It’s no secret that the science behind cannabis can be a lot to wrap your head around. With complicated terminology and confusing acronyms, understanding how these incredible plant works is no easy task. Luckily, we’re here to help you get familiar with what makes cannabis great – the cannabinoids! Read below to learn more about what cannabinoids are, what forms they come in, and which ones might be right for you.
Cannabinoids: What Are They?
Simply put, cannabinoids are a group of naturally occurring compounds found in the cannabis plant. The cannabis plant itself possesses over 450 different compounds and over 100 cannabinoids.
Cannabinoids get their name due to the way they interact with your brain’s cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are found all over the brain as well as in certain areas of the body in what’s known as the endocannabinoid system. Interestingly, cannabinoids can have different effects based on the area of the brain they interact with. For example, cannabinoids that interact with the limbic system may alter your memory and cognition, while those that interact with the mesolimbic system may impact your feelings of pain and pleasure.
However, the main difference between the cannabinoids lies in the level of psychoactivity each compound produces. Some cannabinoids can produce psychoactive effects, while others produce no psychoactivity or can decrease the psychoactivity of other cannabinoids. Fortunately, even non-psychoactive cannabinoids can offer therapeutic benefits to improve your overall health and wellness.
So which cannabinoid might be right for you? Keep reading to learn more about specific cannabinoids and their uniquely amazing properties.
If you’ve ever experienced a cannabis “high,” then you’ve almost certainly experienced the effects of THC Delta-9. This cannabinoid is by far the most popular of its kind and has long been known as the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. THC Delta-9 works by increasing the amount of dopamine in your brain, leading to prominent effects such as euphoria, relaxation, increased appetite, and more. In addition to recreational use, research shows that THC Delta-9 can offer many medicinal benefits. This compound has been used to treat a variety of medical conditions including anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and nausea. However, the high psychoactivity of this cannabinoid means that, if used improperly (like many things if used in excess) can cause some negative side effects. If you’re looking to enjoy a true cannabis “high,” then this might be the cannabinoid for you.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is another one of the cannabis plant’s most famous compounds. Unlike THC Delta-9, CBD offers no psychoactive properties and instead offers many therapeutic benefits. CBD can offer relief from a wide range of health conditions such as depression, anxiety, inflammation, arthritis, and so much more. There’s even evidence to suggest that CBD can actually decrease the negative effects of THC! CBD products come in many different forms, from gummies, face masks, dog treats, creams, and everything in between. If you want to experience the healing properties of cannabis without the intoxicating high, then CBD might just be what you need.
No, you read that right. There are indeed additional THC cannabinoids besides the fan favorite Delta-9 THC. Both of these compounds share very similar chemical structures, but there are a few key differences. Despite carrying many of the same effects as Delta-9, THC Delta-8 is said to be about two-thirds as potent. While the effects of Delta-8 may not be as intense, it has allowed people to use this compound as a mild treatment for anxiety, pain, insomnia, and more. It’s always important to make sure that you are purchasing from a reputable company that always supplies 3rd Party Testing – don’t always trust a label – make sure the lab reports match! In addition, people who live in areas where THC Delta-9 is illegal often use Delta-8 as a way to experience the benefits of cannabis. This is because Delta-8 is derived from hemp rather than marijuana, making it a legal compound in some states. This newly popular cannabinoid can be a great option for people looking to dip their toes into the psychoactive effects of THC. It’s a good idea to start with a small dose, to make sure you feel comfortable.
CBN, short for cannabinol, is another non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant. This cannabinoid has an interesting history that dates back hundreds of years. CBN was the first cannabinoid to be reduced to its pure form in 1896, and it was thought for years that CBN was responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. It was later proven that CBN is actually an oxidation product of THC, meaning the THC can convert to CBN when exposed to light and heat. This is why you should always store cannabinoids (in all forms) in cool, dark areas in order to maintain potency. In terms of its benefits, CBN can produce highly relaxing effects and has also been known to produce anti-inflammatory effects and even stimulate appetite. You will soon start noticing more CBD products with CBN in the formulas – as there has been more research and awareness lately.
