Source of Cannabinoids close up

Top 5 Cannabinoids - What are They? What do they Do?

Source of Cannabinoids close up

Before we inspect the top 5 Cannabinoids in Marijuana, let's establish.... 

  • What exactly is a Cannabinoid, anyhow? 
  • How do they work in the human body?

The term “cannabinoid” refers is a class of molecules that are found in the Cannabis plant.  To date there are currently more than one hundred known cannabinoids, with surely more yet to be discovered. Each cannabinoid varies slightly in chemical structure, shape and size.  In this article we focus on the five most important Cannabinoids used in medicine today.  Before we dive in, we will note that many researchers are finding that whole plant extracts containing a variety of Cannabinoids seem to provide the most benefits. 


When you smoke, Vape, or ingest a Cannabis edible, the Cannabinoid ingredients are absorbed into the bloodstream and are transported to the entire body. 


The two known types of cannabinoid receptors are called CB1 and CB2. Both are found throughout the body, but are most common in the brain and immune system. When cannabinoids activate CB1 or CB2 receptors, they change the way the body functions. CB1 receptors are responsible for marijuana's psychoactive effects.


Cannabinoid receptors, located in cells throughout the body, are part of the Endocannabinoid system which modulates physiological processes, including appetite, sensation, mood, immune system, circulatory system and memory and more.

Cannabinoid receptors are activated by endocannabinoids produced naturally in the human body, plant cannabinoids (such as Marijuana's THC and CBD). and synthetic (artificially made) cannabinoids (HU-210). 


Medicinally, if the body's own endocannabinoid system is not working properly, for whatever reason.

There are two known types of cannabinoid receptors, but it looks like there may be more types.  CB1 type receptor is found mainly in the brain, central nervous system tissues, with lesser amounts in the lungs, liver and kidneys. The CB2 receptor is found in immune system cells. There is speculation that a third cannabinoid receptor may exist in blood vessels, lymph system and possibly other cell types.

Cannabigerol (CBG)

CBG – The Next Big Cannabinoid after CBD


Phytocannabinoid-Terpenoid Entourage Effect

Cannabinoids and other compounds in Marijuana (such as Terpenes) interact and cause a different effect as compared to isolates.  For example, THC taken alone may cause paranoia side effects, however THC taken with peppercorns mitigates paranoid feelings. 


"Pepper contains the terpenes myrcene, α-Pinene (alpha-pinene) and the terpenoid (a modified terpene) caryophyllene.  Pinene has been used for asthmatic patients as a bronchodilator, and, beta-caryophyllene which has been researched for help with arthritis, multiple sclerosis and HIV-associated dementia as well as treatment with anxiety and depression. In other words, the terpenoids found in pepper could help with the THC-induced symptoms felt from the phytocannabinoids found in marijuana." -  Ethan Russo in the British Journal of Medicine


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Cannabinoids Molecular Structure



#1  THC or Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol

This Cannabinoid is the psychoactive component that gives Marijuana its naughty reputation. THC is also well established by researchers worldwide to treat many conditions and symptoms with minimal side effects.


Psychological effects of THC are described as relaxing, euphoric, stress reducing, inspiring and cerebral.  Side effects include paranoia and anxiety attacks.  THC taken with CBD and other Cannabinoids seems to have a greater medicinal effect, while simultaneously lessening the incidence of psychosis.  Strains high in THC are commonly recommended by Physicians in California to treat:

  • Stress Disorders
  • Anorexia
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Migraine
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
Never say Never


#2 CBD - Cannabidiol

Recently, attention has shifted from THC to another compound in marijuana called CBD. There is a recent avalanche of research findings that point to CBD's outstanding efficacy in a wide variety of conditions and disease symptoms. 

Using techniques of cross breeding, strains with 15% or more CBD with little THC have come onto the market.  As CBD is non -psychoactive, people can now be treated with a Cannabis medicine without getting high.  CBD Marijuana medicines are often recommended by Californian Physicians in the treatment of:

  • Psychosis
  • Anti Inflammatory
  • AIDS
  • Chronic Pain
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Cancer
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Bone disease, healing


#3 CBC - Cannabichromene

CBC is generally the third most common cannabinoid in the marijuana strains.  In some strains, CBC may even be dominance to CBD. Just like CBD, cannabichromene is non-psychoactive.  CBC is effective on its own, but research indicate it works best with THC, CBD and / or other Cannabinoids. 

  • Anti-Inflammatory (works better with some THC)
  • Cancer Anti-Tumor
  • Anti-Depressant
  • Anti-Fungal
  • Brain and nerve cell regeneration


CBN - Cannabinol

This cannabinoid becomes more abundant in Marijuana over time.  As pot ages, some of the THCa converts into CBD. However, this process does not necessarily degrade the medicinal value of the Herb.  As an appetite stimulant, CBN was found to be superior to THC and CBD in animal studies. CBN is indicated for:

  • Antibiotic
  • ALS
  • Anti-Asthmatic
  • Sedative
  • Glaucoma
  • Appetite Stimulant
  • Pain killer

    #5 CBG - Cannabigerol

This cannabinoid forms early in the Cannabis plant growth cycle.  It is usually not very abundant and is non-psychoactive.  The Stoner's Cookbook is calling CBG the next big Cannabinoid.  Growers are looking a various Hemp varieties to extract CBG for medicinal use in quantity. CBG is especially an effective antimicrobial agent.  CBG is indicated for:

  • Antibiotic
  • Skin, Psoriasis
  • Pain Reliever (more potent than THC)
  • Anti-Tumor
  • Antidepressant
  • Tranquilizer
  • Anti-Psychosis


420EVALUATIONSONLINE: If you would like to try a Marijuana strain or medicine containing the top 5 Cannabinoids listed here, you will most probably need a Medical Recommendation by a licensed medical marijuana doctor online. We provide online access to California licensed physicians that can give you a Marijuana Recommendation to treat your symptoms or conditions. Click here for an online Evaluation.  It's free to apply and patients pay only when they are legally approved.

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