Scientists have identified dozens upon dozens of different cannabinoids naturally present throughout the Cannabis plant. Cannabinoids are compounds which bind with the cannabinoid receptors found in many parts of the body to produce a host of desirable effects. Though THC and CBD are notably the most well-known and studied cannabinoids, researchers are continuing to explore the potential health benefits and useful applications of other closely-related compounds.
We’ve frequently explored the characteristics of CBD (of course) and THC in previous blog posts, but we’ve yet to touch on some of the other popular cannabinoids people are using to enhance their health and wellness journeys. So, today we’re doing just that!
First, let’s review what we know about our favorite cannabinoid. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive, or non-intoxicating, cannabinoid that reacts with the endocannabinoid system to support healthy and balanced physiological functions. CBD has gained a significant amount of attention for its potential to alleviate symptoms of certain health conditions, especially seizures and spasms caused by epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. The anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, and therapeutic properties of CBD have also shown promising results when used to combat problems like anxiety and chronic pain and regulate processes such as sleep and mood.
If you’ve never heard of any other types of cannabinoids, you’re probably still relatively familiar with this one. The most well-known active cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is typically the cannabis plant’s most prevalent compound. THC is the main psychoactive component of cannabis that, unlike CBD, produces a “high” or feelings of euphoria when it binds to brain receptors. High doses of THC are commonly associated with negative side effects such as rapid heart rate, paranoia, and impaired mood and memory. However, its analgesic, anti-spasmodic, and anti-depressant properties also have many medicinal applications. Studies have shown that proper doses of THC can effectively alleviate nausea and pain associated with conditions like fibromyalgia, reduce muscle tremors among patients with Parkinson’s disease, and manage stress and other psychological symptoms caused by depression, OCD, and PTSD.
Not to be confused with cannabidiol, cannabinol (CBN) is a mildly psychoactive cannabinoid commonly known for its sedative properties and effectiveness as a sleep aid. Though not quite as intoxicating, CBN is produced during the THC degradation process of an aged cannabis plant. Research has shown that CBN may be useful for those with arthritis and Crohn’s disease as it can help ease pain and inflammation. Much like CBD and THC, CBN may relieve muscle spasms and acts as an algesic to alleviate pain.
Cannabigerol (CBG) is a cannabinoid primarily prevalent in cannabis strains with a low-THC and high-CBD content, such as hemp. It is non-psychoactive and may even help relieve THC-induced paranoia. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBG may provide symptom relief for those with glaucoma, Crohn’s disease, and inflammatory bowel disease. Interestingly enough, it may be a useful anti-proliferative in cancer treatments, too. CBG is sometimes referred to as a “stem cell” cannabinoid as it shows potential to slow or inhibit tumor growth. Now that’s exciting!
Cannabichromene (CBC), also non-psychoactive, boasts analgesic, anti-infloammatory, and anti-proliferative properties similar to other cannabinoids. Studies show it may also help regulate healthy gut functions and stimulate neurogenesis. Like CBD and CBG, CBC may play an important role in some cancer treatments. However, unlike many other cannabinoids, CBC does not interact with the body’s endocannabinoid receptors to produce its health benefits.
This psychoactive cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), possesses a nearly identical structure to THC and typically produces an energized or motivated “high.” Research on THCV shows great potential as an antipsychotic in addition to anti-epileptic and neuroprotective properties. While THCV may help treat conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and post-traumatic-stress-disorder (PTSD), it is not recommended for those with cachexia or anorexia nervosa as it is known to be an appetite suppressant.
Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) is a highly-prevalent non-psychoactive cannabinoid with anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative, and neuroprotective properties. Research suggests THCA can effectively relieve pain and convulsions characteristic of conditions like arthritis and epilepsy, so it may be helpful in various treatment plans. Unlike THCV, THCA often stimulates appetites and can benefit those with cachexia or anorexia nervosa.
Last but not least, we have cannabidivarin (CBDV). This non-psychoactive cannabinoid is similar to CBD as it demonstrates anti-inflammation and anti-convulsant properties and can help relieve nausea. CBDV may help treat symptoms associated with epilepsy, Crohn’s disease, and even multiple sclerosis.
Cannabinoids may be an effective way to naturally treat conditions and relieve symptoms without the adverse side effects associated with many pharmaceuticals. Research on the health benefits of CBD, THC, and other similar cannabinoids is ongoing, but it is clear that there are a lot of exciting breakthroughs on the horizon! Studies have already found a wide variety of potential applications for cannabinoids in treatment plans for patients with epilepsy, cancer, and chronic pain. However, we encourage you to always speak with your doctor before introducing CBD or any other cannabinoid to your health and wellness routine to ensure certain compounds are right for you.