The hemp industry is growing larger every year, and alongside this explosive growth, our knowledge of hemp and the compounds it contains is also increasing. Mature Cannabis sativa flower contains more than 1,000 compounds, and out of these compounds, more than 100 are unique phytochemicals called cannabinoids. While hemp contains tons of different cannabinoids, most of them are copies or “analogs” of a few main compounds, and in this guide, we’ll introduce you to a few of the core cannabinoids that are reshaping the hemp industry and creating opportunities all around the globe.
What are cannabinoids?
Many of the compounds found in hemp, such as flavonoids and terpenes, are also found in other plant species. Cannabinoids, however, are so named because they are only found in Cannabis sativa. While compounds in other plants may resemble cannabinoids, they are not identical to these unique hemp constituents.
Some cannabinoids, such as THC, have intoxicating properties, but most do not. Instead, the majority of cannabinoids, such as CBD, CBG, and CBN, have mild and non-intoxicating effects, but they might exert potent medical benefits. The scientific community has recently taken great interest in the potential therapeutic potential of non-intoxicating cannabinoids, and around the globe, the consumer cannabinoid market continues to grow at an exponential pace.
1. Cannabidiol (CBD)
Next to THC, CBD is one of the most well-known and popular cannabinoids. While strains of hemp that deliver high amounts of CBD while keeping THC to a bare minimum were practically unheard of a decade ago, some hemp cultivars now exceed 20% CBD while containing 0.3% THC or less.
CBD is similar to THC in that it appears to impact inflammation and pain. Unlike THC, however, CBD is non-intoxicating, and CBD may also offer unique benefits that THC does not. For instance, CBD appears to impact your mood by gently interacting with your nervous system, and this cannabinoid has even been looked at for its potential antiepileptic benefits. While other non-intoxicating cannabinoids are also rising to popularity, CBD will remain the cornerstone of the hemp-derived cannabinoid market for the foreseeable future.
2. Cannabigerol (CBG)
In the last few years, CBG products have started to enter the consumer market, and this promising cannabinoid is rapidly gaining a level of popularity similar to that of CBD. Like CBD, CBG is non-intoxicating, but this hemp constituent may offer unique benefits that CBD does not.
For instance, scientists are keenly examining cannabigerol’s potential antibacterial properties, and this cannabinoid may also show promise as a potential treatment for digestive conditions. It’s becoming easier to derive large quantities of high-quality CBG now that hemp cultivars have been developed that contain significant concentrations of this cannabinoid, so it’s likely that CBG will become even more popular over the next few years.
3. Cannabinol (CBN)
CBN is naturally present in THC-rich and CBD-rich strains of Cannabis sativa in concentrations under 1%, and recent scientific breakthroughs have made it possible to produce high-potency CBN extracts that aren’t just cobbled together from the minuscule amounts of this substance found in most cannabis cultivars. That’s good news for consumers and investors who have heard of CBN’s potential benefits, which could make this non-intoxicating cannabinoid useful for neurological health, appetite, and other purposes.
There is also a large body of anecdotal testimony regarding CBN’s potential benefits for sleep, but at this point, there isn’t enough science on this subject to draw definitive conclusions. As we learn more about CBN and further clinical studies are commissioned, it will become clear whether CBN is truly useful as a sleep aid.
4. Cannabichromene (CBC)
Like CBD, CBC appears to interact with various systems in your brain to modulate the sensation of pain without causing intoxication. Cannabichromene has been researched extensively over the last few decades, but it’s still relatively hard to derive CBC from Cannabis sativa, so there aren’t many products that prominently feature this cannabinoid.
One reason we should pay attention to CBC is that limited lab studies indicate this non-intoxicating cannabinoid might be useful for brain health. Regardless of its individual properties, the presence of CBC in cannabinoid extracts appears to contribute to the entourage effect, a theoretical form of synergy that may occur when cannabinoids are used together.
5. Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)
THCV is very similar to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but it appears to exert significantly reduced psychoactive effects. This cannabinoid can’t be classified as strictly non-intoxicating, but it’s different enough from THC to be placed in a category of its own.
Like THC, THCV binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain, which are the main components of the endocannabinoid system. Unlike THC, however, the mild psychoactive effects that THCV provides do not generally cause paranoia or anxiety.
6. Cannabidivarin (CBDV)
Just as THCV is structurally similar to THC, CBDV is structurally similar to CBD. These two cannabinoids are different enough to be classified separately, but like CBD, CBDV has been researched extensively for its potential antiepileptic benefits.
CBDV is usually only available in Cannabis sativa in very small quantities, but via the entourage effect, this analog of CBD may interact with other cannabinoids and strengthen their effects. When isolated, CBDV has been examined as a potential treatment for inflammation, pain, and neurological disorders.
7. Cannabigerovarin (CBGV)
CBGV is an analog of CBG that has many of the same properties as its more well-known cousin. For instance, researchers have investigated CBGV for its potential digestive, antibacterial, and glaucoma-fighting benefits.
Like the other “varin” versions of popular cannabinoids, CBGV is only present in hemp in very small quantities. Research into the unique benefits of CBGV, however, indicates that this cannabinoid may have the unique property of increasing the bioavailability of CBD, which means that CBD products that also contain CBGV may offer enhanced effects.
Knowledge is power in the hemp industry
Even if you’ve used and enjoyed intoxicating or non-intoxicating versions of Cannabis sativa for years, there’s still plenty to learn about this fascinating plant and the compounds it contains. These days, entrepreneurs in the hemp industry need to know a lot about the cannabinoid bulk ingredients they offer to win consumers over and succeed, so use the detailed information we’ve covered in this guide to expand your horizons and take advantage of everything the hemp renaissance has to offer.