Cannabinoids are compounds derived from the cannabis plant, also known as the Cannabis sativa. Over one hundred cannabinoids can be found in the cannabis plant, with the two most popular being cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Both compounds affect the endocannabinoid system (ECS) inside our bodies. The ECS is a complex system of neurotransmitters known as endocannabinoids. These neurotransmitters regulate everything from sleep, to mood, to appetite, and more. The main functionality of the ECS is to regulate the body’s homeostasis and to react to factors that may cause bodily harm. Endocannabinoids are present everywhere in the human body and play a large role in our overall health.
Each Cannabinoid interacts with the ECS in a different way. The two most popular compounds, THC and CBD, interact in different ways. THC is the main psychoactive ingredient in the cannabis plant. This is associated with the ‘high’ effect as it signals the brain to release dopamine, producing a sense of euphoria in the body. CBD is the second most prevalent compound within the cannabidiol plant and is not psychoactive. Consuming CBD protects the body’s endocannabinoids, allowing the body to fully benefit from what it naturally produces. CBD acts as a regulator for times of physical and mental stress and helps the body maintain homeostasis.
Along with these two most prolific compounds, the cannabis plant contains other, lesser-known cannabinoids that affect the body in different ways. Here we’ll provide a breakdown of what these cannabinoids are, how they work, and how they compare to the more well-known cannabinoids.
What Exactly is CBN?
Cannabinol, or CBN, is another cannabinoid found within the cannabis sativa plant. It is very similar to CBD, or cannabidiol, however, it is derived from a different strain in the cannabis plant. CBN in particular comes from the degradation of THC. When this compound is exposed to heat or light, CBN is formed. CBN may cause slight psychoactive effects due to its derivation from THC. However, it is not associated with the normal ‘high’ effect known with THC.
There is not as much research on CBN as there is CBD, but studies have shown CBN to be capable of addressing roughly the same ailments as CBD. CBN can be effectively used as a sleep aid for those who struggle with insomnia. This compound also has been linked to bolstering immune health due to how it regulates the endocannabinoid system. Like CBD, CBN is known as an anticonvulsant, which means it may also be used to treat things such as epilepsy. In a 2016 study, researchers conducted a study on how CBN may be key in reducing inflammation. In particular, scientists found that diseases attacking the joints, such as arthritis, may be potentially treated with CBN. In comparison, CBD comes from a different molecule of the plant, and is therefore easier for scientists to find as it does not rely on the breakdown of THC. As it is easier to produce, CBD is currently found in more products but has similar effects to those of CBN.
Although there is not as much research on this cannabinoid, scientists are interested due to its potentially significant health properties. Unlike THC, which can be addictive and cause psychoactive effects, CBN does not run this risk. Therefore, it is a potentially powerful tool to target inflammation in the body without clinical side effects. As a target for inflammation in the body, CBN is an important cannabinoid to know.
Where Can I Find THCV?
As the letters suggest, THCV, or delta 9 tetrahydrocannabivarin, is similar to THC, yet comes from a different strain within the plant. This cannabinoid compound is similar to CBD or CBN in that it does not have the psychoactive effects of THC, but has been linked to helping to manage certain medical conditions.
In comparison to THC, THCV is more difficult to produce as it requires a specific isolation process. In most cases, you will find THCV in products also containing THC. When existing together, THCV can cancel out the ‘high’ effect known in THC products. This allows it to have an array of helpful medicinal properties, while also canceling psychoactive effects.
In a 2015 study, researchers found THCV to potentially work as an appetite suppressant. Unlike other cannabinoids where a person may experience an increase in appetite, THCV is linked to regulating appetite. This is because it blocks the CB receptor, which affects the appetite along with mood, memory, and pain. In the case of Type 2 diabetes, limited research has showcased it as potentially allowing for a better tolerance to glucose. Overall, it has shown that for people whose brain regulators are out of balance, THCV can counteract and restore overall regulation.
Like other cannabinoids, THCV is also known for its anti-inflammatory effects. A 2010 study showcased how THCV may reduce inflammation, especially within the lungs. This is still in newer phases of research, but provides insight to the positive effects of THCV. When thinking of how it may positively affect the human body, THCV can also enable an energy boost. This is because it impacts the metabolic system, allowing for regulation of energy and increased boost in productivity. The impact on one’s appetite and energy levels, along with the lack of psychoactive effects known to THC, makes it an exciting cannabinoid to discover.
How is Delta-8-THC Different from THC?
Another cannabinoid to consider is Delta-8-THC, which has exploded in popularity in recent years. This is due to the effects it has on the body, with limited drawbacks in comparison to THC. THC, or delta-9, is one of the main cannabinoids which produces the psychoactive effect, or ‘high’ feeling. Delta-8-THC, on the other hand, is a minor cannabinoid, which is extracted from the hemp plant. To date, there is no easy way of extracting delta-8-THC naturally, which limits production of this cannabinoid. However, delta-8-THC can be extracted from CBD, which allows for easier production. Along with this, since delta-8-THC is derived from the hemp plant, concentrations of this compound tend to be under 0.3% delta-9-THC, allowing for coverage under the 2018 Farm Bill.
