What to Know About the Different Types of Cannabinoids

These days, it seems like everyone is talking about marijuana. Mainly about the effects of THC and CBD. But just what exactly are CBD and THC?

Both THC and CBD are cannabinoids. A cannabinoid is a chemical compound that comes from the cannabis Sativa plant. There are hundreds of different types of cannabinoids.

While THC and CBD are the two most prominent and potent cannabinoids, there are many other cannabinoids that are worth knowing about.

By understanding what these different types of cannabinoids are, you’ll be able to get the most out of your cannabis products.

Are you interested in learning more? If so, then keep on reading and we’ll walk you through what cannabinoids are and how they interact with the human body’s endocannabinoid system.

What Is the Endocannabinoid System?

Before we can go over what the different types of cannabinoids are, we first have to talk about the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Cannabinoids enter the body and then interact with the ECS. This is what allows cannabinoids to affects our bodies and our minds.

The ECS is a complex and wide-ranging system that runs throughout the human body. The ECS was first discovered several years ago by a team of scientists who were trying to understand how THC impacts the brain.

To this day, we’re still trying to understand more about the ECS and how it works. With that said, we do know of some processes and functions that the ECS has control over. These processes and functions include:

  • fertility and reproduction
  • memory
  • appetite
  • sleep
  • mood

The ECS is active in your body, whether or not you use marijuana.

How the Endocannabinoid System Works

The ECS is made up of receptors, enzymes, and endocannabinoids. Also known as endogenous cannabinoids, an endocannabinoid is a chemical compound that is very similar to the cannabinoids that are produced in the marijuana plant.

An endocannabinoid is naturally produced in the human body. 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG) and Anandamide (AEA) are the two main types of endocannabinoids that scientists know of. These chemical compounds are designed to keep the internal processes in our bodies running properly.

The human body makes these compounds on an as-needed basis. Endocannabinoid receptors can be found throughout the body. When an endocannabinoid binds to a receptor, a signal is sent to the ECS that an action needs to be taken.

The two main ECS receptors are known as CB1 and CB2.

While CB1 receptors are mainly located in the CNS (central nervous system), CB2 receptors can be found in immune cells in the peripheral nervous system. The peripheral nervous system consists of the limbs and extremities.

An endocannabinoid can bind to either CB1 or CB2 receptors. The kind of action that occurs will depend on which kind of endocannabinoid binds with which kind of receptor.

After an endocannabinoid carries out a function, it needs to be broken down. This is what the enzymes are for.

The two primary enzymes that break down endocannabinoids are monoacylglycerol acid lipase and fatty acid amide hydrolase. The monoacylglycerol acid lipase breaks down 2-AG. The fatty acid amide hydrolase breaks down AEA.

What Are the Functions of the Endocannabinoid System?

There is still a lot that scientists are trying to learn about the endocannabinoid system. While we still don’t know everything about the ECS, there are some functions and processes that we do know the ECS is able to manipulate. These processes include:

  • chronic pain
  • inflammation and other immune system responses
  • learning and memory
  • sleep
  • cardiovascular system function
  • liver function
  • stress
  • digestion and appetite
  • metabolism
  • mood
  • motor control
  • muscle formation
  • bone remodeling and growth
  • reproductive system function
  • skin and nerve function

Each of these processes has to do with the process of homeostasis. This is when the human body works to achieve internal balance. Scientists are under the impression that the point of the ECS is to create homeostasis inside the body.

The Different Types of Cannabinoids

As we mentioned earlier, there are many, many different types of cannabinoids out there. Below, we will go over the most common and popular types of cannabinoids. It should be noted that aside from CBD and THC, there is very little known about the other kinds of cannabinoids.

It is thanks to the fact that cannabinoids are able to interact with the endocannabinoid system that we experience psychological and therapeutic effects from the marijuana plant.

1. Delta 9 THC

Delta 9 THC, also known as ╬ö9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is the most prominent cannabinoid found in the marijuana plant. This is the compound that is responsible for the classic “marijuana high.”

THC is able to make a person feel high because it interacts with the CB1 receptors in the central nervous system.

It should be noted that there are endocannabinoids that also interact with CB1 receptors. So if that’s the case, then how come we aren’t high all of the time?

There are a couple of reasons for this. First, THC does not interact with ECS receptors in the exact same way that endocannabinoids do.

Also, metabolic enzymes break down endocannabinoids very quickly. This isn’t the case for THC. Enzymes are not as effective at breaking down THC so the chemical compound is able to stay in the brain for a longer amount of time.

The Effects of Delta 9 THC on the Body

When you ingest THC, the cannabinoid is able to cause the release of dopamine by stimulating brain cells. This leads to feelings of euphoria in users.

When you consume THC, the hippocampus also changes how it processes new information. This is the part of the brain that makes new memories.

