Cannabinoids in Hemp

Cannabinoids in Hemp

Cannabinoids in Hemp

What are cannabinoids?

In 1964, Raphael Mechoulam, a scientist from Israel, isolated and identified the THC cannabinoid for the first time. This lead to the discovery of the the endocannabinoid system. Due to the role the plant played in the discovery, the system, receptors, and compounds were named after Cannabis.

The Endocannabinoid System

 Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain. These receptors are a part of the endocannabinoid system. This system is responsible for balancing and regulating many of the body’s processes, like appetite, memory, metabolism, immune response and more.  The CB1 receptors are primarily on nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. They are also located in parts of the reproductive systems, endocrine gland, white blood cells, and spleen. CB2 receptors are mainly located in the immune system. 

There are three types of cannabinoids; endocannabinoids, phytocannabinoids and synthetic cannabinoids.
Endocannabinoid: Anandamide
Endocannabinoid: 2-arachidonoylglycerol

Endocannabinoids are created in the body (endo meaning within) on an “as needed basis”. They are not stored in the body, but created and used only when the CB receptors indicate, to help achieve homeostasis. 

There are two main endocannabinoids; Anandamide and 2-Arachidonoylglycerol

Anandamide: which affects things like appetite, pleasure, and motivation.  

2-Arachidonoylglycerol: acts like a mediator for things like immune responses, inflammatory reactions, and pain.

JWH-018 (chemical in synthetic cannabinoids)
JWH-018 (chemical in synthetic cannabinoids)

Synthetic Cannabinoids are lab created chemicals that are designed to work like endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids. 

Phytocannabinoid: CBD-Cannabidiol
Cannabidiol (CBD)
Cacao contains Anandamine

Phytocannabinoids are found in plants (phyto meaning plants).

The most well known phytocannabinoids are THC and CBD found in the Cannabis plant family, though there are more than 60 known cannabinoids found in Cannabis. 

These cannabinoids form a natural protective resin to deter predators, protect from environmental effects, and also help pollinate the Cannabis plants.


 Other plants can produce cannabinoids as well, echinacea in the cone flower and Cacao (chocolate) contains anandamide. While Cannabis plants aren’t the only producers of phytocannabinoids, they led to the discovery of the endocannabinoid system. This breakthrough has changed how we view the plant and opened the door to increasing studies of the potential effects of phytocannabinoids.

Phytocannabinoids in Cannabis: The Potential

The effects of phytocannabinoids from the Cannabis plant are the subject of many studies. While, only one CBD drug (Epidiolex) has been approved by the FDA, there are other benefits cannabinoids are thought to have;

CBD (Cannabidiol)

Potential Benefits:

Anxiolytic, Anti-psychotic, Analgesic, Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, Antispasmodic

Phytocannabinoid: CBD Cannabidiol 2-[(1R,6R)-3-methyl-6-prop-1-en-2-ylcyclohex-2-en-1-yl]-5-pentylbenzene-1,3-diol Cannabidiol (CBD)

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)

Potential Benefits:

Euphoriant, Analgesic, Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, Antiemetic

Phytocannabinoid: d9THC Tetrahydrocannabinol 6,6,9-trimethyl-3-pentyl-6a,7,8,10a-tetrahydrobenzo[c]chromen-1-ol Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

CBGA (Cannabigerolic acid)

Potential Benefits:


Phytocannabinoid: CBGA Cannabigerolic acid 3-[(2E)-3,7-dimethylocta-2,6-dienyl]-2,4-dihydroxy-6-pentylbenzoic acid Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA)
3-[(2E)-3,7-dimethylocta-2,6-dienyl]-2,4-dihydroxy-6-pentylbenzoic acid

CBG (Cannabigerol)

Potential Benefits:

Analgesic, Anti-inflammatory, Antibiotic, Antifungal


Phytocannabinoid: CBG Cannabigerol 2-[(2E)-3,7-dimethylocta-2,6-dienyl]-5-pentylbenzene-1,3-diol Cannabigerol (CBG)

CBC (Cannabichromene)

Potential Benefits:

Analgesic, Anti-inflammatory, Antibiotic, Antifungal

Phytocannabinoid: CBC Cannabichromene 2-methyl-2-(4-methylpent-3-enyl)-7-pentylchromen-5-ol Cannabichromene (CBC)

CBDA (Cannabidiolic acid)

Potential Benefits:


Phytocannabinoid: CBDA Cannabidiolic acid 2,4-dihydroxy-3-[(1R,6R)-3-methyl-6-prop-1-en-2-ylcyclohex-2-en-1-yl]-6-pentylbenzoic acid Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA)
2,4-dihydroxy-3-[(1R,6R)-3-methyl-6-prop-1-en-2-ylcyclohex-2-en-1-yl]-6-pentylbenzoic acid

THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin)

Potential Benefits:

Analgesic, Euphoriant

Phytocannabinoid: THCV Tetrahydrocannabivarin (6aR,10aR)-6,6,9-trimethyl-3-propyl-6a,7,8,10a-tetrahydrobenzo[c]chromen-1-ol Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)

CBN (Cannabinol)

Potential Benefits:

 Anti-inflammatory, Antibiotic, Sedative, Anticonvulsant

Phytocannabinoid: CBN Cannabinol 6,6,9-trimethyl-3-pentylbenzo[c]chromen-1-ol Cannabinol (CBN)

These are just some of the phytocannabinoids found in the Cannabis Plant. As more is learned about cannabinoids and their effects on the endocannabinoid system are discovered, this list will grow.


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