PlantMade 101: Introduction to Cannabinoids

Phytocannabinoids, or “cannabinoids,” are the natural chemical compounds produced by cannabis flowers that provide natural protection to the plant. There are over 100 cannabinoids unique to cannabis and dare also found in everyday plants too! You may already be familiar with echinacea, used to soothe a sore throat, and combat cold and flu symptoms.

Like endocannabinoids, each cannabinoid has a different composition and influence on the cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system, which provides the opportunity to successfully treat a wide variety of ailments and provide relief to an array of symptoms; early research shows that each cannabinoid has unique medicinal properties

Considerations in Cannabinoid Variation

How to understand cannabinoid percentages

The concentration of cannabinoids varies with each cannabis strain. Knowing the percentage of certain cannabinoids in your cannabis and/or cannabis-infused products can help you understand how the plant will affect your body and can help you choose the most effective product for your ailments and symptoms.

In general, the higher the potency of cannabinoids in your product, the more effective. Look for miligram counts of cannabinoids on your products to understand the potency. The higher the mg count of cannabinoids, the higher the efficacy of the product. This is true of topicals, tinctures, edibles, and even flower strains. The mg count of cannabinoids works the same as other over-the-counter medicines; Tylenol, for example, comes in regular strength of 325mg of acetaminophen in each pill and extra strength of 500mg of acetaminophen in each pill.

Similarly, a 5mg (THC or CBD) count of cannabinoids is a lighter dose than 30mg (THC or CBD) count of cannabinoids.  In fact, THC has been shown to have an analgesic (pain killer) effect comparable to codeine: an experiment from the 70s (Noyes et al.) shows that 20mg of THC beat 60mg of codeine and even 10mg of THC was almost as effective.

Primary Cannabinoids:

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) CBD(cannabidiol)
thc cbd
– psychoactive

– used for acute pain relief, stress, appetite, sleep

– most prevalent cannabinoid

– non-psychoactive

– used for anxiety, inflammation, epilepsy, arthritis

– major phytocannabinoid, making up to 40% of plant extract

Other Cannabinoids:

THCa (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid)

    1. psychoactive, but far less than THC for most people; non-psychoactive for some
    2. delivers the same healing properties of THC, without the psychoactivity
    3. THCa is the precursor to activated THC: THCa converts to psychoactive THC when heated
    4. used for:

CBDa (cannabidiolic acid)

      1. non-psychoactive and, similar to THCa, CBDa is the precursor to activated CBD

CBN (cannabinol)

      1. non-psychoactive; it is a breakdown product of THCa
      2. used for pain management, inflammation, insomnia
      3. CBN is widely known for its sedative effect

CBG (cannabigerol)

      1. non-psychoactive
      2. used for muscular disorders, skin conditions, inflammation, anxiety
      3. early studies suggest that CBG is an analgesic and can aid with eyesight, muscle contractions, psoriasis, and depression