Cannabinoids are chemical compounds which activate the cannabinoid receptors found throughout our bodies. Phytocannabinoids are the natural forms of these chemicals found in highest concentrations within female cannabis flowers - more specifically, within the resin glands on the surface of the flower. There are at least 85 different cannabinoids identified and isolated from various cannabis strains. Each has a unique influence on the body's endocannabinoid system.
Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA)
Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid, like other acid cannabinoids, is not psychoactive. THC-A is strongly anti-inflammatory, encourages appetite, is anti-tumor, combats insomnia, and is antispasmodic. THC-A is the most abundant terpenoid (and Cannabinoid) in the vast majority of Cannabis grown in the U.S., reaching levels over 30% of dry weight for flowers from female, un-pollinated plants (sensimilla). Many “high THC” strains, when grown and harvested optimally, produce about 15% THC-A by dry weight, though this can vary widely.
Delta 9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (∆-9-THC)
Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (commonly referred to as “Δ9-THC,” “D9-THC,” “d9-THC” or simply “THC”) is a neutral cannabinoid, well known for being strongly psychoactive. Of all the scientific discoveries that have been made about THC, probably the single most important was how THC enabled scientists to discover the existence of the endocannabinoid system in vertebrate animals (including humans): a critical part of physiology that, up until then, was unknown. THC has been shown to be effective in the treatment of a variety of ailments and disorders including pain, tumors, nausea and ADHD.
Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA)
CBDA, similar to THCA, is the main constituent in cannabis with elevated CBD levels. CBDA selectively inhibits the COX-2 enzyme, contributing to cannabis’ anti-inflammatory effects.
Cannabidiol is “non-psychoactive” (in that it does not produce the euphoria, time dilation, or anxiety normally produced by THC) and has been shown to be extremely valuable in the treatment of seizure disorders such as MS and Epilepsy. Its lack of psychoactivity makes it ideal in treating children, the elderly and patients that prefer to remain clear headed and focused. CBD is often as effective as THC in the management of pain and tumors. CBD also lowers blood sugar, and has been used in the treatment of Diabetes. CBD has a calming effect, and is useful in the treatment of stress related disorders and sleep loss.
Cannabinol is an oxidation product of THC. It normally forms when THC is exposed to oxygen and heat. A high level of CBN often reflects cannabis that is old or has been exposed to significant heat. CBN is known to be very slightly psychoactive and more strongly sedative than other known Cannabinoids. As such, samples with significant CBN (approaching 1% by weight) can be useful to treat insomnia. CBN is also somewhat effective as an anti-emetic and anticonvulsant.
Cannabigerol is non psychoactive, and has been shown to stimulate the growth of new brain cells, including in the elderly; it should be noted that genuinely neurogenic compounds are extremely rare. CBG also stimulates bone growth, is antibacterial and anti-tumor, and combats insomnia.
Cannabichromene is also non psychoactive, and has been shown to be about ten times more effective than CBD in treating anxiety and stress. It also displays efficiency in treating inflammation, pain relief and is both anti-viral and anti-tumor. CBC has been shown to stimulate the growth of bone tissue.
THCV is a minor cannabinoid found in only some strains of cannabis. The only structural difference between THCV and THC is the presence of a propyl (3 carbon) group, rather than a pentyl (5 carbon) group, on the molecule. Though this variation may seem subtle, it causes THCV to produce very different effects than THC. These effects include a reduction in panic attacks, suppression of appetite, and the promotion of bone growth. THCV acts as an antagonist at the CB1 receptor and a partial agonist at the CB2 receptor.
Like THCV, CBDV differs from CBD only by the substitution of a pentyl (5 carbon) for a propyl (3 carbon) sidechain. Although research on CBDV is still in its initial stages, recent studies have shown promise for its use in the management of epilepsy. This is due to its action at TRPV1 receptors and modulation of gene expression.