The 10 Main Cannabinoids and What to Use Them For

There’s more to cannabis than THC and CBD. In fact, there are hundreds of other cannabinoids we’re just now discovering, each with their own solution to a wide range of issues from sleep deprivation to acne to athlete’s foot. With these new discoveries in hand, brands are now custom mixing cannabinoids to deliver a better targeted and more efficient product.
For example, the CBD tincture you use to help you sleep probably has more than just CBD in it (as long as it’s not an isolate, read up that on here). Instead, it should also have CBN, a cannabinoid known for its sedative qualities. When combined together, these cannabinoids use the “entourage effect” to help each other produce a more effective, targeted result.
In the near future, you’ll start to hear more about these mysterious cannabinoids as researchers continue to uncover more about their benefits. To get you there faster, we’ve put together a cheat sheet of the most promising cannabinoids you should know about. Take note, ask questions, and shop wisely.

1. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)

Psychoactive effects: Hallucinogen
Main Benefit: Mental high to alleviate pain
As the most commonly known cannabinoid in the plant, THC is the reason people get high when consuming. It’s biggest claim to fame is its hallucinogenic effects, but THC is also proving beneficial for pain from major illnesses like cancer and chemotherapy.

2. CBD (Cannabidiol)

Psychoactive effects: None
Main Benefit: Mood-stabilizer, Anti-inflammation, Pain Reliever (sorry, we couldn’t pick just one benefit!)
Quickly growing in popularity and only second in prominence behind THC, CBD is the compound known for its medicinal qualities. We like CBD as a mood stabilizer as it calms the mind and levels out anxiety’s highs and depression’s lows. CBD’s anti-inflammatory qualities hint at skin care benefits, specifically for fighting wrinkles and acne. Subjectively, some find that the anti-inflammatory effects help the liver after a long night of drinking. Lastly, CBD’s pain-relieving qualities have made it a favorite for athletes with sore muscles or those who are dealing with muscle and joint pain. As a health and wellness catch-all for so many common ailments, a growing number of supporters are beginning to add CBD to their daily multivitamin routine.

3. CBN (Cannabinol)

Psychoactive effects: None
Main Benefit: Sedative for Sleep
Unlike THC and CBD, CBN is not a cannabinoid directly synthesized by cannabis. Instead, it’s a result of THC gradually breaking down with time and exposure. Its benefits include pain relief, anti-inflammatory, appetite stimulant, anti-convulsive, antibacterial, and growth of bone cells. Above all else, CBN is known for its sedative effect and sleep aid capabilities, with Steep Hill Labs reporting that 5mg of CBN is as effective as 10mg of diazepam (a pharmaceutical sedative).
If you’re shopping for cannabis as a sleep aid, you’ll want to make sure the product you’re choosing has at least a small amount of CBN for the other cannabinoids (like CBD) to work with.

4. CBC (Cannabichromene)

Psychoactive effects: None
Main Benefit: Alleviates Pain and Inflammation
After the plant is exposed to heat or ultraviolet light, it will breakdown into CBC, one of the main cannabinoids prominent in medical research. Doctors are excited about CBC for its pain and inflammation qualities – it’s considered a potential cancer fighter, a positive effect on brain cells, and can work in entourage with THC and CBD to fight depression. CBC is also showing promising results in fighting acne by reducing inflammatory results of excess sebum production and sebaceous glands. Look out for CBC in lotions and skincare products.

5. CBDV (Cannabidivarin)

Psychoactive effects: None
Main Benefit: Reduces Nausea
CBDV is often present in CBD products. Like many other cannabinoids, CBDV has the ability to interact with pain receptors and help limit pain and inflammation. From the medical side, researchers are most excited about CBDV’s ability to potentially reduce nausea. They also believe CBDV can reduce the length and strength of seizures in patients.

6. CBG (Cannabigerol)

Psychoactive effects: none
Main Benefit: Treats Physiological Issues
Here’s an interesting fact: CBG is the chemical parent of THC and CBD, meaning they start from CBG. While generally appearing in low levels, CBG can be helpful with with physiological system concerns including eye issues like glaucoma, inflammatory bowel disease, Huntington’s disease, cancer, skin infections, appetite issues, and bladder dysfunction. For more common uses, CBG is being explored as an analgesic, treatment for psoriasis, and an antidepressant.

7. THCA (Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid)

Psychoactive effects: None
Main Benefit: Anti-inflammatory
THCA is a non-hallucinogenic compound that appears in cannabis’ raw and uncooked form. When the plant is heated, the THCA is then converted into THC. In this dry form, THCA is non-psychoactive and medicinal qualities are still being uncovered. Preliminarily, there’s promise that THCA has anti-inflammatory qualities particularly useful for arthritis and lupus and anti-emetic properties to help treat nausea and appetite loss. Very early research is also showing hints at treatments for insomnia, muscle spasms, and pain.

8. CBDA (Cannabidiolic Acid)

Psychoactive effects: None
Main Benefit: Reduces Nausea and Vomiting
Similar to the relationship of THCA and THC, CBDA is a non-hallucinogenic compound that appears in cannabis’ raw and uncooked form. When heated, CBDA is then converted into CBD. Early studies are showing strong antiemetic qualities of helping to reduce nausea and vomiting. Medical professionals see CBDA as a potential treatment for the side effects of opioid use or chemotherapy.

9. CBGA (Cannabigerolic Acid)

Psychoactive effects: None
Main Benefit: Anti-inflammatory
If THCA and CBDA are the raw, non-heated forms of THC and CBD, CBGA is the chemical parent to them all. Sadly, most research is allocated to CBGA’s children (THC, CBD and the like), and yet CBGA is showing potential for a number of ailments itself. Like many other compounds, CBGA can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain, and may have benefits to cell growth as it relates to cancer.

10. CBCA (Cannabichromenate)

Psychoactive effects: None
Main Benefit: Anti-Fungal
Produced by CBGA in raw plants, CBCA is one of the three main cannabinoid lines and is used to treat fungal infections like athlete’s foot, ringworm, and jock itch. It’s also showing signs of anti-inflammatory benefits that could branch out from anti-fungal purposes but research is still ongoing.
You’ll notice that there’s a running theme among cannabis’ compounds: a strong support for pain relief and anti-inflammation. That said, each cannabinoid has their own unique benefit that can produce better results when combined with other cannabinoids in a strategic way than when isolated.
When shopping for your next cannabis product, have your specific ailment(s) in mind and seek out the cannabinoids above that offer the right targeted benefits. Almost always opt for a non-isolate product labeled either “broad-spectrum” or “full-spectrum.” Above all else, ask questions – every reputable cannabis brand that prides itself on quality should be able to answer basic questions about the makeup and recipe of the products they’re offering. If all else fails, you can ask us.
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Curious about what’s in our mood-stabilizing CBD Gumdrops? Here’s the breakdown from our Certificate of Analysis.

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What is CBN and What are the Benefits of this Cannabinoid?, Leafly
CBGA: The Mother Cannabinoid, WikiLeaf
Cannabinoids 101: CBDA, Apothecarium
What is CBC and What are the Benefits of this Cannabinoid?, Leafly
What is CBDV and what does it do?, High Times
Top 11 Cannabinoids and What They Do, Honest Marijuana
The Top 10 Cannabinoids and How They Help You, CannaInsider
 
 

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