Cannabinoids are a group of various chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant which act on the cannabinoid receptors located on cells which repress the release of certain neurotransmitters in the brain.  They are similar to endocannabinoids (which are produced naturally in humans and animals) in shape and behavior.  This encourages them to bond with the cannabinoid receptors in our nervous system, producing the cannabis plant’s known effects and a variety of other medical benefits and applications which are still being researched and understood today.  Specifically, cannabinoids are a group of terpenophenolic compounds produced by the Cannabis sativa L. plant.
Today, most of the research being performed with cannabis revolves around our understanding of its active ingredients, the cannabinoids.  These chemical compounds affect cannabinoid receptors, which are primarily located in the central nervous system, but may be found elsewhere in the body.  Currently there are over 80 cannabinoids that have been isolated from cannabis, all with varying effects, making them the subject of careful research.  The presence of cannabinoids, as the active ingredients in cannabis, is a direct indicator of the potency of a sample. (1)


  • Cannabidiol (CBD) is “non-psychoactive” (in that it does not produce the euphoria, time dilation, or anxiety normally produced by THC) and has been shown to be extremely valuable in the treatment of seizure disorders such as MS and Epilepsy. Its lack of psychoactivity makes it ideal in treating children, the elderly and patients that prefer to remain clear headed and focused. CBD is often as effective as THC in the management of pain and tumors. CBD also lowers blood sugar, and has been used in the treatment of Diabetes. CBD has a calming effect, and is useful in the treatment of stress related disorders and sleep loss. (2)
  • Cannabinol (CBN) is an oxidation product of THC. It normally forms when THC is exposed to oxygen and heat. A high level of CBN often reflects cannabis that is old or has been exposed to significant heat. CBN is known to be very slightly psychoactive and more strongly sedative than other known Cannabinoids.  As such, samples with significant CBN (approaching 1% by weight) can be useful to treat insomnia.  CBN is also somewhat effective as an anti-emetic and anticonvulsant. (2)
  • Cannabigerol (CBG) is non psychoactive, and has been shown to stimulate the growth of new brain cells, including in the elderly; it should be noted that genuinely neurogenic compounds are extremely rare. CBG also stimulates bone growth, is antibacterial and anti-tumor, and combats insomnia. (2)
  • Cannabichromene (CBC) is also non psychoactive, and has been shown to be about ten times more effective than CBD in treating anxiety and stress. It also displays efficiency in treating inflammation, pain relief and is both anti-viral and anti-tumor. CBC has been shown to stimulate the growth of bone tissue. (2)
  • Cannabidiolic (CBD-A), until recently, acid was much more commonly found in higher concentrations in Ruderalis than in Cannabis. In the last few years, strains of Cannabis have been hybridized that produce more CBDA than THCA, including “Cannatonic-C6” and “ACDC.” CBDA has been shown to be both anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor. (2)
  • Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) (commonly referred to as “Δ9-THC,” “D9-THC,” “d9-THC” or simply “THC”) is a neutral cannabinoid, well known for being strongly psychoactive. Of all the scientific discoveries that have been made about THC, probably the single most important was how THC enabled scientists to discover the existence of the Endocannabinoid system in vertebrate animals (including humans): a critical part of physiology that, up until then, was unknown.  THC has been shown to be effective in the treatment of a variety of ailments and disorders including pain, tumors, nausea and ADHD. (2)
  • Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THC-A), like other acid cannabinoids, is not psychoactive. THC-A is strongly anti-inflammatory, encourages appetite, is anti-tumor, combats insomnia, and is antispasmodic.  THC-A is the most abundant terpenoid (and Cannabinoid) in the vast majority of Cannabis grown in the U.S., reaching levels over 30% of dry weight for flowers from female, unpollinated plants (sensomilla).  Many “high THC” strains, when grown and harvested optimally, produce about 15% THC-A by dry weight, though this can vary widely. (2)


  • Linalool is simple terpene alcohol, probably best known for the pleasant floral odor it gives to lavender plants. It is also known as β-linalool, licareol and linalyl alcohol. Linalool has been isolated in several hundred different plants including lavenders, citrus, laurels, birch, coriander and rosewood. Linalool has been used for several thousands of years as a sleep aid. Linalool is a critical precursor in the formation of Vitamin E. It has been used in the treatment of both psychosis and anxiety, and as an anti-epileptic agent. It also grants relief from pain and has been used as an analgesic. Its vapors have been shown to be an effective insecticide against fruit flies, fleas and cockroaches. (2)
  • Beta-caryophyllene is a sesquiterpene found in many plants including Thai basils, cloves and black pepper, and has a rich spicy odor. Research has shown that β–Caryophyllene has affinity for the CB2 endocannabinoid receptor. β–Caryophyllene is known to be anti-septic, anti-bacterial, antifungal, anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory. (2)
  • β-Myrcene is a monoterpene, and for a wide variety of reasons, one of the most important terpenes. It is a precursor in the formation of other terpenes, as well. β-Myrcene is found fresh mango fruit, hops, bay leaves, eucalyptus, lemongrass and many other plants. β-Myrcene is known to be anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, and used in the treatment of spasms. It is also used to treat insomnia, and pain. It also has some very special properties, including lowering the resistance across the blood to brain barrier, allowing itself and many other chemicals to cross the barrier easier and more quickly. In the case of cannabinoids, like THC, it allows it to take effect more quickly. More uniquely still, β-Myrcene has been shown to increase the maximum saturation level of the CB1 receptor, allowing for a greater maximum psychoactive effect. For most people, the consumption of a fresh mango, 45 minutes before inhaling cannabis, will result in a faster onset of psycho activity and greater intensity. β-Myrcene can be used in this same manner to improve uptake with a wide variety of chemical compounds. (2) Less well known is that fact that high β-Myrcene levels in cannabis (usually above 0.5%) result in the well known ‘couch lock’ effect of classic Indica strains of cannabis; Sativa strains normally contain less than 0.5% β-Myrcene. (2)
  • D-limonene is a cyclic terpene of major importance with a strong citrus odor and bitter taste. D-limonene was primarily used in medicine, food and perfume until a couple of decades ago, when it became better known as the main active ingredient in citrus cleaner. It has very low toxicity, and humans are rarely ever allergic to it. Medicinally, Limonene is best known for treating gastric reflux and as an anti-fungal agent. It’s ability to permeate proteins makes it ideal for treating toenail fungus. Limonene is also useful in treating depression and anxiety. Limonene also assists in the absorption of other terpenoids and chemicals through the skin, mucous membranes and digestive tract. It’s also been shown to be effective anti-tumor while at the same time being an immunostimulant. Limonene is one of two major compounds formed from α-Pinene. (2)
  • Humulene is a sesquiterpene also known as α-humulene and α–caryophyllene; an isomer of β–caryophyllene. Humulene is found in hops, cannabis sativa strains, and Vietnamese coriander, among others. Humulene gives beer its ‘hoppy’ aroma. It is anti-tumor, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anorectic (suppresses appetite). It has commonly been blended with β–caryophyllene and used as a major remedy for inflammation, and is well known to Chinese medicine. (2)
  • α-Pinene is one of the principle monoterpenes, and is important physiologically in both plants and animals, and to our environment. α-Pinene tends to react with other chemicals, forming a variety of other terpenes (like D-Limonene) and other compounds. α-Pinene has been used for centuries as a bronchodilator in the treatment of asthma; ever notice how your lungs seem to open up when hiking through a pine forest in the warm summer? α-Pinene is also anti-inflammatory. It’s found in conifer trees, orange peels among others, and known for it’s sharp sweet odor. α-Pinene is a major constituent in turpentine. (2)

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