If you’re interested in hemp-derived products and marvel at their multiple health benefits, then you’re probably a bit stumped and gob-smacked by the insane amount of acronyms and abbreviations popping out of the woodwork: CBD, CBDA, CBN, CBG, CBV, and, even, CBDV. The market isn’t as simple or easy to navigate as you were led to believe. There’s a bit of complexity to it. In this article, we’re going to give you the full scoop on what cannabinoids are. Not only that, we’re going to tell you the differences between each one — and how each cannabinoid reacts to your body.
What Are Cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids were discovered and later isolated by Israeli researchers in the late 1950s, they are biological compounds found in the glands of the cannabis plant. These natural compounds are highly sought due to their various medical effects, and their wide range of therapeutic properties. Cannabinoids also help the body process cannabis much more efficiently and dynamically — this is called the “entourage effect” since they sort of escort and support cannabis waltz down your system.
As of 2021, researchers have uncovered more than 110 Cannabinoids, and as science progresses and our technology gets more exact there’s a good chance that is just the tip of the iceberg. One of the most interesting things about cannabis plants is the complex molecular framework and the fact that it always has a new secret to unveil.
Classes of Cannabinoids
Cannabinoids are classified into the following subcategories:
- Major cannabinoids: Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
- Minor cannabinoids: Cannabichromene (CBC), Cannabigerol (CBG), Cannabinol (CBN), Cannabidiol (CBDL).
- Other cannabinoids: Cannabielsoin (CBE), Cannabitriol (CBT), Cannabicyclol (CBL).
These Cannabinoids interact with your primary regulatory network (your endocannabinoid system), a highway of biological branches that interconnect vital parts of your body. The way Cannabinoids act is that they attach themselves to the surface area of cells, where their receptors are found, and exercise pressure on that key area — part of the effect of the Cannabinoids depends on how that area is connected to the brain. For example, if they bind to the limbic system, they can have a rather intense effect on cognition, psychomotor performance, memory, pain signal, etc.
Main Differences Between Cannabinoids
The main difference between these compounds – Cannabinoids – depends on how active they are. Cannabinoids are all psychoactive compounds and depending on their molecular structure, and how the plant produces them, it will either have some amount of intoxication or not. Why? In many cases, that high, that hallucinatory effect sometimes pinned to hemp, is really the plant’s defense mechanism; it’s how in a moment of stress it tries to ward off predators — by poisoning them.
CBD and CBG are harmless in that regard, they can’t induce intoxication. CBDL, CBN, THC, and other Cannabinoids, meanwhile, show different levels of intoxicating psychoactive compounds.
What is CBD?
CBD is the abbreviation of Cannabidiol. This is the second-largest Cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, this compound doesn’t produce any intoxicating effect. No sensation of getting high, hallucinations, paranoia, etc. This basically means that you can get all the health benefits of the cannabis plants without any of the Cheech and Chong aftereffects. CBD is incredibly safe and can even be used before going to work and even while driving a car.
It’s also an incredibly versatile compound that can be infused into dummies, capsules, edibles, creams, and oils. Of all the Cannabinoids, CBD is the best-reserved, and scientists have uncovered a wealth of medical uses for it, including:
- Pain management
- Nausea treatment
- Insomnia treatment
- Physical discomfort treatment
- Anxiety and stress-related problems
- Nausea and vomiting
- Seizures and convulsion
- Skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and rashes
What is CBDA?
Better known as cannabidiol acid, CBDA is a Cannabinoid that is found in the stems, flowers, and leaves of the cannabis plant. CBDA is the precursor of CBD — by activating it and making the plant secrete it through the application of heat, chemists can obtain CBD, all they have to do is remove the A (acid) from the chemical structure.
This compound isn’t as researched as its brother, CBD. Nonetheless, scientists have discovered its efficacy in the treatment of inflammation, nausea, and certain types of cancer.
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What is CBN?
CBN stands for cannabinol. These were the first Cannabinoids isolated and synthesized as a byproduct of THC. When the former is exposed to oxygen or heat it converts to CBN. During this conversion an amount of its intoxicating properties was burned off. This makes CBN much less psychoactive than THC.
CBN is a powerful sedative and has effects that can be compared to diazepam. The compound also enhances sleep cycles and prolongs them.
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What is CBG?
CBG is an abbreviation of cannabigerol — it is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid. Exposure to light and heat, of other Cannabinoids, transforms the formers into this compound. The vast majority of cannabis plants only contain 1% of CBG and it’s a great propeller of the entourage effect since it accelerates the effects of Cannabinoids in the body.
CBG is generally effective against anxiety, depression, mood swings, for supporting sleep, appetite, and research has uncovered it can also help in glaucoma and cancer treatment.
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What is CBC?
CBC stands for cannabichromene. Like CBD, it is synthesized when acid for CBDA is broken down by exposure to light or heat. Like other compounds of this nature, it is non-intoxicating and has several medical applications.
CBC can be used to alleviate pain and is employed in the treatment of conditions like osteoarthritis. It is also, although it still hasn’t been proven to an exact degree, a potential anti-cancer agent.
What is CBDV?
Also known as cannabidivarin, CBDV, is almost identical to CBD. It’s a compound that’s still in preliminary studies but it has shown remarkable medical benefits, including, anticonvulsant properties, as well as antiepileptic properties. Scientists believe it can be used to treat patients with post-injury tremors, epilepsy, seizures, and Parkinson’s Disease.