List of the main cannabis cannabinoids
Cannabis produces a variety of compounds known as cannabinoids, many of which have not been detected in any other plant. How many exactly? It's hard to say. You will often see people saying that there are dozens, or even 100+ cannabinoids produced by cannabis. But it is difficult to know the exact figure. Most of them are present at very low levels, especially in commercial cannabis products. Which makes it difficult for scientists to detect them accurately. The important point is that there are a lot of them ... Here are the main cannabinoids:
8 Main Cannabinoid Acids Produced by Cannabis
Cannabis does not directly produce cannabinoids. Of which the most famous associated with the plant, the THC and CBD. Instead, it synthesizes several cannabinoid acids. These cannabinoid acids must be "activated" (decarboxylated), usually by heat, to give the compounds THC or CBD.
But in addition to THCA and CBDA, there are a number of related cannabinoid acids that can be produced by cannabis. These are:
- CBGA (Cannabigerolic acid)
- THCA (A9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid)
- CBDA (Cannabidiolic acid)
- CBCA (Cannabichromenic acid)
- CBGVA (Cannabigerovarinic acid)
- THCVA (tetrahydrocanabivinic acid)
- CBDVA (Cannabidivaric acid)
- CBCVA (Cannabichromevarinic acid)
THCA and CBDA are usually the most abundant cannabinoids in the strains. The others are normally present at much lower levels. The main cannabinoid acids include CBGA, THCA, CBDA and CBCA. CBGA is the starting compound that the enzymes in the plant use to make the other three. In addition to these, there are an equal number of corresponding "V" compounds with slightly shorter chemical structures: CBGVA, THCVA, CBDVA and CBCVA.
Cannabinoid acids are not known to produce psychoactive effects such as THC. But they have a variety of interesting properties. For example, many cannabinoid acids have antibiotic or insecticidal properties. This is probably related to the reason that cannabis produces these compounds in the first place: to defend oneself.
Plant cannabinoids are made from cannabinoid acids
Plant cannabinoids are made from cannabinoid acids. When cannabinoid acids are exposed to thermal energy, they lose the "A" part and turn into neutral plant cannabinoids rather than acids.
After decarboxylation, each of the cannabinoid acids gives a corresponding cannabinoid compound:
- CBG (Cannabigerol)
- THC (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol)
- CBD (Cannabidiol)
- CBC (Cannabichrome)
- CBGV (Cannabigerivarin)
- THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin)
- CBDV (Cannabidivarin)
- CBCV (Cannabichromevarin)
Most cannabinoids will not get you. THC is the only plant cannabinoid that you know for sure to have clear psychoactive effects. Some evidence suggests that THCV can also have psychoactive effects, although it may depend on the dose. However, like most other plant cannabinoids, THCV is usually not present in significant amounts in commercial strains and cannabis products.
Most cannabinoids do not raise (High)
While most plant cannabinoids are not psychoactive themselves, their presence can influence how THC affects you. The best example is CBD. While it won't get you a high on its own, CBD influences how THC interacts with CB1 receptors in your endocannabinoid system and therefore can influence exactly how a cannabis product affects you.
Le THCV can also affect the effects of THC. At relatively low doses, THCV appears to decrease the ability of THC to activate CB1 receptors, such as CBD. However, at relatively high doses, the THCV can start activating CB1 receptors, such as THC. The exact dose you consume can greatly influence the way a compound affects you.
But because THCV and other lesser-known cannabinoids are generally less abundant in cannabis, they have also been studied much less. We have much more to learn about their effects on humans.
And THC can turn into CBN
Another plant cannabinoid you may have heard of is cannabinol (CBN). This is another example of a plant cannabinoid that is not directly synthesized by cannabis. Instead of that, CBN is a decomposition product of THC. This is why older flower products tend to have more CBN, especially when not properly stored. Over time and exposure to the elements, THC gradually breaks down into CBN.
CBN has been observed to cause greater sedation when combined with THC. He may also haves anticonvulsant (anti-convulsive), anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties. However, this is another example of an unstudied plant cannabinoid, and there is still a long way to go before we are confident in its precise effects.