CBD has gone from relative obscurity to market juggernaut in the span of a few years. A phytocannabinoid found within the hemp plant, it is widely used today in both oil and flower form to supply a hungry market with tinctures, rubs, smokable, dried flower, and many more. While research into its role in the Cannabinoid System is ongoing, attention is also being paid to the other phytocannabinoids that are seen in lab analysis of products in the marketplace. The supporting cast of CBD in modern-day hemp flower each has their own role to play and some may even replace CBD in popularity as time and research press forward. Let’s take a look at some of CBD’s most curious castmates.
Tetrahydrocannabinol takes a Back Seat
Tetrahydrocannabinol is commonly known as THC. Marijuana has long been famous due to the recreational ‘high’ produced by this potent molecule. Over the past 10 years, the legalization of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use has exploded with shops in dozens of states selling the fragrant, sticky plant.
Products that focus on CBD, however, contain very little THC in general. This is due to a law that requires growers of CBD focussed hemp to maintain a less than 0.3% of THC in their crops. While THC is a psychoactive molecule while CBD and other phytocannabinoids are not, it is worth mentioning seeing as THC was the ‘pioneer’ that created the opportunity for research into the many of the other phytocannabinoids found in CBD products today.
Cannabinol (CBN) Picks up the Pieces after THC has Degraded
CBN often cited as the first phytocannabinoid to be discovered. This molecule is created as the THC inside the plant decomposes. Research is currently underway to understand how CBN connects to the brain’s CB2 receptors in the Endocannabinoid System within the body. In the future, as the FDA confirms research that is being performed today, look for more interest in the potential sedative effects of CBN.
Cannabigerol (CBG) is the Prequel to THC and CBD
CBG is created as a precursor to both THC and CBD. Being so early to the party has meant that CBG is a lesser-known entity as most farmers who are growing hemp to market focus on everything that happens after CBG has formed. Due to this, there is often very little CBG in the CBD products that you’ll find today and in many cases less than 1%.
However, seeing as everybody likes a good prequel, there are some farmers and voices in the hemp community that are beginning to crossbreed plants in order to yield a higher density of CBG in their products.
Outside of some studies in Poland that investigated the effects of CBG on patients with glaucoma, this is one phytocannabinoid that is still in the early stages of research.
Cannabichromene (CBC) is Vying for a Greater Role
CBC may be the least studied of all the phytocannabinoids. That looks as though it is beginning to change. So far, studies of CBC on the effects of pain receptors in mice have involved combining CBC with CBD. A study in the United States has combined CBC with THC has started looking into inflammation and the endocannabinoid system’s response when assisted with this combination.
In the future, expect to see more research performed that is centered around this tiny giant.
Terpenoids add to the Joy of Hemp Flower
In addition to the phytocannabinoids, terpenes found in hemp add a special aromatic quality that can alter the taste and smell of CBD flower. Take a look a the list we compiled here. Terpenes are found in all plants and can range from the fresh zing of citrus fruit to the cleansing pallet of pine needles. Terpenes are the most dominant subset of chemicals found in plants and many CBD products utilize various terpenes to compliment their products.
The Entourage Effect: Setting the Stage
The ‘entourage effect’ refers to the synergistic efforts of all the phytocannabinoids and their combined role in the endocannabinoid system. Some researchers think that the combined effect of CBD, CBC, CBN, CBG, and THC represents more than simply the sum of their parts.
Time and more research will tell how significant the entourage effect actually is and the results remain to be seen. There is, however, a growing interest in the study of all phytocannabinoids even as the science behind them is in its infancy.
The point is that CBD is not a lone wolf but coexists with several other phytocannabinoids who each have their own distinct properties and characteristics. As we gain a deeper understanding of these role players, look for some of them to take greater prominence.