The cannabis industry is one of infancy and has been largely mysterious for the past decades. With the passing of the Farm Bill in 2018, Americans are more invested in cannabis than ever before, but the terminology and processes that surround this plant are no less confusing. This article addresses this confusion by dissecting the differences between the cannabinoids that exist within the hemp plant.
Before we dive into a comparison of the most common Cannabinoids, we will first address a pressing question: What are Cannabinoids?
What are Cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds that are secreted by the cannabis plant. These chemicals achieve their medicinal power by imitating endocannabinoids, compounds that our bodies naturally produce that regulate various aspects of our health by mediating communication between our cells. The cannabis plant contains over 100 known cannabinoids, and can be extracted and used to treat a myriad of ailments.
Of these hundreds of cannabinoids, the most commonly encountered and most prevalent by weight within the cannabis plant are THC, CBD, CBN, and CBG.
What is THC?
THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the most common psychoactive ingredient in the cannabis plant, and is commonly known as the compound responsible for the “high” that marijuana gives users. While this is the most common cannabinoid found in the marijuana plant with up to 35% concentration, most hemp plants have 3% or less of this compound. Beyond its psychoactive component, THC separates itself from other cannabinoids in its ability to treat conditions such as glaucoma and low-appetite.
"Hemp is composed of over one hundred different cannabinoids, each offering a diverse array of healing properties."
What is CBD?
When it comes to discussions of the medical qualities that hemp has become so popular for, it is integral to address CBD, or Cannabidiol, and its importance to the cannabis plant. In terms of its chemical structure and medicinal benefits, CBD has a striking resemblance to THC; however, it has none of the psychoactive effects, making it an ideal treatment for many people. Furthermore, while the average hemp plant contains less than 0.3% THC to maintain legality, most hemp contains at least 12%-18% Cannabidiol.
Beyond its tested ability to assist patients dealing with chronic pain, anxiety, depression and inflammation, extensive medical studies have shown that CBD serves as a potential treatment for (among others):
Autoimmune diseases (inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis)
Cardiovascular dysfunction (atherosclerosis, arrhythmia)
Gut disorders (colitis, Crohn’s)
Metabolic syndrome (diabetes, obesity)
Neurological conditions (Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Huntington’s chorea, stroke, traumatic brain injury)
Neuropsychiatric illness (autism, ADHD, PTSD, alcoholism)
Skin disease (acne, dermatitis, psoriasis)
Even with all of its benefits as an alternative to pharmaceutical treatments, CBD remains the safest option for most patients. A 2017 study on CBD conducted by the World Health Organization found that “To date, there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
While THC and CBD are the most common cannabinoids found in cannabis, there aren’t the only compounds that provide health benefits. While over 100 “minor” cannabinoids exist within the plant, some have become of great interest over the past few years.
What is CBN?
Among these minor cannabinoids, Cannabinol (CBN), has been the subject of increasing medical research. CBN is created when THC oxidizes, or ages, over time. While CBN is more psychoactive than CBD, it is only about 10% as strong as the psychoactive properties of THC. In clinical studies, CBN has shown strong results as an antibacterial, neuroprotectant, appetite stimulator, anti-inflammatory and as a glaucoma treatment. While many in the cannabis industry champion CBN for its help against insomnia, claims about the sedative properties associated with pure-CBN are misconceptions without the support of modern cannabis research. A possible explanation for this misrepresentation of CBN is that older cannabis, with higher CBN levels, may have alternative sedative properties misattributed to only this cannabinoid.
What is CBG?
While not commonly present in significant quantities within hemp, Cannabigerol (CBG), many medical researchers have put intensive focus on this cannabinoid as yet another treatment for patients dealing with inflammation, chronic pain and nausea. This non-psychoactive compound is the precursor to most major cannabinoids as it breaks down and converts into either THC or CBD. Because most strains of hemp immediately convert almost all of their CBG into other compounds, CBG is known for its costly production process, giving it the nickname of “The Rolls Royce of cannabinoids.”
Even though the cannabis industry is in its infancy relative to traditional pharmaceutical treatment, research on the health benefits of hemp has yielded increasingly positive results. Hemp is composed of over one hundred different cannabinoids, each offering a diverse array of healing properties; however, more research in the coming years will help us understand more about how some of these minor cannabinoids can help us in the future.
Remedy Processors is a San Diego, CA based company that has been raising the standards of scientific innovation and manufacturing excellence for the hemp industry since 2018. We offer premium THC remediation services for 3rd parties and partner with companies across the country to deliver high quality THC free distillate to their clients. For more information visit our website at www.remedyprocessors.com or call us at (310) 351 3799.