Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found naturally within our endogenous cannabinoid systems and in the cannabis plant. Some of these cannabinoids are psychoactive and some are not, however, all are believed to play their own special roles in regulating physiological responses, even more so when they work together. Cannabinoids are considered the key to their primary corresponding lock receptors, CB1 and CB2. To date, we are aware of two major endogenous cannabinoids (Anandamide and 2-AG) working with the ECS, and it is has been stated that approximately 100 phytocannabinoids have been identified, yet not all thoroughly researched. According to Israeli researcher, Raphael Mechoulam, the first scientist to determine CBD structure in 1963 and isolate THC9 a year later:
“ There are more than 480 natural components found within the cannabis plant, of which at least 66 have been classified as "cannabinoids." Those are chemicals unique to the plant, including delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiols. There are, however, many more, including: Cannabigerols (CBG), Cannabichromenes (CBC), Cannabidiols (CBD), Tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), Cannabinol (CBN) and cannabinodiol (CBDL); other cannabinoids (such as cannabicyclol (CBL), cannabielsoin(CBE),cannabitriol (CBT) and other miscellaneous types). Other constituents of the cannabis plant are: nitrogenous compounds (27 known), amino acids (18), proteins (3), glycoproteins (6), enzymes (2), sugars and related compounds (34), hydrocarbons (50), simple alcohols (7), aldehydes (13), ketones (13), simple acids (21), fatty acids (22), simple esters (12), lactones (1), steroids (11), terpenes (120), non-cannabinoid phenols (25), flavonoids (21), vitamins (1), pigments (2), and other elements (9)”(*)(SG)
Phytocannabinoids will change chemical states based on what stage the plant and most commonly the flowers are in. These stages are broken down into raw, heated, and aged. In raw form, cannabis possesses cannabinoids that are bound with acids, which have specific therapeutic properties, mostly with treating inflammation. When cannabis is heated, generally after drying, it loses the acids through decarboxylation, releases carbon dioxide, and changes chemical states creating a whole new set of cannabinoids with varying physiological responses. In the third stage, where cannabis has been aged, further chemical changes have occurred to form new compounds. One change is the plant’s THC9 degrading to THC8. This may seem like a negative-THC9 has lost its potency, and the psychoactive effect is no longer as strong. However, for an insomniac, this aged cannabis, now CBN and THC8, is a possible answer to dealing with sleep issues.
Research has determined that cannabinoids are most effective when working synergistically. This is what scientist Raphael Mechoulam first referred to as the “Entourage Effect”- a term used to describe how cannabis and its therapeutic properties work best when its compounds function together. Although a number of compounds have been isolated and researched for better understanding of their chemical properties and physiological roles, we still have a ways to go before completely understanding cannabinoids and their interactions. The more we discover about the beneficial role of cannabinoids in medicine, the more we will be able to tailor their effects toward specific treatment of ailments. The most common cannabinoids and their known medicinal attributes are:
Raw plant form
Cannabigerol acid (CBGA) – Analgesic, Anti-inflammatory
Cannabigerovarinic acid (CBGVA) – Anti-inflammatory
Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) – Anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmadic
Tetrahydrocannabivarinic acid (THCVA) – Anti-inflammatory
Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) – Anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory
Cannabidivarin acid (CBDVA) – Anti-inflammatory
Cannabichromen (CBCA) – Anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory
Cannabichromevaranic acid(CBCVA) – Anti-inflammatory
Heated / Decarboxylated
* Tetrahydrocannibinol Dleta 9 (THC-9) – Analgesic, anti-bacterial, anti- cancer, anti-spasmatic, appetite stimulant, bronchodialotor , neuroprotectant
* Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) – Anti-convulsive, appetite suppressant
* Cannabidiol (CBD) – Analgesic, ant-anxiety, anti-bacterial, anti-cancer, anti-convulsive, anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory, anti-insomnia, anti-psychotic, anti-spasmadic, bone stimulant, neuroprotectant
Cannabidivarin (CBDV) – Anti-convulsant, bone stimulant
Cannabichromene (CBC) – Analgesic, anti-bacterial, anti-cancer, anti-depressant, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, bone stimulant,
Cannabigerol (CBG) – Analgesic, anti-bacterial, anti-cancer, anti-depressant, bone stimulant
Aged and long cured
Cannibinolic acid (CBNA) – Anti-inflammatory.
* Cannabinol (CBN) – Analgesic, anti-bacterial, anti-convulsive, anti-inflammatory, anti-insomnia
* Tetrahydrocannibinol Delta-8 (THC-8) – Anti-anxiety, anti-emetic
Cannabicyclol acid (CBLA) – Anti-inflammatory
* most commonly used medicinal cannabinoids.
-Ryan O'Malley, General Manager at Tahoe Wellness Center - 'Notes on Cannabis'