Updated: Mar 31
We’ve discussed CBD and THC in enough detail in previous postings, we felt it was time to shine a light on some of the other players in the phytocannabinoid world. Although we call them “minors” due to their small-percentage makeup of the cannabinoid profiles of Cannabis s., they can have a large impact on the efficacy of cannabis products and potentiate benefits that don’t seem to occur as often without them being present.
Let’s start with the two biggest up-and-comers: CBG and CBC.
Due to their direct formation enzymatically within (mostly) the trichomes of the Cannabis plant, they are being found in much higher percentages as of late. In the case of CBG, using genetics and botany practices, researchers and growers were able to stop the Cannabis plant from forming other cannabinoids and instead halt production at the CBG level. We were lucky to be one of the first extractors to get access to large quantities of these new strains a few years ago and have not only loved working with this cannabinoid, but personally witnessed the positive effects it can have on our customers. Having many potential effects similar to CBD but with a lower propensity to cause drowsiness has led us to having an entire line of tinctures and gummies dedicated to this wonderful part of the phytocannabinoid family. Studies have shown it has helpful anti-inflammatory effects just like CBD does, but instead does so by effecting the CB2 receptor directly instead of indirectly. Ongoing studies have also shown it can be helpful for those suffering with MS (multiple sclerosis), ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), dry-skin syndrome, colon cancer and cancer-induced cachexia, and Crohn's disease. It has neuroprotective effects like those that are seen with THC and can even help with appetite suppression in those with obesity. Plant genetics are also close to giving us access to high CBC percentage Cannabis plants just as we’ve seen with CBG genetics recently. CBC acts as a CB2 agonist just as CBG does, but binds in an overlapping manner giving many of the same effects but also some that are all it’s own. On top of also being effective in treating the symptoms of Crohn’s disease, general inflammation, and powerfully neuroprotective it has also been shown to be helpful with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), neuropathy, chronic post-operative pain, and is a powerful agent against fungal proliferation. It is also believed to play a potentially significant role in assisting our bodies natural anti-tumor and anti-cancer processes. Even as a minor, it’s inclusion within strains of Cannabis that contain it have shown a positive correlation to the use of Cannabis as an anti-cancer agent in general. We are so excited to get access to these high-CBC genetics soon and are grateful to have access to put CBG and CBC in our products currently in a natural way.
As we’ve discussed before, there are well over a hundred cannabinoids known to exist either via x-ray crystallography or other means, but they are generated in such low quantities by Cannabis s., we essentially only know they are possible and sometimes occur. However, there are still more to discuss that have been seen in large enough quantities to purify and examine the effects, and that brings us to a change in the carbon tail.
-Varin, -butyl, and -biforol variants of THC, CBD, CBG, and CBC have all or partially been found in extracts from Cannabis s. Generally, the carbon chain connected to the lower phenol ring of the mentioned cannabinoids is made up of 5 carbons. The -varin variants’ chain contains 3 carbons, the -butyl variants contain 4 carbons, the -biforol variants contain 7 carbons. These chain-changes come originally from CBG having been enzymatically formed to make a variant (CBGV, CBGB, or CBGP) instead which trickles down to the other three. Differences in this carbon chain can drastically change the effect of the cannabinoid. THCP (Tetrahydrocannabiforol), for example, binds much tighter to the CB1 receptor causing the effect to be approximately 33 times stronger than tetrohydrocannabinol alone. Cannabinoids fit into our CB1 and CB2 receptors like a lock and key - the better the fit, the more effective. Changes to the carbon chain can affect the fit and give rise to different effects from the same “scaffolding” of a cannabinoid we have experience with already. We know the most about THCV, CBDV, CBCV, and CBGV, and all have similar traits to their non-varin counterparts, but bind much more loosely with the receptors they affect. THCV has been shown to be helpful with PTSD, alzheimers, parkinsons, MS, inflammation, Type II Diabetes, metabolic syndrome, seizures, nausea, and psychosis. CBDV has shown to reduce the frequency and variety of seizures, reduce inflammation, and assist with stabilization of pain and mood disorders. THCV and CBDV are also both speculated to be helpful with acne due to their antimicrobial disruption! Less is known about CBCV and CBGV, but since the active sites are not changed for these two cannabinoids, not much difference has been seen in studies. Little is known about the butyl and biphorol variants that have been found, but studies are currently ongoing. Due to their binding potential, they hold a great interest in the future of Cannabis.
Some other little-known cannabinoids that show up on a certificate of analysis now and again are CBL (cannabicyclol), CBE (cannabielsoin), CBT (cannabicitran), and CBO (cannabitriol). These have been seen in higher numbers than the other hundred-or-so abstract cannabinoids, but they remain found at low-enough concentrations to make research difficult. Much of what researchers have found is the possible origins within the plant of these cannabinoids. Cannabicyclol is thought to be a degradative product of CBC (just as CBN is to THC) and to have significant application towards the entourage effect, even at extremely minute amounts. Cannabielsoin is non-psychoactive, so it is thought to be some kind of CBD derivative and speculative to have similar effects, but more research is needed as a degradation pathway has also been shown possibly stemming from THC. Cannabicitran’s precursor has been found to be CBD, but more research is needed concerning possible effects. Cannabitriol is structurally similar to THC, so effects may be similar but more research and clinical information is needed before anything can be known for certain.
As discussed, CBN is a degradative product of THC, due to either oxidative stress, heat, or UV radiation. There are a few studies that have been conducted or are ongoing that suggest CBN can be a great help to those with insomnia, pain management, has neuroprotective properties, and can help reduce inflammation. Since it is a degradative product, it can’t be genetically targeted in the Cannabis plant (at least not with currently known enzymes), but it is found in extracts such as distillate cannabinoid oil. CBN also seems to be very dose-dependent and changes greatly from person to person. Some subjects of studies done have found that the same dose that causes restful sleep in some causes insomnia and restlessness in others.
Minor cannabinoids can make a huge difference in the effect a cannabis product can give to a consumer. They may be small in concentration but the reach they have to lift up CBD and THC and all the other cannabinoids is powerful. They are arguably one of the most important parts of true full spectrum products like our tinctures and we look forward to bringing you even more of them in the future!
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Next time we’ll be discussing the use of cannabinoids as topical applications and the benefits that have been found. See you then!