Cannabinoid Information

Get educated about Cannabis
This page contains comprehensive information about the chemicals found in Cannabis and their various effects on different medical conditions. You can use the buttons below to switch between information tabs.
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Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found within the cannabis flower. Different cannabinoids have completely different effects on patients, so finding a strain of cannabis that combines the right compounds for your personal needs is important.
Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid

THCA is the primary constituent in raw cannabis. THCA converts to Δ9-THC when burned, vaporized, or heated at a certain temperature. THCA, CBDA, CBGA, and other acidic cannabinoids are primarily responsible for cannabis’ anti-inflammatory effects. This cannabinoid also acts as an antiproliferative and antispasmodic.


The most abundant cannabinoid present in marijuana, THC is responsible for cannabis’ most well-known psychoactive effects. THC acts as a partial agonist at the CB1 and CB2 receptors. The compound is a mild analgesic, or painkiller, and cellular research has shown that it has antioxidant activity.


New studies are showing that the use of CBD in conjunction with the correct dosage of THC can have enormous medical benefits. CBD acts as an antagonist at the CB1 and CB2 receptors, yet has a low binding affinity for both. This suggests that CBD’s mechanism of action is mediated by other receptors in the brain and body.


Tropical cannabis variants are generally found to possess higher levels of CBC. CBC is known to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, inhibit cell growth in tumor/cancer cells, and promote bone growth. The effects of CBC appear to be mediated through non-cannabinoid receptor interactions.


THCV is a cannabinoid found in only some strains of cannabis. Due to subtle structural differences, THCV produces very different effects than THC. These effects include a reduction in panic attacks, suppression of appetite, and the promotion of bone growth. THCV is a CB1 antagonist and partial CB2 agonist.


Like THCV, CBDV differs from CBD only by the substitution of a pentyl (5 carbon) for a propyl (3 carbon) sidechain. Although research on CBDV is still in its initial stages,  recent studies have shown promise for its use in the management of epilepsy. This is due to its action at TRPV1 receptors and modulation of gene expression.

Cannabidiolic Acid

CBDA, similar to THCA, is the main constituent in cannabis with elevated CBD levels. CBDA selectively inhibits the COX-2 enzyme, contributing to cannabis’ anti-inflammatory effects. Like CBD, CBDA is non-psychoactive, and early tests indicate that the chemical may have cancer-fighting properties.


CBN is a mildly psychoactive chemical that is produced from the degradation of THC. There is usually little to no CBN in a fresh plant. CBN acts as a weak agonist at both the CB1 and CB2 receptors, with greater affinity for CB2 receptors than CB1. The degradation of THC into CBN is often described as creating a sedative effect.


A non-psychoactive cannabinoid, CBG’s antibacterial effects can vastly alter the effects of cannabis. CBG is known to slow bacterial growth, reduce inflammation, (particularly in its acidic CBGA form,) inhibit cell growth in tumor/cancer cells, and promote bone growth. It acts as a low-affinity antagonist at the CB1 receptor.

Terpenes are chemicals responsible for the unique scent found on cannabis medication. Despite a limited amount of available research, scientists have begun to discover that Turpenes play an important roll in the physiological and psychological effects of cannabis.
α Pinene

α Pinene accounts for cannabis’ familiar odor, often associated with pine trees and turpentine. α Pinene is the most common naturally occurring terpenoid and acts as both an anti-inflammatory and a bronchodilator.


Linalool has a floral scent reminiscent of spring flowers, but with spicy overtones. It possesses sedative properties and is an effective anxiety and stress reliever. It has also been used an analgesic and anti-epileptic.


Myrcene is the most prevalent terpene and is found in most varieties of cannabis. Strains containing over 0.5% of myrcene have a sedative effect, while strains containing less than 0.5% myrcene have an energizing effect.


Limonene is a dominant terpene in strains with a pronounced Sativa effect. Limonene aids in the absorption of other terpenes through the skin and mucous membranes, and may be used to treat anxiety.


Ocimene is frequently used in perfumes for its pleasant odor. In nature, this terpene contributes to a plant’s defenses and possess antifungal properties. It possesses a sweet, woody, and fragrant aroma.