One of the main draws for Delta-8-THC is that it produces similar effects to Delta-9-THC without some of the drawbacks. For example, users of Delta-9 may experience the ‘high’ feeling accompanied by mental fog and anxiety due to the potency of its concentration. In comparison, Delta-8-THC is a far weaker substance. Those who utilize it often report feeling a sense of calm and relaxation. Another difference is timeline: delta-9 often works instantly, providing the psychoactive effects right away. In contrast, delta-8 works to gradually release calm and focus into the body. This mental clarity is one of the primary drives for delta-8-THC on the market today.
As Delta-8-THC has risen in popularity, so has varying production methods. If you are thinking of purchasing any form of Delta-8-THC, it is incredibly important to research your source. Although Delta-8-THC itself does not have alarming side effects, certain concentrations may be harmful when mixed with other synthetic materials. As with any product bought for consumption, it is important to be an informed consumer, know the possible effects, and go to a trusted source when seeking to purchase the product.
Bone Growth & Pain Relief: Everything CBC Can Do for You
Rounding up another non-psychoactive cannabinoid, CBC is one of the ‘top six’ cannabinoids for medical research. CBC occurs after an enzyme breaks down the acidic CBCa, leading to the CBC cannabinoid that is present in many strains of hemp plants.
Unlike THC, CBC does not attach well to the CB1 cannabinoid receptors, thereby accounting for the lack of the ‘high’ sensation known in THC. However, this cannabinoid is extremely interesting in medical research because of the receptors it does attach to in the endocannabinoid system. Within this system, CBC attaches well to the receptors that deal with pain reception. This is key when factoring in how cannabis may help alleviate or regulate chronic pain in the body.
There are many proposed benefits from CBC - with astounding effects on the human body. CBC has been linked within the endocannabinoid system to lessen inflammation and fight tumor growth. This has enormous potential in the field of cancer research. Along with this, CBC can also help manage chronic pain through blocking receptors for chronic pain. Dealing with inflammation can also lessen the effects of chronic pain on the body.
Along with physical pain, CBC has been linked in the ‘entourage effect’ - or utilizing more than one cannabinoid at once, to help treat depression. Working in conjunction with THC and CBD, CBC has been known to help increase serotonin, combating the negative effects of depression. As newer studies seek to find answers to how these cannabinoids may help manage physical and mental distress, CBC offers a wealth of potential support for those suffering from chronic conditions.
CBGa: The Mother of All Cannabinoids
When thinking of the plant as a chain, CBGa is the first link in the chain for the reactions that cause THCA, CDCA, and CBCA. These are ultimately filtered into an enzyme reaction that produces some of our most well-known cannabinoids: namely THC and CBD. Without CBGa, we would not have the cannabinoids we rely on for positive mental and physical effects.
CBGa was discovered as a precursor to THCa and CBDa about thirty years ago, and since then has been widely researched especially in its relationship to THC. In particular, scientists aim to find how isolating CBGa may enhance the production of THC, especially for medicinal purposes.
When looking at CBGa itself, there are many medicinal properties that may be beneficial for human beings. For example, CBGa is known to inhibit the enzyme aldose reductase, which is a known cause of heart disease. Along with this, CBGa may also help the metabolic system, providing helpful regulation and prevention of diseases such as diabetes. These promising leads are still in the beginning phases of research, and thus are linked mainly to computer simulations. As research progresses, however, researchers hope to discover how to utilize this cannabinoid to its maximum potential in the possible treatment of chronic illness.
Being informed on the range of cannabinoids and how they interact with the body can make them a helpful tool to manage stress, lessen chronic pain, and provide clarity, energy, and focus during the day. Each cannabinoid interacts with our body’s natural endocannabinoids system in an array of ways, providing different forms of support or strengthening natural reactions our body already undergoes. Learning more about each and how they may help is a great way to continue your health journey.
While more research still needs to be completed on some of the over 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, the wealth of knowledge we have on strains such as CBD and CBN provides great insight as to how this natural aid can bolster our day to day lives. CBD’s calming, energy-boosting properties that don’t leave you feeling mentally foggy are key factors in the success of VRB’s Total Wellness Pack. In VRB’s Sleep Blend, CBD and CBN work synergistically to enhance these calming factors to support a good night's sleep. Furthermore, VRB’s Focus and Calm blend targets imbalances in the endocannabinoid system due to stress to promote healthy, calm productivity that provides a boost of energy as well.
Cannabinoids are crucial tools to restoring balance to the body’s endocannabinoid system. Since they support natural reactions which already occur within the body, they promote focus, calm, and rest, without the typical groggy side effects of other popular tools. As we grow more aware of how each cannabinoid interacts with the body, we can have a better understanding of how these natural compounds can bolster our mental and physical health in a natural way. The ability of these ingredients to promote total wellness is a cornerstone of VRB’s mission to support our minds and bodies to continue to function at an optimal degree.