The Different Types of Cannabinoids: A Detailed Guide

It’s an exciting time for the cannabis industry.

In December 2020, the House passed a historic bill to decriminalize cannabis at a federal level. Meanwhile, CBD products derived from hemp are now legal in all 50 states. More than 30 states have also legalized marijuana either medicinally or recreationally.

With all these changes, it’s no wonder experts predict the cannabis industry will be worth $30 billion by 2025.

Are you new to the world of cannabis? Do you know the difference between the two major types of cannabis plants — marijuana and hemp? Would you like to understand the different types of cannabinoids and their potential health benefits?

We’ll dive into these topics and more, so keep reading!

What Are Cannabinoids?

“Cannabinoids” is a big word for tiny chemical compounds. In fact, there are over 100 different types of cannabinoids present in the Cannabis Sativa plant.

You’ve no doubt heard of the two most common types of cannabinoids — THC and CBD. Each of these compounds has different effects on the body, but we’ll get to those in more detail later. The main takeaway, for now, is that these natural compounds work in harmony with your body’s own endocannabinoid system.

It’s also good to know that marijuana has considerably more THC, while the hemp plant has more CBD and almost zero THC. Both types of plants also contain over 100 other cannabinoids with various health benefits. If you smoke or ingest whole parts of marijuana or hemp, you’ll get the full spectrum of all these different cannabinoids.

Here’s where it starts to get tricky, though. In your search for cannabis products, you may notice words like “isolate,” “broad spectrum,” and “full spectrum.” What do these mean in terms of different types of cannabinoids?

  • Full spectrum products contain THC, CBD, and all other naturally occurring cannabinoids
  • Broad spectrum products contain CBD and other cannabinoids, with zero (or trace amounts of) THC
  • CBD isolate has been refined to contain only pure CBD, without THC or other cannabinoids

As we mentioned earlier, THC is still illegal federally because of its psychoactive properties. Those who live in states that haven’t yet legalized marijuana use (or who prefer not to get “high”) should choose CBD isolate or broad spectrum products without THC.

Whether you choose to use CBD, THC, or the full spectrum of cannabinoids, make sure you’re in compliance with the local laws in your area. You’ll also want to buy high-quality, lab-tested white label products from a reputable company.

5 Different Types of Cannabinoids

Now that you have a basic understanding of what cannabinoids are and how they work, let’s take a closer look at the major cannabinoid types you should know.

1. THC (Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol)

The “high” associated with marijuana use comes directly from THC, the most well-known and well-researched cannabinoid. Interestingly, THC is one of the only cannabinoids that has this effect on the body and mind.

THC binds with your brain’s CB1 receptors to produce a larger-than-usual release of dopamine. The result is a euphoric “high,” along with feelings of giddiness and relaxation.

Medicinally, THC is used to treat an array of physical and mental conditions. These include:

  • Cancer
  • Digestive disorders
  • Epilepsy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Sleep apnea
  • PTSD

Any marijuana-sourced products (oils, topicals, edibles) will contain some amount of THC. Commercial hemp products, by law, must contain between 0.0%-0.3% THC.

2. CBD (Cannabidiol)

CBD is chemically the same as THC. However, because the atoms are arranged differently, the effect on your body is completely different.

CBD contains many of the same healing properties as THC, but it doesn’t make you high. This is because it binds with CB2 receptors, which target pain and inflammation in your peripheral nervous system.

Studies have found that CBD (on its own and in conjunction with other cannabinoids) can have a positive impact on mental and emotional health. It helps to lower stress levels and improve sleep quality, leading to reduced feelings of depression and anxiety.

3. CBC (Cannabichromene)

You may not have heard about CBC and the other cannabinoids on our list, but early research is showing very promising results. Scientists are currently studying CBC, one of the most abundant (and non-psychotropic) types of cannabinoids.

Like CBD, CBC shows tremendous healing potential for certain conditions. It works to ease pain and inflammation while buffering the mind-altering effects of THC.

Researchers have also noted that CBC plays an active role in brain health by encouraging neuroplasticity and neurogenesis. Like other minor cannabinoids, CBC works best in conjunction with THC and CBD.

4. CBN (Cannabinol)

Do you suffer from arthritis pain or have difficulty sleeping? If so, you might want to learn more about CBN and its potentially beneficial properties.

CBN is mildly psychoactive, although only about one-tenth as potent as THC. Researchers have found that it effectively prolongs sleep time. It also shares many of the same pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties as CBD.

5. CBG (Cannabigerol)

CBG just might be the next “big thing” in the world of cannabis. Like CBD, it won’t make you high, and it may be effective at relieving pain, inflammation, and anxiety.

Interestingly, though, researchers have found that CBG affects the body differently than CBD. Studies show that it may be an effective treatment for glaucoma, cancer, IBS, and Huntington’s disease.

Which Cannabinoid Options Are Right for You?

THC and CBD are the most popular kinds of cannabinoids, but they’re not the only ones. The truth is that there are over 100 different types of cannabinoids found in hemp and marijuana.

The types of cannabinoids you’ll choose to use should depend on your health concerns, your preferred way of using cannabis, and local laws in your area. Keep doing research to find out the best cannabinoid (or combination of cannabinoids) for you!

Now that you’re more familiar with different cannabinoid options, what’s next? Keep browsing our site for more great reads like this one.