The organic substances known as cannabinoids have grown extraordinarily popular with both medical researchers and the general public in recent years. These substances affect the body and brain by interacting with the body’s own endocannabinoid system, which influences everything from mood and appetite to sleep quality.
If you see products that include multiple cannabinoids instead of just one, you may wonder why they come bundled together or how each of them might improve your quality of life. Take a closer look at the following five cannabinoids commonly included in today’s cannabis products.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) comes in a couple of major variants. Delta-9-THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana plants, binds strongly to specific receptors called CB-1 receptors. Typical effects include sedation, euphoria, and sometimes anxiety or paranoia.
Delta-8-THC occurs in much smaller amounts in marijuana and hemp plants (the latter of which provide a federally-legal source for it and other cannabinoids). This substance develops after THC degrades over time. Since it binds much less strongly with CB-1 receptors, it produces weaker psychoactive effects.
Both delta-8 THC and delta-9 THC have demonstrated impressive potential benefits. Researchers have noted THC’s ability to improve appetite, control nausea, reduce anxiety, and ease inflammatory pain. They may also boost the positive effects of other cannabinoids, a phenomenon called the entourage effect.
Cannabidiol (CBD) products typically contain less than 0.3 percent THC, which makes them legal for sale in many areas that prohibit marijuana. These products don’t cause euphoria because they can’t bind well to endocannabinoid receptors. However, they do bind strongly to serotonin and opioid receptors.
Many people consume CBD to help them manage problems such as anxiety, depression, chronic pain or inflammation (including inflammatory bowel disease), migraines, and seizures. In fact, the FDA has approved an epilepsy drug that includes CBD among its active ingredients.
Cannabichromene (CBC) hasn’t received as much public or scientific attention as CBD, although it shares many similarities with that more popular cannabinoid. Like CBD, it binds only very weakly to CB-1 receptors, making it unable to produce a high. Instead, it binds to other receptors that regulate pain perception.
Despite its relatively low public profile, researchers have performed some studies that indicate CBC’s potential usefulness in treating health challenges. It appears to block both pain and inflammation while protecting brain cells. It also seems to have powerful anti-tumor effects.
Cannabigerol (CBG) commonly finds its way into a variety of cannabinoid products as a trace ingredient, although some full-spectrum products may also feature it as a key additive. This non-intoxicating cannabinoid can provide many of the same benefits as CBD, but it seems particularly good for pain management.
Even tiny amounts of CBG can have a beneficial effect on pain. It appears to help in conditions such as glaucoma, eye pain, and headache pain.
Like other cannabinoids, cannabinol (CBN) boasts analgesic properties that can make it useful for chronic pain management. However, it also appears to have particularly potent sedative properties, at least when compared to other non-THC cannabinoids. This property could make it useful as a sleep aid for some people.
CBN resembles CBC in its apparent ability to fight tumor growth. Research has indicated its effectiveness against a particular type of lung cancer called Lewis carcinoma. Additional research could conceivably lead to its development as an anti-cancer drug. It even seems to show promise as a topical antibiotic.