Terpinolene has been shown to exhibit antioxidant and anticancer effects in rat brain cells. Studies with mice show that terpinolene has a sedative effect when inhaled. It is responsible for the floral scents in certain strains.


Terpineol is known for its pleasant smell and is often used in soaps and perfumes. It is known to have relaxing effects. Terpineol is often present in strains containing high levels of pinene, but may be difficult to detect.


Valencene is present in Valencia oranges and contributes to cannabis’ citrus aroma. Strains with high concentrations of valencene may have stronger anti-inflammatory and insectifugal properties.

β Caryophyllene

β Caryophyllene is the only terpene known to interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. It produces anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. Caryophyllene also contributes to the spiciness of black pepper.


Also present in geraniums, geraniol emits a rosey scent that makes it a popular perfume additive. It is an effective mosquito repellent and shows a potential protective effect against neuropathy.

α Humulene

α Humulene contributes to the “hoppy” aroma of cannabis. This terpene acts as an appetite suppressant and exhibits potent anti-inflammatory activity. It has also shown anti-bacterial and anti-tumor properties.

Cannabis has been shown to help many serious physical and mental conditions with lower rates of addiction compared with other treatment options. Below are details on how cannabis can improve specific medical issues.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) released a publication on medical cannabis which acknowledged that “recent animal studies have shown that marijuana extracts may help kill certain cancer cells and reduce the size of others.” Furthermore, one cell culture study suggests that purified extracts from whole-plant marijuana can slow the growth of cancer cells from one of the most serious types of brain tumors.


Cannabidiol (CBD), has been shown to be effective for seizure relief and reduction because it works as an anti-convulsant. CBD also enhances the efficacy of several pharmaceutical medications prescribed for the treatment of seizures. While CBD does not work for everyone, many users experience symptom relief immediately after using it. CBD is non-psychoactive and will not cause feelings of disorientation like THC.


Medical cannabis allows those suffering from HIV and AIDS to consume calories, improving their overall quality of life, because it effectively stimulates the appetite. The use of medical cannabis has been shown to relieve the nausea and pain that accompanies the disease itself and is exacerbated by the strong medications prescribed to treat it. Medical cannabinoid treatment is already a popular choice among HIV patients.


Modern research on CBD has found that it suppresses the immune response in mice and rats that is responsible for a disease resembling arthritis, protecting them from severe damage to their joints and significantly improving their condition. Cannabis has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to improve mobility and reduce inflammation. CBD may have fewer side effects then traditional medication.

Multiple Sclerosis

Research shows cannabis to be an effective therapy for MS patients because it not only treats many of the symptoms, but studies show that multiple cannabinoids slow the neurodegenerative processes that lead to disability. Due the its effects on muscle spasms, tremors, fatigue and depression, cannabis is a fairly common treatment option for MS patients. MS is a qualifying condition for medical cannabis in many states.

Chronic Pain

Medical cannabis provides effective relief from migraines because it is made up of cannabinoids that are designed to bind to the same endocannabinoid receptors in the human brain responsible for pain, memory and appetite. Because the medical cannabinoids react, sometimes seamlessly, with the endocannabinoid receptors in the brain and body, they are able to relieve symptoms caused by a variety of different ailments, including migraines.


Studies have shown that THC can relieve intraocular pressure (the main cause of gloucoma), thereby reducing damage to the optic nerve. However it may also reduce blood flow to the optic nerve which can have negative effects. THC can be used to relieve symptoms like eye pain, headaches, nausea and vomiting. Like THC, CBG alleviates intraocular pressure by increasing fluid drainage. CBN also slows progression and relieves pain.


Medical cannabis provides effective relief from migraines because it is made up of cannabinoids that are designed to bind to the same endocannabinoid receptors in the human brain responsible for pain, memory and appetite. Because the medical cannabinoids react, sometimes seamlessly, with the endocannabinoid receptors in the brain and body, they are able to relieve symptoms caused by a variety of different ailments, including migraines.


A 2014 study by researchers in New Mexico suggested that PTSD symptoms can be reduced by up to 75 percent with the use of cannabis. Other reports suggest that THC and CBD may help to block or inhibit the painful memories of the traumatic events. Effectively, these cannabinoids work to allow the subject to naturally and beneficially suppress the memories of traumatic or frightening events.

Information provided by SCLabs and CRESCOlabs