When it comes to cannabinoids, most people are only aware of two acronyms- CBD and THC.
However, the list of cannabinoids isn’t as narrow as people think. There are over 85 confirmed cannabinoids, while some sources, including Wikipedia, put the count to over 110.
In this post, we are going to delve a little deeper and explore some lesser-known cannabinoids, which, if researched well in the coming years, may open a gateway to curing a number of diseases/conditions.
First things first, for people who are not acquainted with the term cannabinoids: cannabinoids, or technically phytocannabinoids, are basically the chemicals found in the cannabis plant.
Research has shown that cannabinoids from cannabis interact directly and indirectly with receptors on the human endocannabinoid system and promote stability and health. This is the reason behind the rage for Cannabidiol (CBD) products of late. From food and drinks to health supplements and medicines, CBD is everywhere (if not yet, will surely be soon!) because it won’t get you high and promote health at the same time.
Given below are a few lesser-known cannabinoids that each individual should be aware of:
CBDA (Cannabidiolic acid)
CBDA is the acidic parent of CBD. In the harvested plant, the former converts into latter when exposed to heat and sunlight.
CBDA is non-psychoactive in nature, that is, it doesn’t cause a high.
It is known for reducing nausea and inflammation, and fighting tumor and cancer cells.
THCA (Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid)
As you might have already guessed, THCA is the acidic parent of THC. Through the abbreviation, it may seem that THC is psychoactive but, in reality, it isn’t.
You obtain THC when the acidic parent in the harvested plant is exposed to sunlight and, of course, heat.THCA works best against nausea, seizures and muscle spasms.
CBN was one of the first cannabinoids to be discovered. However, getting hold of it isn’t as easy as procuring THC or CBD. Why? Because CBN is the oxidized variant of THC – when THC “breaks down”, CBN is born!
Consider, for instance, if you find 30% THC in a dried flower, don’t be surprised if the CBN present in the same sample is as low as 1%.
This cannabinoid is known to be particularly useful for reducing pain, aiding sleep and treating muscle spasms. Notably, a half dose of CBN can be as effective as a full- dose of pharmaceutical-grade diazepam, and that too with no intoxicating effects.
CBGA (Cannabigerol acid)
If THCA and CBD are parents then CBGA is the grandparent! In other words, CBGA is basically the precursor molecule that turns into THCA and CBDA as the plant grows. Thus, it is found only in trace amounts in the mature plant.
As the plant reaches the harvest stage, the remaining CBGA turns into CBG, which brings us to our next cannabinoid……
A number of studies have hinted that CBG is found in higher amounts in hemp plants as compared to cannabis. This could be because hemp was bred in such a way that it was not supposed to turn into THC and CBD, while cannabis was supposed to do exactly the opposite.
Just like CBN, getting hold of CBG is tough as it is usually present in noticeable quantities only during the early stages of a plant’s life-cycle.
CBG can be put to work as an anti-depressant, anti-fungal, antibiotic, muscle relaxant, a stimulant for appetite, bone growth, and an inhibitor for cancer cells and blood pressure. Since CBG can treat so many conditions, researchers hope to make a huge breakthrough with CBG, in the future.
The best part about this cannabinoid discovered in the year 1966 is that it binds with the receptors that ‘accept’ pain, but doesn’t make any connection with the CB1 receptors in the brain. So it will kill even the worst of pain without getting you high!
However, CBC isn’t much popular at the moment as a lot of research still needs to be done in order to put an approval stamp on its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.
The research done so far suggests that CBC may help keep breast cancer at bay as it keeps Anandamide – an endocannabinoid in the human body known to fight cancer – in the bloodstream for a longer period of time.
Since CBC is not a major cannabinoid, extracting it in desired quantities is the hard, rather very hard part.
THCV is indeed psychoactive in nature, but the effects are less intense than THC. The cannabinoid is best-known for its appetite-suppressing qualities; thus it can prove beneficial when it comes to losing excess weight.
What about other cannabinoids?
There are a number of reasons why we do not have much concrete research available at the moment on other minor cannabinoids:
- Until recently, cannabis was illegal in many US states (and is still federally illegal), so it wasn’t easy for research centers to get hold of illegal items, even for the purpose of research.
- Many minor cannabinoids can be extracted only in the growing stages of the plant, as they turn into THC and CBD when the plant reaches maturity and is ready for harvest.
- Extraction feasibility and cost are two more issues that have stalled the research for long.
In order to get better and faster research results, studies should be conducted globally and not just be limited to the US, Canada and the UK. The more, wider the research on a number of local varieties, the faster could the medical world move in bringing relief to billions of people across the globe.