Powerful Cannabinoids In Cannabis That Are Not THC

Cannabis contains over 500 distinct compounds, which include cannabinoids, terpenoids, flavonoids, and omega fatty acids. Cannabinoids are compounds unique to cannabis, and there have been over 100 different cannabinoids identified. 

The medicinal and psychoactive effects that we associate with marijuana are caused by unique chemical structures of cannabinoids. Cannabinoids act on central nervous system by imitating endocannabinoids, molecules which occur naturally in the human body. By binding to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain or spinal cord they facilitate communication between cells to affect everything from memory to pain and pleasure responses. The major psychoactive ingredient in marijuana is delta-g-tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly referred to as THC (although other naming systems refer to it confusingly as delta-t-THC). Other cannabinoids, in addition to THC, have medicinal or psychoactive elements.

For years the THC content in a bud was really the only thing anyone cared about. Marijuana is no longer all about THC. Little by little cannabis connoisseurs are discussing the other molecules that influence the flavors and effects of marijuana. Cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN), cannabavarin (THCV), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), delta-8-THC, cannabicyclol (CBL), cannabitriol (CBT), and cannabielsoin are among the many different naturally-occurring cannabinoids. Most are known to have psychoactive and/or pharmacological properties just like many other synthetic cannabinoid analogs.

Some cannabinoids are mainly antidepressants, anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, anti emetic, while others may even help protect the nervous system. Actually, we are just beginning to discover the potential of cannabinoids and all their possible applications, mainly in the context of some cancers, as well as other degenerative diseases.

We can classify the cannabinoids into four major groups: natural cannabinoids from plants (phytocannabinoids), natural endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids produced by the human body and securing biological functions), cannabinoids synthesis (potentially dangerous, as there is very little information on its effects), and mimetic or cannabimimetic cannabinoids (naturally occurring molecule or synthetic, replicating the action of cannabinoids on CB1 and / or CB2 receptors).

Here are the five cannabinoids  that you need to know about.

Tetrahidrocannabivarin (THCV)

THCV increases the speed and intensity of the effects of THC, but also causes the effect to diminish more rapidly. The THCV potency gives a potent THC causing a stronger and more rapid “high” effect. THCV is found in some strains of marijuana, native to Asia and South Africa. The UV rays of mountain altitudes encourage the formation of THVC in the plant. Surprising for a cannabis component, THCV is actually being investigated as an anti-obesity drug. Unlike THC which induces the munchies, this cannabinoid suppresses appetite. THCV has been shown useful at reducing tremors resulting from Parkinson’s Disease and other neurological disorders.

Medicinal uses of THCV:

  • Reduces appetite: treatment for overweight and obesity cases
  • Treatment of type 2 diabetes
  • Analgesic anti pain, particularly in the case of neuropathy
  • Antiepileptic: Lessens seizures and convulsions
  • Stimulates bone growth

Cannabidiol (CBD)

CBD is the current poster child for the medicinal marijuana movement in the United States. It is rapidly becoming as well-known as THC. This cannabinoid has received much attention due to its powerful physical effects and to the fact that it is the second most common cannabinoid in marijuana after THC. CBD actually lacks any noticeable psychoactive effects and does not really intereact with the body’s cannabinoid receptors. CBD is used to treat pain, inflammation, stress and epilepsy. It is useful for treating nausea associated with chemotherapy, lowers blood sugar and is calming for those suffering insomnia or anxiety.

Medicinal Uses of CBD:

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  • Analgesic: reduces real pain, for this case, the CBD is the most efficient cannabinoid
  • Anti-inflammatory: reduces inflammation
  • The CBD poseepropiedades anti-tumor, antimetastatic, limiting progression of some cancers (particularmentede the prostate, breast, colon, brain …). The CBD is also antioncogéno, combating the appearance of tumors.
  • Anxiolytic and anti-depressant: reduce anxiety symptoms, bringing calmness and relaxation.
  • Antiemetics: reduces nausea and vomiting
  • Antipsychotics reduce psychosis (including delusions and hallucinations), helps fight schizophrenia
  • Treatment of multiple sclerosis (SEP) and of fibromyalgia
  • Powerful muscle relaxant
  • Helps combat insomnia
  • Protects against cerebral degeneration (Alzheimers …)
  • Relieves Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Antiepileptic: reduce seizures and convulsions
  • Antidiabetic: lowers blood sugar levels
  • Antispasmodic: It prevents spasms and convulsions
  • Anti-ischemic: reduces the risk of clogged arteries
  • Antibacterial: removes some bacteria, limiting their movement and reproduction (bacteriostatic), in a more effective way than THC.
  • Anti-psoriasis helps combat skin disease
  • Fights against acne
  • Hypotensive: reduces blood pressure
  • Anti-prokinetic: slows the contractions of the small intestine, helps fight Crohn’s disease (but increases habituation to Remicade) and irritable bowel disease.
  • Antioxidant fighting against free radicals (CBD is more antioxidant than vitamins C or E)
  • Reduces the urge to smoke tobacco
  • Stimulates bone growth
  • Too high levels of CBD may cause sedation (sleep).

