Cannabis Science

It’s common knowledge that THC, or, tetrahydrocannabinol is the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis. It’s the part that get’s you “high,” and lots of recreational users know how it works.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is also well known. It’s the compound that has the most medical applications, and the potential medicinal breakthroughs involving it are staggering to say the least. It acts as a pain reliever and an anti-inflammatory, and could potentially replace a variety of synthetic drugs.  But did you know that there are other cannabinoids?

There are many articles that cover THC and CBD in depth. This guide below serves highlight the potential benefits of some lesser-known cannabinoids and why they are equally important.

CBN or Cannabinol

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A molecule of CBN. Courtesy:

CBN has started to gain more attention recently mostly because it has shown to help promote sleep. Users report the sedative effects of CBN, and early studies suggest that CBN may aid in restful sleep while also having little to no psychoactive effects. This has huge implications as CBN could replace harmful and addictive sleep aids, without the anxiety or fear of getting “high.” Look for CBN to continue to gain popularity.

CBG or Cannabigerol

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A molecule of CBG. Courtesy:

Although research is still limited, CBG remains one of the most intriguing and coveted cannabinoids. It seems to “adapt” more, almost like the regulator of cannabinoids, controlling the “entourage effect” in your body. This is because it acts as an antagonist to CB1 receptors found the in the brain. The implication is that this can help “block” the THC and reduce the psychoactive effect significantly. It adapts, however, to CB2 receptors found mostly in the gut. Studies suggest anti-inflammatory properties, most notably in helping IBS and glaucoma. CBG is rapidly gaining recognition.

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CBC or Cannabichromene

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A molecule of CBC. Courtesy:

CBC has long been a sort of black sheep to the cannabinoid family, in that it was thought to have little to no effect. Although its reputation may not be stellar, studies from prominent labs seem to suggest there may be hope after all, especially in terms of pain relief and potentially tumor size reduction. The implications for cancer research are thus of utmost importance. CBC inhibits the uptake of anandamide, a naturally produced endocannabinoid, which allows it to stay in the bloodstream longer. This might explain the anti-proliferation potential. CBC may also work well in terms of the “entourage effect” in conjunction with other cannabinoids where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

CBG-A or Cannabigerolic Acid

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The snythenization pathway of CBG, which CBG-A is a precursor. Courtesy:

CBG-A is a primary cannabinoid and it is what makes the cannabis plant special and unique. It appears to be the precursor to the three major branches of cannabinoids: tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THC-A), cannabidiolic acid (CBD-A), and cannabichromenic acid (CBC-A) although the relation between CBG-A and CBC-A remains murky. Most strains that are not high in CBG-A will typically convert it to CBDA and THC-A. However, if a strain is high in CBG-A (such as many hemp strains), then smoking it would cause the CBG-A to change to CBG.


The cannabis plant has many cannabinoid compounds and they all deserve to be studied. The potential medicinal breakthroughs for cancer and anti-inflammation alone are impressive. It is important to remember that even though these compounds all vary, they also work synergistically in what is called the entourage effect. As science and research evolves, we will be able to work with these compounds both in isolation and in unison and achieve unprecedented medical, scientific, therapeutic, and energetic breakthroughs.

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