The Cannabis family of plants is the host to hundreds of compounds known as cannabinoids. The most well-known cannabinoids are the major cannabinoids: THC and CBD. That binary breakdown, however, can cause some confusion when people begin to hear terms like “CBG”, “CBN”, and “Delta-8”. Here is a little more about common cannabinoid compounds and how it fits into plant wellness plans and availability.
But first, an important overview:
It is important to remember that Cannabis is an entire plant family. Inside this plant family are thousands of genetic variants and possibilities with them. High THC Cannabis is commonly referred to as “Marijuana” and is only available in select states. High CBD Cannabis is commonly referred to as “hemp” which is considered an agricultural commodity thanks to the update to the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill.
Whether hemp or marijuana, there are hundreds of “strains” which are different plant types that have different cannabinoid makeups. Each strain has its own name and “compound profile” which is the concentration or amount of any given cannabinoid type in the crop
Think of it like this: “tomatoes'' is a broad description of a type of plant (like “Cannabis”), and within that type are subtypes like Roma, Beefsteak, and Cherry. All are tomatoes but differentiated by genetic subtypes with makeups. With cannabis, however, the physical differences in the flowers are not as blatant as with tomatoes, but you get the idea.
Just as in fruits and vegetables, seed genetics are varied to create these different plant result options, and – with Cannabis - that is determined by what state the plant and product is being grown or sold in. Throughout the growth, harvest and extraction process, these plants (and their extracts) are repeatedly tested by independent, licensed labs to ensure compliance and consistency. When you read a Certificate of Analysis, you can see the compounds that were tested for and their resulting concentrations.
How these compounds “work”
The Cannabinoid compounds (of whichever source plant) align with different receptors of the Endocannabinoid System. The ECS is in mammals but it wasn’t realized until the 1990’s when a group of scientists trying to figure out how cannabinoids like THC – which are lipids – were making it through barriers in the aqueous environment of the brain. It turns out that the receptors of the ECS were taking them in.
(Fun fact – It was named the Endocannabinoid system because of its alignment with cannabinoids)
While many plants have terpenes and other compounds that we have found to be beneficial, no other plant family on the planet has an entire system that it aligns with – as if made to be so. It is this matching game of different cannabinoid compounds with their receptors (and what those receptors and the system does) that is the basis of cannabinoid wellness.
How the compounds are made
Once the plant has reached the flowering phase, the female plants will do just that. The male plants are discarded, and the flowers of the female plants continue to make these compounds to maturity. These compounds along with their stinky cousins – the terpenes – make the flowers have their distinct texture and scent profiles.
All the compounds begin as an acidic version of themselves. When you read the acronym “CBD”, know that it began as CBD-a, its acidic parent. This goes for all the cannabinoids. THC was THC-a, CBG was CBG-a, and so on. The star at this point is CBG-a as it can convert to CBG, CBD, THC or CBC.
It is not until the heat is applied that the acidic cannabinoid converts into its final form (CBD, CBG, THC) that we can take in with our receptors. This is completed in the extraction process, and the product is tested, again, to know the final forms are compliant and of quality for all that we offer to you.
Now that you know how they grow and how they are received, let us talk more about their individuality. While science and research are continually looking into the possibilities of the hundreds of compounds in the plant family, here are some of the more well-known compounds that are found in hemp CBD products today.
The Major Cannabinoids:
As previously mentioned, the major cannabinoids are THC and CBD. They are called “major cannabinoids” because they occur in the highest concentrations at harvest. In high THC cannabis (marijuana), the psychoactive cannabinoid (Delta-9 THC) can happen in concentrations from 10% - 30%. In high CBD cannabis (hemp), CBD averages 15 – 25% and the Delta-9 THC cannabinoid must be at .3% or less.
When people refer to “THC”, they are usually talking about Delta-9 THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid. Delta-9 THC has a multitude of its own potential benefits but, because it is the compound that causes the “high” response, it is the compound that determines the plant (and its products) availability and legality. Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol – like others in the THC compound group – typically binds to the CB1 receptors of the ECS which are predominantly in the brain and central nervous system.
Cannabidiol is the major cannabinoid in hemp and it binds mostly to the CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system. This is the non-psychoactive major cannabinoid and one of hundreds that are in the plant family that do not cause a “high” response but do have benefits of their own. One of the most studied cannabinoids thanks to its popularity in the marketplace, it has been found to be helpful in several issues that we deal with. It has been agreed to be anti-inflammatory and consumers report enjoying CBD for a multitude of reasons including for issues with relaxation and rest.
The Minor Cannabinoids
So named because they are in much lesser concentrations at harvest, these compounds have benefits and contributions that are anything but small. They contribute to the Entourage Effect and they can help assist the major cannabinoids in whatever job they are trying to accomplish.
Cannabigerol is a minor cannabinoid at harvest but it is a major cannabinoid compound in what it does. As we had mentioned previously, all cannabinoids start as their acidic parent. CBG begins as CBG-a. The interesting and unique thing about CBG-a is that it is the parent to a cascading reaction that can become CBG, CBD, THC or CBC. Therefore, it is often referred to as the “stem cell” or “mother” cannabinoid. Said to be a great helper to the major cannabinoids and their work, CBG can bind to either CB1 or CB2 receptors. Its path and possibilities are a big reason why we have formulations that are sure to add CBG to the blend since, by harvest, it is naturally in smaller numbers.
Cannabichromene is unique in that it does not bind with CB1 or CB2 but to some much more unique cannabinoid receptors in the body known as TRPV1 (the vanilloid receptor 1) and TRPA1 (transient receptor potential ankyrin 1) and when CBC activates them, it encourages the body to release more of its own endocannabinoids (compounds we make) like anandamide which is often referred to as “the bliss molecule” and is often associated with pain perception.
Cannabinol is best known to be the cannabinoid that forms as THC ages. In states that allow marijuana, many will seek out aged or older cannabis flower options to get more of this compound. In hemp, it occurs in smaller levels as well but has some great assistive properties. When coupled with CBD, it works alongside it within the entourage effect, powering up the relaxing power of CBD. While some believed it to do so on its own, it was recently found that it only does this when paired with its major cannabinoid partner.
The latest in talked-about cannabinoid compounds is Delta-8 THC. While like its sibling Delta-9 in many ways, it also has some important key differences. Delta-8 is said to have many of the same benefits that Delta-9 THC carries, and it binds to the CB1 receptors like its sibling does, but it is reported to not have the same psychotropic response that Delta-9 has. A few atomic bond differences separate the two and, since Delta-8 can be made from CBD, it is being found in greater abundance in the marketplace. Be aware, however, consumer reporting has Delta-8 as often having a greater response than CBD in areas of relaxation and new consumers are advised to start with a small amount and not be driving or operating machinery while enjoying Delta-8 products.
These are just a handful of the hundreds of cannabinoid compounds that are found in this amazing family of plants. How they work together and with each person enjoying them depends on the concentrations of the cannabinoids in the end product as well as the ECS of the person enjoying them. No matter what the need or compound, however, it cannot be denied that this plant family is both amazing and truly unique in what it can potentially mean for us.
Representations regarding the efficacy and safety of Kurativ CBD have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease. Consult your physician prior to use if you are pregnant, nursing or using other medications.