CBC called “propyl analogues”. One of these, THCV, has demonstrated anti-obesity effects, which may be of high importance to the health of many in our current society.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive substance in plants of the Cannabis genus, and is therefore not present in the hemp oils and extracts. It is also a scheduled substance in many countries and therefore illegal to possess or distribute. To create THC, geranyl pyrophosphate and olivetolic acid react and are then catalysed by an enzyme, producing cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). The CGBA is then cyclized by the enzyme THC acid synthase to produce THCA. Over time, or when heated, THCA decarboxylates, producing THC.
Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) is a CB1 and CB2 receptor antagonist. It is a homologue of THC and has quite different effects. THCV is a non-psychoactive substance. THCV is being researched heavily for use in the management of type II diabetes.