Van der Pop

Beyond the High


10 Lesser-known cannabinoids + their benefits


As more and more people become familiar with cannabis, terms like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are making their way into conversations about the plant and how it works. However, there are hundreds of other cannabinoids that have an impact on how cannabis will affect you, from acting as a mood stabilizer and natural antidepressant to helping reduce inflammation and keeping your skin looking its best.

Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol is very similar to Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC (the cannabinoid that has psychotropic effects that make you feel high). Though Delta-8-THC is not as potent, it still has a number of reputed therapeutic benefits such as appetite stimulation and pain relief that can help reduce vomiting and nausea.

Cannabigerolic acid is considered the stem cell or mother of all cannabinoids. As a cannabis plant matures, this cannabinoid is converted into THCA, CBDA, CBCA – which become THC, CBD and CBC when exposed to heat. CBGA is known to be analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and has been said to slow bacterial growth and inhibit cancer cell growth.

Although cannabigerol is the foundation of almost all of the other cannabinoids, it’s considered a minor cannabinoid because it’s often found in concentrations of less than 1% in cannabis plants after it’s been converted (primarily into THC and CBD) during growth. Research has shown that CBG can be good for your skin, help with bowel and bladder conditions, and reduce inflammation.

Cannabichromene is the third most common cannabinoid after CBD. Thanks to the “entourage effect” (a synergistic interaction between compounds that enhances the effects of cannabis), CBC’s effectiveness is boosted when it’s combined with THC. It’s been shown to be a powerful anti-inflammatory aid and mood stabilizer that can also reduce tumors and get rid of bacteria.

When cannabichromene begins to degrade either by extended exposure to light or oxygen, it is converted into cannabicyclol or CBL. Although research thus far has been scarce, there are early indications that this cannabinoid has the potential to have anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties.

Cannabinol is a non-psychotropic cannabinoid that is derived from THC (unlike the other cannabinoids that are derived from CBG) that has been exposed to too much air, light or heat. When you improperly store cannabis, the THC begins to degrade and turns into CBN. Though it sounds like something you’d do best to avoid, CBN does actually have some known benefits including appetite stimulation and pain relief.

Tetrahydrocannabivarin has a similar molecular structure as THC but is not as potent, so it doesn’t make you feel as high. It can be good for people who are looking to manage weight, as it’s been found to be an effective appetite suppressant, and has been shown to be a powerful anti-convulsant with neuroprotective properties.

There hasn’t been much as much research done on cannabidivarin as there has been on some other cannabinoids, but it’s been shown to be such an impressive anticonvulsant that some major pharmaceutical companies have considered using CBDV in anti-epileptic medications. It can also aid in helping with gastrointestinal issues including nausea; it is even more powerful when combined with CBD.

Both tetrahydrocannabinolic acid and cannabidiolic acid are non-psychotropic, and are found exclusively in raw cannabis before the THC or CBD has been activated in a process called decarboxylation (the heating of cannabis to activate its compounds). This means that smoking THCA and CBDA is not effective, but rather its effectiveness comes from consuming orally through eating or drinking, or being applied topically while still in its natural state. Some benefits include increased appetite, improved neural and intestinal function, and helping to reduce nausea.

Story by K. Astre
Illustration by Marlo Hwang

Van der Pop does not condone or endorse the illegal consumption of cannabis.

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