A guide to common cannabinoids in cannabis

Cannabinoids are similar to chemicals in our own body, called endocannabinoids, neurotransmitters that trigger different effects on the body. Like our own bodily-produced endocannabinoids, the cannabinoids in cannabis— when inhaled, applied or ingested—are able to affect body & mind—increase or suppress appetite, alleviate aches & pains, mitigate stress, among others. THC and CBD are just two of a growing number of known cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. 


THC is the most well-known cannabinoid by far. THC is a clinically proven sleep aid and pain killer and can reduce vomiting and nausea, suppress muscle spasms and stimulate appetite. It also releases dopamine in the brain resulting in euphoria for the user. This side effect is what makes the user feel “high”.


CBD has become almost as well-known as THC. An important distinction however, CBD is non-psychoactive (it won’t make you feel “high”). The therapeutic effects of CBD are more wide ranging than THC. CBD is known to help with pain relief, killing or slowing bacterial growth, and reducing blood sugar levels, vomiting/nausea, seizures/convulsions and inflammation. 


Cannabis needs to be cured, heated or processed to activate the cannabinoid compounds and generate the psychoactive effects we associate with cannabis consumption. This process, first sparked during the drying and curing of freshly harvested cannabis, is called decarboxylation and turns the non-intoxicating THCA found in raw, fresh cannabis into THC. The same is true for all cannabinoids, including CBD, which starts as CBDA in unprocessed, raw cannabis. There are an increasing number of products that use these acidic versions of THC & CBD. Papa & Barkley and Jade Nectar are two brands that produce tinctures featuring THCA & CBDA. THCA is beneficial for people who do not want to experience the psychoactive effects of THC, and is known to help those who suffer from migraines. Preliminary research has shown increased anti-inflammatory properties from CBDA. 


Research into cannabinoids and how they interact with human bodies is broad and ongoing. Exciting developments in identifying and studying lesser known or rare cannabinoids is happening all across the globe. There are currently over 100 known cannabinoids. The following are a couple non-psychoactive cannabinoids you may not have heard of but are included in a growing number of cannabis products. 

CBN is known for being a sleep-aid and useful for insomnia. 

CBG is known for easing stress, reducing anxiety and has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Some have reported CBG helpful in increasing appetite and relaxation.