In its simplest explanation a cannabinoid is a molecule or chemical component of the cannabis plant. You have heard of CBD and THC but there have been over 100 unique cannabinoids identified and 86 cannabinoids have been characterized in cannabis.
The cannabis plant manufactures a wide variety of chemicals / cannabinoids. This post will focus on the unique molecules that the plant produces that cause the most impactful response on the human body and mammalian systems – the cannabinoids.
Cannabinoids are the chemicals made by Cannabis sativa that interact with cannabinoid receptors in the body. Through a series of steps, the first cannabinoid produced by the plant is cannabigerolic acid otherwise known as CBGA. CBGA has been referred to as a “stem cell” cannabinoid due to its ability to transform into three of the more well-known “families” of chemicals produced by the plant. The plant uses specific proteins, called enzymes, to transform CBGA into cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), cannachromenic acid (CBCA), and tetrahydrocannabinoic acid (THCA). With the application of heat, provided by sunlight, each of these is then be converted into the more familiar cannabidiol (CBD), cannabichromene (CBC), and delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Each of these acid and non-acid molecules can be further modified several ways to create many additional naturally occurring cannabinoids. Although THC is famously the chemical that creates the “high” associated with consuming cannabis, interestingly, the vast majority of cannabinoids aren’t psychoactive.
Rare cannabinoids other than CBD and THC are just beginning to make their way into the marketplace as science is discovering more ways that these can be used in health and wellness applications. Due to the evolving legal and regulatory environment in jurisdictions around the world, the consumption and use rare cannabinoids, will soon be as commonplace as CBD and THC.
This blog will continue to focus on the cannabinoid industry as a whole and we look to provide information and insight based on reader input. If you have any specific questions, please contact us or reply to this post.