Cannabigerol (CBG)

Cannabigerol (CBG) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that is often found in marijuana plants. The acid form of Cannabigerol is a precursor of both THCA and CBDA and is indeed why the CBG is found in low amounts (<1%) in the plant when present, or if not, then these are exceptional cases. CBG possesses important antibiotic properties inhibiting the aggregation of platelets, reducing blood clotting.

CBG is found in highest concentrations in the textile hemp varieties that are rich in THC.CBG is essentially the stem cell of all cannabinoids- it is the precursor to THC, CBD, CBC and the rest. Recently scientists have discovered that CBG itself is potent medicine.

Medicinal Uses of CBG :

  • Powerful antibacterial and antibiotic: removes some bacteria and fungus. For this use, the CBG is more effective than THC, CBD and CBN!
  • The CBG anti-tumor and antimetastatic poseepropiedades limiting the progression of some cancers (squamous cell carcinoma …)
  • Analgesic, relieves pain, more efficiently than THC
  • Anti-inflammatory: reduces inflammation
  • Treatment of glaucoma: reduces intraocular pressure
  • Treatment of Crohn’s disease
  • Helps combat insomnia
  • Stimulates bone growth

Cannabichromene (CBC)

The Cannabichromeno (CBC) is a rare, non-psychoactive cannabinoid. When present in the marijuana plant, it is always in low amounts (<1%). The medical research shows that the CBC has significant anti-depressant effects, 10 times more potent than the CBD. The CBC promotes relaxation and enhances the analgesic effect of THC, particularly in cases of headaches. Helps sleep and also has anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties. Although the CBC is not psychoactive in pure form, it is possible for it to interact with THC to provide a more intense and pronounced effect. CBC is a more effective anti-inflammatory agent than the potent drug phenylbutazone, according to one study. It’s also anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. CBC slows tumor growth, stimulates bone growth and eases headaches.

Medicinal Uses of CBC:

  • Analgesic: reduces pain, the CBC is primarily effective in relieving headaches and migraines
  • Promotes the growth and survival of neural progenitor stem cells
  • Powerful anti depressant
  • The CBC anti-tumor and antimetastatic properties limit the progression of some cancers
  • Anti-inflammatory: reduces inflammation
  • Antimicrobial and anti-fungal: removes some bacteria and fungi, their proliferation and limits movement (bacteriostatic) more efficiently than in the THC and CBD do.
  • Helps fight insomnia
  • Stimulates bone growth
  • Tests on animals with high doses of CBC led to sedation (sleep)

Cannabinol (CBN)

When THC meets oxygen you get CBN. Have you ever smoked really old weed or some that was poorly cured? If so then you’re already familiar with the tranquilizing effects of this cannabinoid. It can be a result of bad storage or intensive handling, like when creating concentrates. CBN is generally formed when the THC is, for a time exposed to UV light and air oxygen, with a degradation rate related to the temperature, that is, the higher the temperature, the faster it will degrade. CBN has a very low psychoactive potency, equivalent to about 10% of the strength of THC. However, the CBN may cause feelings of dizziness, disorientation, fatigue and lassitude, and lower the heart rate. CBN makes you feel a little high, but all that heavy sleepiness overwhelms any psychoactive influence.

The presence of CBN alongside THC, seems to reduce the feeling of anxiety that some feel with high levels of THC. As the THC seems less potent when accompanied by CBN.

Medicinal Uses of CBN:

  • Analgesic: reduces pain, CBN, then, is three times more potent than aspirin and more effective than THC
  • Reduces symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Charcot disease or Lou Gehrig)
  • Anti-inflammatory: reduces inflammation
  • Antispasmodic: reduces spasms and convulsions
  • Antioxidant, fights against free radicals
  • Immunosuppressant: decreases the reactivity of the immune system (useful in cases of HIV, organ transplant …)
  • Stimulates bone growth
  • CBN levels that are too high can cause the following side effects: fatigue, lassitude, sleep

Although there are a host of other cannabinoids, these are still little known and studied. While cannabinoids get all the press, marijuana does contain over 100 terpenoids which are aromatic chemicals that can also be found in pine trees, citrus flora, and other odoriferous plants. Cannabis also has over 20 flavonoids which are chemicals common to most plant life. Some flavonoids (known as cannaflavins) are exclusive to cannabis. Most flavonoids are considered to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and could help prevent cancer and other major diseases.

21 New Cannabinoids Discovered

Exactly how many cannabinoids there are is still unknown. The main reason for this is that new substances are still being discovered every year by scientists. A research team from Canada managed to find 21 new cannabinoids in 2018. This brought the total number to no less than 132 fabrics and the end does not seem to be in sight.

Of course, it also helps that the lifelong ban on the cannabis plant is canceled by more and more countries, so that researchers can carry out their investigations in full legality.

Recently it appeared that terpenes (the substances that give the plant its scent) can also have a positive influence on the human body.

Originally published on 2.1.2018, updated 12.7.2020

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