What are Cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are compounds found in hemp and Marijuana. The most notable cannabinoid is the phytocannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) (Delta9-THC or Delta8-THC), the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis. Cannabidiol (CBD) is another major constituent of the plant. At least 113 distinct cannabinoids have been isolated from cannabis.
Classical cannabinoids are structurally related to THC.
Differences between cannabinoids
- THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol): THC is one of the more familiar cannabinoids due to the notoriety of its intoxicating effects. How does THC manage to do that? It binds to both CB1 and CB2 receptors, making it the most powerful of the bunch.
- CBD (cannabidiol): CBD may be the second-most prominent cannabinoid within the cannabis plant, but it’s being used in everything from supplements to smoothies. In fact, the FDA approved CBD as an active ingredient in a treatment for a rare form of Epilepsy (Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome).
- CBG (cannabigerol): CBG is only found in trace amounts in the cannabis plant, but its precursor is CBGA, the foundational molecule for all other cannabinoids. A non-psychoactive compound that binds directly to both the CB1 and CB2 receptors, we still don’t know much about CBG and its potential.
- CBN (cannabinol): CBN can produce a psychoactive response, but only marginally so compared to THC. This is because CBN is actually THC that has been broken down after long-term exposure to oxygen. This is why older marijuana may lose potency as THC decreases and CBN increases.