One of the lesser-known but still important cannabis compounds is cannabigerol or CBG. CBG is most commonly found in younger cannabis plants, as it converts to other compounds when the plant develops. This cannabinoid has recently made headlines due to its significant therapeutic potential. Like CBD, CBG has been shown to relieve pain and inflammation without any intoxicating effects. There is also research suggesting that CBG may possess anti-bacterial properties and may even be able to slow the growth of cancer cells. Unfortunately, CBG is typically found in extremely small quantities, typically making up only 1% of a strain’s chemical profile. This means that CBG products tend to be expensive and difficult to find. Luckily, here at SYZYGY, we will be launching our CBD + CBN + CBG Tinctures with active botanicals in September 2021!
Despite its relative obscurity, cannabichromene (CBC) is a very important cannabinoid when it comes to medical research. CBC is a non-psychoactive compound, and this is due to its poor ability to bind to the brain’s cannabinoid receptors. CBC does, however, bind with other receptors in the body that are linked to pain perception and can trigger the release of pain-relieving chemicals. In addition to pain management, research also demonstrates CBC’s ability to slow tumor growth and promote healthy brain function. When used together, CBC may even be able to boost the effects and benefits of other Cannabinoids – what’s known as the entourage effect. Although it may not get much attention (yet), this cannabinoid should definitely be on your radar. It’s definitely on ours!
Cannabichromevarinic acid, or CBCVA, is an acidic cannabinoid and like CBG, the cannabis plant contains very little amounts of CBCVA. What we do know is that, when heated, CBCVA converts to a neutral version of itself called cannabichromevarin (CBCV). Little is known about CBCV, but the similarity to the chemical structure of CBC suggests that the two cannabinoids may share similar effects. This means that CBCV may be a helpful, non-psychoactive way to treat conditions like pain, insomnia, depression, and more. Interestingly, the FDA recently approved an anticonvulsant drug for infants that lists CBCV as one of the main ingredients. Until more research into this cannabinoid is done, the full therapeutic powers of CBCVA remain a mystery.
As the cannabis plant matures, one of the first compounds it produces is cannabigerovarinic acid, or CBGVA. While you may not have heard of CBGVA, this cannabinoid boasts some pretty impressive qualities. CBGVA is known as a “stem cell” cannabinoid due to its ability to convert to different cannabinoids depending on which enzymes it is exposed to. Many cannabis experts even refer to this compound as “the mother of all cannabinoids.” This unique ability has made CBGVA a target of interest for researchers looking into the medicinal value of various cannabinoids. A few studies suggest that CBGV, a product of CBGVA, may offer anti-inflammatory as well as cancer-fighting properties. Like other minor cannabinoids, CBGVA may also help boost the effects of THC. As of now the only way to purchase CBGVA (reputably) is in bulk, and experts don’t really recommend consuming this compound by itself. In the future, it is more likely that this compound will be used with other cannabinoids rather than being used on its own.
If the acronym looks familiar, that’s because it is. CBDA, short for cannabidiolic acid, acts as the precursor for CBD formation. CBDA converts to CBD either through exposure to heat or if the plant is left to sit at room temperature for a long period of time. In recent years, this cannabinoid has proven to be more than just a stepping stone for CBD production. It was originally thought that CBDA did not produce any effects since it doesn’t interact with the endocannabinoid system in the same way as other cannabinoids. However, recent research has found that CBDA possesses prominent anti-inflammatory properties and is linked to lower anxiety and reduced nausea.
Last but certainly not least on our list is tetrahydrocannabivarin, or THCVA. As the name suggests, THCVA shares a similar chemical structure to THC, and it can produce psychoactive sensations. This compound offers a unique range of therapeutic benefits and can be used to treat a variety of medical conditions. In contrast to THC, THCVA has been shown to actually decrease appetite, which can make it a useful tool for those struggling with eating disorders. In addition, THCVA has also been shown to be effective in treating panic attacks, diabetes, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Most cannabis strains contain minimal amounts of THCVA, but finding a THCVA-heavy strain isn’t difficult if you know where to look. Popular THCVA strains include Jack the Ripper, Durban Poison, and Red Congolese. While research into this compound is still growing, it’s safe to say THCVA is a cannabinoid you might want to keep an eye on.
Cannabinoids come in many different shapes and sizes, and each one has its own unique set of effects and benefits. Whether you’re new to cannabis or you’re a pro – we’re here to help you find what you’re looking for (or not looking for). At SYZYGY, we believe in harnessing the healing properties of cannabinoids to help improve your health and wellness like never before. Explore all of our amazing products today and start embracing a new, connected quality of life with your Mind, Body, and World.