What Are Cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids, What Are They?

Cannabinoids are compounds found within the cannabis plant.  The most notable cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis.  Cannabidiol (CBD) is another major constituent of the plant. 

There are at least 144 different cannabinoids isolated from cannabis, exhibiting varied effects.  In the growing plant, THC takes the form of Delta 9-THCa (tetrahydrocannabinol acid).  When heat is applied, certain molecules (carboxyl groups) are removed to transform it into the psychoactive form of the compound.  This process is called decarboxylation. 

Cannabinol is one of the most abundant and well-known cannabinoids in the cannabis plant.  Like Delta-9 THC (and all other cannabinoids) CBD exists within the plant in its acidic form, CBDa, and is transformed into CBD through decarboxylation.  CBDs’ claim to fame is its lack of intoxicating effects; CBD does not produce a “high” like THC does.  Minor cannabinoids coexist with THC and CBD in small concentrations within the cannabis plant. 

Most strains have similar THC and CBD profiles, but the minor cannabinoid profiles vary from plant to plant.  The cannabinoid profile of each individual plant is fiercely dependent on its genetics and environmental conditions.  Minor cannabinoids include but are not limited to cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), cannabichromene (CBC), and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCv).