What are cannabinoids and what do they do?

Cannabinoids are a group of active compounds found in hemp.

Hemp contains many chemical compounds that create the different characteristics of the plant. Terpenes provide flavors and aromas, while chlorophyll in the leaves makes the plant green. But the most important compounds in hemp are the cannabinoids.

Cannabinoids are the compounds which gives the hemp plant its medicinal and healing properties. Cannabinoids like CBD and THC interact with different receptors in the body to produce a wide range of effects. For more explanation please see our How does it work?

But what exactly are cannabinoids, and why are they able to interact with the body? The answer has to do with the cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system.

Let’s take a deeper look at some of these fascinating compounds.

  • CBD

    Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most common non-psychoactive cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, occurring in the largest concentrations. CBD is a powerful help for seizures, pain, inflammation, cancer, auto immune diseases, and numerous other conditions.

  • CBDa

    Cannabidiolic acid (CBDa) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid and the acidic precursor to CBD. CBDa can be found in the live or raw form of hemp and cannabis, particularly in the hemp plant and strains bred to cultivate higher CBD levels. CBDa converts to CBD through decarboxylation, which occurs when hemp is exposed to heat or sunlight.


  • CBN

    The CBN cannabinoid isn’t very psychoactive but it is super potent. In fact, CBN is the strongest cannabinoid identified for promoting sleep, which makes hemp rich in CBN an ideal treatment for insomnia.

  • CBC

    CBC is analgesic and anti-inflammatory, although less potent than these more famous molecules. It is also antibacterial and its variant CBCa has been shown to be an anti-fungal agent. Like CBD, cannabichomene is both a bone stimulant and neurogenic compound, helping grow both body and mind. Perhaps its most important use is as an anti-proliferative, slowing tumor growth and combating cancer, just like CBD and THC. CBC has also been shown to be ten times as powerful as CBD at reducing anxiety and stress.


  • CBG

    CBG has been shown to stimulate the growth of new brain cells in a process called neurogenesis. Neurogenic compounds are extremely rare, which makes CBG important. It can also be antibacterial, anti-tumour, and aids with insomnia. CBG is considered a ‘stem cell’ cannabinoid and can change into different cannabinoids, altering the overall effects of the plant depending on how it is treated in the grow phase.

  • THC

    This is the most psychoactive compound that has been identified in the hemp plant, though other trace cannabinoids are psychoactive, and others, like CBD, modulate how THC affects the body. THC has an important role in the full spectrum oil because it affects the way the other cannabinoids work – when all cannabinoids are present in a product it creates the Entourage Effect.


  • THCV

    Tetrahydrocannabivarin or THCV for short. This cannabinoid contains various medicinal properties that users can benefit from. Since THCV is an antagonist of the CB1 and CB2 receptors, this means that THCV blocks THC, which prevents cannabis users from getting the munchies. It possesses other medicinal benefits such as it acting as an effective anti-convulsive cannabinoid. Also, it has recently been discovered that THCV contains a strong potential in assisting type 2 diabetics by helping control glycemic levels.

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