Beyond CBD and THC: Meet the Minor Cannabinoids

August 05, 2020 0 Comments

Beyond CBD and THC: Meet the Minor Cannabinoids

You may have heard about the importance of "full-spectrum," "whole plant," or "broad-spectrum" CBD products. Whole-plant CBD includes naturally occurring chemical compounds called cannabinoids.

Studies show that the presence of cannabinoids increases the benefits of CBD. Sometimes called "the entourage effect," it is one reason most experts recommend a full-spectrum hemp oil.

The industrial hemp plant contains more than 100 cannabinoids. The vast majority are not psychoactive and do not produce a 'high' as THC does.

When you consume a full-spectrum CBD product, the cannabinoids work by binding to a system of internal receptors found from head to toe inside your body. Different cannabinoids provide distinct medicinal properties and unique benefits.

Growing hemp for CBD production has only been legal for a few years, and the research is just getting started. Initial studies are promising, and there is more to learn. The National Institute of Health recently launched a barrage of new investigations into cannabinoids and pain-relief.

Here is what research reveals (so far) about each of the best-known cannabinoids.

Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA)

CBDA is the acidic and biologically active version of CBD. Found in fresh cannabis leaves and flowers, CBDA is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid with gentle sedative properties. It occurs in Sativa strains with higher CBD levels.

Most commonly known as an anti-inflammatory, studies show CBDA to reduce nauseafight depression at lower doses than CBD, and inhibit the growth of aggressive cancer cells. Researchers think CBDA may be useful for people with rare forms of epilepsy.

Cannabinol (CBN)

CBN occurs when oxygen or light degrades THC. Since the oxidation process breaks down the THC molecules, CBN is about four times less psychoactive. So far, CBN is the most sedative of all the cannabinoids and works better when used with CBD.

Viewed initially as a waste by-product of THC, CBN shows a range of remarkable benefits, including working for pain relief, as an anticonvulsant, and as a powerful antibacterial agent.

In topical form, CBN shows promise in treating several skin conditions, including psoriasis.

Cannabigerol (CBG)

Non-psychoactive, CBG appears in cannabis plants only in minimal quantities. Since it starts as the CBGA molecule, an acid that is the foundational molecule for almost all the other cannabinoids, CBG is called "the mother of all cannabinoids."

It's expensive to produce, but CBG's potential medical benefits show real promise. In addition to working as an antibacterial agent, studies show CBG to potentially combat Irritable Bowel SyndromeHuntington’s Diseasebladder dysfunctions, and colon cancer.

CBG is found more readily in hemp flowers than in marijuana plants, though some strains like Allen Wrench and Magic Jordan are higher in CBG.

Cannabichromene (CBC)

Non-psychoactive and frequently found in full-spectrum CBD products, CBC is believed to be most effective when used with other cannabinoids. For example, CBC strengthens the pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties of THC.

CBC comes from a recessive gene and occurs naturally only in a few cannabis strains. As studies show its medical applications and its popularity skyrocketed, breeders have managed to boost CBC production by crossbreeding.

Cannabidivarin (CBDV)

CBDV is non-psychoactive and similar in structure to CBD. Already used in multiple medical applications, one exciting potential of CBDV is in rescuing memory deficits.

Applications for CBDV include helping people with autism spectrum disorder, as an anticonvulsant, and against nausea.

Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)

THCV can be intoxicating, depending on the dose. In higher doses, THCV is associated with an energetic, alert, and focused high. It shares many properties with THC, but it differs in other ways.  

Unlike THC, THCV reduces appetite. Studies show it can support pancreatic cell function metabolizing glucose and lower insulin sensitivity. These have applications for diabetes treatment and weight loss.

A 2011 study showed THCV to improve Parkinson's disease symptoms due to its antioxidant and neuroprotective properties.

Recently, a study established interest in THCV as a potential addiction-combatting agent. In this case, with nicotine. THCV “significantly attenuated” nicotine seeking behavior and withdrawal symptoms.

Cannabicyclol (CBL)

Non-psychoactive CBL comes from older cannabis plants, typically stored long enough after harvest to degrade. Its unusual source makes CBL relatively rare and hard to produce. Many additional studies are needed to determine all possible health applications.

Initial studies show it might regulate muscle contractions as well as have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects.

Cannabinoids: Amazing Start, Untapped Potential

Every day we make dozens of choices, and health improvement can be one of the toughest. While systematic research into the health and medical benefits of cannabinoids is just beginning, initial results are remarkable. The more scientists learn, the more studies they want to do.

Each of these cannabinoids has additional benefits not listed here, or not fully documented yet. There are still dozens just like these that have yet to have their potential realized. Stay tuned as additional research reveals more.

If you want a full-spectrum CBD product for a specific health reason, and want to make sure your product includes the best cannabinoids for you, you can do a search. Type in "cannabinoids [health reason] study" or something similar, and you'll see the most updated research publicly available.

Review any CBD products to make sure they include your target cannabinoids, and always consult your doctor about adding CBD. Remember to find out if there are any interactions with your prescription medications before consuming them.

Plant medicine has ancient roots in human history. The cannabis plant's science brings plant medicine into the modern world – simple solutions with remarkable results. Find a whole plant CBD product that supports your lifestyle.

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