The effects of THC can last for a few hours. You also might experience delusions and hallucinations.

Some other side effects of THC can include:

  • pain relief
  • problems remembering short-term memories
  • elation
  • relaxation
  • sedation
  • fast heart rate
  • anxiety

The negative effects of THC can be reduced when combined with other cannabinoids.

2. CBD

CBD, also known as Cannabidiol, is another prominent cannabinoid. While THC is mostly present in marijuana, CBD is more concentrated in hemp.

Hemp and marijuana are varieties of the cannabis Sativa plant. To be legally considered hemp, a cannabis Sativa plant cannot have a higher concentration of THC than 0.3 percent.

CBD has the ability to interact with both CB1 and CB2 receptors. It also makes its way to these receptors by taking multiple pathways at the same time. This is one of the reasons why CBD has unique therapeutic effects.

CBD also has a very interesting relationship with THC. At a molecular level, THC acts in the opposite way of CBD. THC is essentially an agonist of CB1 receptors while CBD is an inverse agonist.

When these two cannabinoids are taken together, CBD can actually minimize the negative side effects of THC and lead to a less powerful high. It is able to do this by stimulating an inverse response from CB1 receptors.

It is worth pointing out that CBD will not get you high. While CBD might be considered to be psychoactive, it is also nonintoxicating. This means that you won’t end up with any paranoid or euphoric feelings after taking CBD.

Your mind will not be altered in any way and you won’t feel sedated.

Health Benefits of CBD

While CBD isn’t a panacea for all health issues, it can certainly be used to treat some ailments. CBD is best known for treating epilepsy and seizures. Because CBD uses multiple pathways to reach receptors, it is able to affect parts of the brain that traditional epilepsy medications cannot.

CBD is also known to have anti-inflammatory properties and can relieve anxiety.

3. Delta 8 THC

Delta 8 is very similar to delta 9 THC. The biggest difference between these two cannabinoids has to do with where the location of a particular atomic bond is. When you have delta 8 THC, there’s a double bond on the eight carbon in the chain, hence why it is called delta 8 THC.

As you might have guessed, the double bond for delta 9 THC takes place on the ninth carbon in the chain. It is assumed that, because of this difference, delta 8 THC has similar effects to delta 9 THC except it is less potent.

When you consume delta 8 THC, you are likely to experience the same effects as if you took delta 9 THC but with less power. This means that you’re less likely to feel anxiety or paranoia when you ingest delta 8 THC. Because of this, many people refer to delta 8 THC as “weed light.”

When you take delta 8 THC, you will still get feelings of euphoria and you’re appetite will be stimulated. It can also excite or calm you depending on the terpene profile and other factors.

Of course, you want to make sure that you get your delta 8 THC products from a reputable source, such as 3chi.com.

4. THCa

THCa, short for tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, is what exists before THC is decarboxylated or activated by heat. THC doesn’t actually exist in the marijuana plant. Instead, THCa does.

THCa is non-intoxicating and it’s the most prominent cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. It has anti-inflammatory properties that make it great for treating epilepsy and arthritis. It can also treat malignant cells in tumors.

Because of this, you won’t get high if you were to just eat a raw marijuana plant. Instead, you need to heat it up in order to create THC. When you smoke marijuana, the heat automatically turns THCa into THC.

If you were to make marijuana edibles and wanted to get high, you would first need to decarb the plant.

THCa is also effective at treating neural conditions like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.


THCV, also known as tetrahydrocannabivarin, is a psychoactive cannabinoid. It’s mainly found in Sativa strains of cannabis. This compound is viewed as the Aderol of cannabis.

This cannabinoid is known for suppressing appetite, boosting focus, and increasing energy. Oddly enough, it’s also effective at reducing anxiety and can even prevent heart attacks. This makes it useful for people who are suffering from PTSD.

6. CBDa

Also known as cannabidiolic acid, CBDa is like the THCA of CBD. CBDa, THCa, and regular non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) all have the ability to inhibit the COX-2 receptor.

While you may know that CBD is really good at reducing inflammation, you should also know that CBDa is even better at reducing inflammation in the body.

CBDa can also treat nausea and is generally more powerful than CBD.

7. CBN

CBN is short for cannabinol and it is known as the sleepy time cannabinoid. When THCa breaks down over time, it creates CBD. Usually, there isn’t any CBN present in fresh cannabis.

CBN is slightly psychoactive and is used as a sedative. It also has certain properties that can improve the immune system and help with inflammation and pain related to Crohn’s disease and arthritis.

The Importance of Knowing About the Different Types of Cannabinoids

Hopefully, after reading the above article, you now feel that you have a better understanding of the different types of cannabinoids out there. As we can see, there is a lot more to the cannabis plant than just THC and CBD. And by knowing all that this plant can offer us, we can make smarter and more confident decisions about our health.

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