By: Cyrus Sepahbodi
Minor cannabinoids have been hyped in the news lately, and if you’ve been following there are numerous stories about how they are the next frontier in cannabis. Most people have heard of THC and CBD, but there are over 100 other cannabinoids present in cannabis. Here at Papa & Barkley, we have always held the belief that the efficacy of cannabis depends on utilizing the full spectrum of cannabinoids present. Our products contain naturally occuring small amounts of minor cannabinoids due to our whole plant formulations, so now is the perfect time to introduce you to three lesser known cannabinoids: CBN, CBG, and THCv. In this article you’ll learn all about these minor but mighty cannabinoids.
What is CBN (Cannabinol)?
The first cannabinoid on our list is Cannabinol, more commonly known as CBN. CBN is a cannabinoid that naturally occurs as a result when THC molecules break down due to oxygenation. This is why CBN is normally found on aged cannabis plants. Traditionally Cannabinol has been touted as effective for pain management and helping people relieve their insomnia, although there is limited research. What we do know is that CBN is non-intoxicating like THCa and that is widely used for its effects as a sedative. This is due to how CBN and THC interact within our bodies in the Endocannabinoid system.
What is the difference between CBN and CBD?
The most notable difference between CBN and CBD is how each of the cannabinoids interact within the Endocannabinoid system (ECS). While research has been limited for CBN, science has shown that CBD shows affinity to the CB1 and CB2 receptors found in our bodies. When CBD interacts with the ECS, the body responds by increasing endocannabinoids to return homeostasis. Conversely, CBN has little affinity to either receptors yet more research is needed to discover precisely how CBN works in our bodies. Also, CBN is a byproduct of the breakdown of THC, meaning it doesn’t have the potential to be psychoactive. CBD also has no psychoactivity, and individuals who consume it do not experience the ‘high’ that is associated with THC.
- Non-intoxicating; it is a breakdown product of THCa
- Widely known for its sedative effect and good for sleep
- Used for stress reduction, normal inflammation, and acute pains.
- Major phytocannabinoid, making up to 40% of plant extract
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What is THCv?
Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCv) is the next minor cannabinoid on our list. THCv is one of the lesser known cannabinoids in cannabis. Early studies suggested that THCV was not as potent as THC, with little intoxicating effects. Yet other research has suggested that the effects of THCv in the ECS can either increase or decrease depending on the dosage—in lower amounts it was not psychoactive but in higher amounts it was shown that THCv acts like THC. Many people believe that it can act as an appetite suppressant and could help reduce anxiety or stress, yet results are inconclusive. A lot of confusion exists about the effects of the cannabinoid, but it definitely does warrant more formal research.
Is THCv Psychoactive?
Although similar in composition to THC, THCv may be mildly psychoactive by comparison. Some evidence states that THCv has been shown to increase the psychoactive effects of THC, while lowering other aspects of how THC affects the body. Current research is very limited however it is thought that THCv acts as an antagonist to THC when found in small amounts. You won’t find THCv in isolated form as it is present in small amounts within the cannabis plant. Most people who are seeking THCv predominantly choose to vaporize or smoke cannabis strains with high THCv.
What is the difference between THCv and THC?
THC is perhaps the most widely known, and most prevalent cannabinoid found in cannabis. The research into THC and its beneficial effects are documented. On the other hand, very little is known about THCv and its effects. THC makes up the largest amount of cannabinoids found in cannabis whereas THCv can only be found in trace amounts. THC is known to produce feelings of euphoria, reduce sensations of pain and inflammation, increase appetite, and help with mood regulation. Until further research is undertaken, little else is known of THCV.
What is THCa?
THCa, or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, is one of our favorite cannabinoids. Unlike THC, THCa has many different properties without any psychoactivity. THC starts off as THC-A, which becomes THC when the plant is heated, burned, or vaporized, a process known as decarboxylation. What is most interesting about THCa is that it occurs naturally in cannabis plants in a raw state. Meaning THCA is found in fresh, undried cannabis. THCa has both analgesic properties and can help you stay focused and alert, making it a perfect cannabinoid for microdosing as well as managing physical discomfort.
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What is CBG?
Cannabigerol (CBG) is the last minor cannabinoid on our list. CBG is the non-acidic form of cannabigerolic acid, the parent molecule from which other cannabinoids are made. THC, CBD, and several other phytocannabinoids are all derived from the acidic form of Cannabigerol (CBGa). CBGa acts as the precursor for THC, CBD, and CBG. Known for its antibacterial properties, CBG is non-psychoactive like its cousin CBD. Growing interest in researching CBG as another non-intoxicating cannabinoid is mounting since the popularity boom for CBD as a healing compound in cannabis.
What is the difference between CBG and CBD?
Both CBD and CBG are child molecules of Cannabigerolic acid (CBGa). CBD and CBG are both non-intoxicating, meaning they don’t cause the tell-tale ‘high’ that one can get from consuming THC. CBD has mounting research interests with a lot of documented benefits including reduction of acute pain, normal inflammation, and even help with regulating stress. CBG does have some research surrounding it’s antibacterial properties, yet more studies are needing to go in depth about the potential of the cannabinoid.
Research is Key
Cannabis has carried a long standing stigma since its prohibition in the 1930’s, but with the time and activism, increased research of the plant has come front and center for how Americans deal with pain. THC and CBD have been shown to have medicinal qualities and benefits, and it is only natural that science catches up with the other 100+ cannabinoids that have been discovered. Scientific research is the key to unlocking the amazing potential of the plant and discovering more about CBN, CBG, and THCv.