CB1 Receptors: These receptors are present in many areas of the central nervous system, playing an important role in physical sensation, experiences of pain, mood, and appetite, as well as in the domains of memory, sense of time, and sense of temperature.
CB2 Receptors: These receptors are found throughout most of the body, and modulate the body’s immune and inflammatory response. Cannabinoid activity at CB2 receptors produces the bulk of cannabis’ anti-inflammatory activity.
Acid Form: Cannabinoids produced in the cannabis plant are produced as acids. Aging cannabis or exposing it to heat will naturally decarboxylate, or “activate” these chemicals. Although non-psychoactive, these compounds can have tremendous medical potential in their own right!
THC – Easily the most well-known cannabinoid, THC (Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol) delivers a strongly psychoactive experience, inducing a euphoric high replete with the appetite-stimulating, giggle-evoking, and body-heavy effects traditionally associated with cannabis. THC primarily interacts with CB1 receptors, receptors found primarily in the brain and central nervous system, which is what facilitates its cerebral effects. This action helps THC to treat chronic pain, nausea, sleep disorders, and appetite loss. THC is also neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory, which can benefit autoimmune conditions like Crohn’s, Lupus, Alzheimer’s, and Arthritis, to name a few!
THC has been suggested to treat stress and anxiety disorders, as well as depressive mood disorders. While THC can have positive effects on perception of mood and anxiety, its efficacy is currently uncertain, and it’s important to note that THC may exacerbate symptoms in this prone to experiencing anxiety, paranoia, or psychosis. When using THC to alleviate psychiatric symptoms it’s helpful to include CBD in your treatment, and to titrate to the lowest dose possible.
Boiling point: 157 °C (315 °F)
THCA – THCA (Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid) is the acid form of cannabis’ primary psychoactive chemical – THC. Although it doesn’t possess the psychoactivity of THC, THCA seems to exert mild effects on mood and stress, and displays painkilling and nausea-reducing properties. THCA is neuroprotective (protecting and repairing nerve cells) and has shown significant promise treating epilepsy, spasms, and neurodegenerative conditions like Huntington’s Disease and Alzheimer’s.
THCA can be found in raw cannabis, and high amounts can be obtained from juicing raw cannabis plants.
THCA doesn’t really have a boiling point – when exposed to heat, light, and/or oxygen, it rapidly decomposes to form THC.
CBD – CBD (Cannabidiol) has rapidly gained medical credence as research continues to pour out on its benefits. The list is almost too long to fully explore.CBD can bind to but not activate CB1 receptors, meaning is non-psychoactive (it doesn’t produce a euphoric high). In fact, this action can ease the psychoactivity of THC, even helping alleviate the symptoms of a THC overdose. THC and CBD act synergistically – introducing CBD to a THC-dominant regimen can reduce impairment and make the effects of THC more stable and long-lasting; introducing THC to a CBD-dominant regiment can help more CBD get across the brain’s natural barrier, and enhance the sedative, anxiolytic, painkilling, anti-nauseant, and anti-inflammatory effects of CBD.
CBD’s medicinal benefits stem primarily from its interaction with CB2, serotonin, and dopamine receptors, though it displays action at many other receptor locations throughout the body.
CBD’s most promising medical indications include the treatment of cancers, auto-immune diseases, epilepsy, psychiatric conditions (especially thought and mood disorders), chronic pain and inflammation, addiction, and sleep disorders. CBD lowers blood sugar and possibly reduces insulin resistance, and is being studied for the treatment of diabetes.
Boiling point: 160-180 °C (320-356 °F)
CBDA – CBDA is the acid form of CBD, and doesn’t have a lot of research on the books. Early studies have shown some promise in treating nausea, epilepsy, inflammation, and cancer. A pharmaceutical company currently holds a research patent on the potential use of CBDA as an antipsychotic agent.
As with THCA, CBDA doesn’t have a boiling point, instead rapidly decomposing to form CBD.
CBN – CBN (Cannabinol) is mildly psychoactive – about 10x less so than THC. While CBN typically occurs only in only trace amounts in the cannabis plant, extended aging or prolonged exposure to heat will slowly degrade THC, forming CBN. CBN appears to be the most sedative known cannabinoid, especially in harmony with other cannabinoids, and is useful in strains and formulations targeting sleep issues.
CBN is anti-pyretic, meaning it can prevent or alleviate the symptoms of a fever. It also decreases pressure in the eyes, making it a potentially viable treatment for glaucoma.
Boiling point: 185 °C (365 °F)
CBC – CBC (Cannabichromene) is another non-psychoactive medicinal cannabinoid. Even without powerful cerebral effects, CBC has been demonstrated in some studies to be as or more effective than CBD in treating stress and anxiety. Following the trend, CBC is anti-microbial – anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacteria – and possesses a profound anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative agent (inhibiting the growth and spread of tumours).
One of the particularly exciting properties CBC exhibits is neurogenesis, meaning it stimulates the growth of new neurons in the central nervous system! In theory, this could help CBC treat neurodegenerative conditions and brain damage, even potentially reversing memory loss caused by such conditions.
One more unique characteristic of CBC – it’s been shown to stimulate bone growth, and preserve bone density!
Boiling point: 220°C (428 °F)
CBG – CBG (Cannabigerol) has very similar properties to CBC – it is non-psychoactive, relaxing, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory, and supports the healthy growth and maintenance of bones. CBG is also a neurogenic agent (promotes the growth of new nerve cells).
In one study, CBG displayed even greater efficacy than CBD in treating neuropathic pain, and has been shown to treat a variety of inflammatory bowel conditions in animal studies. These qualities suggest it may have a similar mechanism of action to CBD, and the two substances may benefit from being co-administered.
Boiling point: 52°C (125°F)
For more information please check out our Advanced Cannabinoid Guide.