Here at CannaSource, we believe informed customers are the best customers. And when it comes to recreational cannabis in Portland, there’s quite a bit of information going around. That’s why our last blog post explored key terms for deciphering the many landraces and stains of cannabis. Providing the best guide to cannabis is just the right thing to do.
Continuing on that train, there’s a great deal more information on every product label than just strain names and categories. For this blog post, we’re here to explain the common cannabinoid product names and what they do.
What are Cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are compounds found in usable marijuana that interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a network of receptors and enzymes in the brain and throughout the body that regulate many physiological processes like appetite or sleep. Cannabinoids either work as an agonist to stimulate a physiological process or as an antagonist to suppress a physiological process.
You’ve probably seen the letters THC and CBD while reading. THC and CBD are two of the most studied cannabinoids, and most cannabis products are separated based on them. However, many of these compounds have such low concentrations that they don’t have any noticeable effects. For our purposes, there are six compounds we want to focus on: THC, THCV, CBD, CBN, CBC and CBG. So let’s get started!
1. THC: The Cheech & Chong Cannabinoid
The most well-known cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as THC. This compound is a classic agonist. It is the principal component responsible for the psychoactive effects of any cannabis product or the classic “high.” However, before lighting up, it’s actually an acidic cannabinoid first, known as THCA. Once lit, the acid turns to the classic neutral cannabinoid, and the euphoria begins.
Every piece of tie-dye, every word of stoner lingo and every joke in the Cheech & Chong comedy catalog can probably be attributed to this cannabinoid. Or maybe not. Regardless, the way THC has come to influence the counterculture is undeniable. Most recreational consumers will want to pay attention to the percentage of this as that usually works as a guideline for the intensity of the high.
2. CBD: The Wunderkind Cannabinoid
Cannabidiol or CBD, is the other side of the coin. A non-psychoactive cannabinoid with a variety of potential medicinal benefits, this compound works as an antagonist, disrupting the signals sent by THC. So while it doesn’t cause a high itself, it can sometimes act to reduce the effects of THC when they become too intense.
CBD is also being studied heavily for its potential anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties. It has been suggested as a possible treatment for conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic pain, and even some types of cancer. The anecdotal evidence from users suggests that it is worth exploring further if you are looking for pain relief. Topicals, tinctures and edibles are the preferred methods for administration.
3. CBN: The Sleepy Cannabinoid
Cannabinol, or CBN for short, is a cannabinoid that has been found to have sedative properties, making it a potential sleep aid for those who need it. This function makes it a weird inverse-agonist, inducing sleep by stopping certain other physiological processes. So like an anti-hero, it’s an agonist working as an antagonist. Weird, right?
Scientists are still exploring this one, but here are some other facts: it is not produced directly by the cannabis plant and only occurs after long periods of exposure to heat and oxygen. This means it’s usually associated with aged flower, so be sure to check the label before buying. Or if you’re really committed, dig out that half bud of Purple Haze you’ve been saving since legalization and report back after the nap.
4. THCV: The “Skinny” Cannabinoid
Oh, irony, thy name is tetrahydro-cannabivarin or THCV. Why is it ironic? Because this antagonist has been studied extensively for its potential to suppress appetite and reduce cravings, and yet it is a complete mouthful to say.
Nonetheless, it is a possible aid in weight loss when combined with an exercise regime. It is also thought to have some effects on the brain’s endocannabinoid system, which could lead to decreased anxiety and possibly even reduced seizures.
This cannabinoid is often found in smaller amounts, so it’s more rare than the others we’ve discussed. However, many breeders are starting to produce higher-THCV cultivars, which you can experiment with if you want to give it a go.
5. CBC: The Anti-Inflammatory Cannabinoid
Cannabichromene, otherwise known as CBC, is a cannabinoid that is thought to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. It works pretty similar to CBD in that it works as an antagonist for most functions. The primary difference is that it does not interact with THC directly and instead focuses on acting as an anti-inflammatory agent.
All of this makes CBC a great option for those looking to reduce inflammation from conditions such as arthritis or chronic pain. Studies on the effects of CBC are still in the early stages, but it is becoming more and more popular as users report positive outcomes. You can find this cannabinoid alone or mixed with other compounds such as CBD, THCV and CBG. So if you’re looking to reduce inflammation without getting high, this could be your ticket.
6. CBG: The “Mother” Cannabinoid
Cannabigerol, or CBG, is a lot of fun to say. But we might want to put some respect on its name as the research indicates it might be the mother of all cannabinoids. That’s because it is the precursor to both CBD and THC, meaning it is the starting point for these compounds in a cannabis plant.
CBG has its own unique effects on the body, such as being an antibacterial agent and having neuroprotective properties. It is also believed to help modulate the effects of other cannabinoids, such as CBD and THC.
Given its role in helping to create more familiar compounds, CBG is growing in popularity amongst cannabis consumers who want to explore all that this plant has to offer. It might be worth a try if you’re looking for something different from your usual routine.
Looking For A Source For All Your Cannabinoids and Cannabis in Portland?
Phew, it might have only been six, but that was a lot of science. It should be noted that because THC and CBD will be the primary compounds in most cannabis, they will usually be the cannabinoids that you feel the effects from. However, when speaking with our exceptional budtenders in Portland, keep your ears sharp in case mention of THCV, CBG, CBN and CBC crops up, as you now are on the cutting edge of people who know what these compounds can potentially do or help.
CannaSource is your one-stop shop for the widest selection of cannabis products and services you need in Portland. We offer top-tier flower, concentrates, edibles, and more, along with lab testing and a knowledgeable, friendly staff to help you find the perfect product for your needs. Stop by today or give us a call at (971) 254-4374 for more information!