What Are Cannabinoids?

Ever wondered how weed works? It’s all thanks to compounds called cannabinoids. In this article, you’ll learn all about the compounds in marijuana like THC, CBD, and more!

The therapeutic properties of marijuana are thanks to chemicals in the plant’s resin called cannabinoids. Marijuana’s psychotropic effects, such as sensory distortions and hallucinations, are specifically thanks to one cannabinoid called THC. You are likely already familiar with THC, but have you heard of CBD yet? CBN? CBG?

We’re answering all of your questions and more in today’s article all about cannabinoids. Let’s go!

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Phytocannabinoids are cannabinoids from plants and they exist in more than just marijuana. Did you know that hops also contain cannabinoid compounds like CBD? In cannabis, phytocannabinoids are synthesized in little glands on the mature female flowers called trichomes. They kind of look like little mushroom towers with a tall stem and a round cap. When you pull out a fat nug and examine its crystallized-sugary exterior, you’re actually admiring the cannabinoids, and that’s where all the goods are stored.

There are over 120 different cannabinoid compounds found in cannabis, with THC and CBD being the primary rock-stars. Secondary cannabinoids include Cannabinol (CBN), Cannabigerol (CBG), which do not have psychoactive effects but are being studied for their potential health benefits.

Today, we’ll focus on our main two compounds, CBD and THC, which, as you’ll discover, are amazingly paradoxical. One gets you stoned, while the other doesn’t make you high and can even prevent medical problems. Let’s take a quick look at THC and then we’ll get more into CBD.

Delta-9 & Delta-8 THC

THC is short for Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol, which you’ve probably already heard of. If you have, then you know it’s the compound that gets you stoned. But, did you know that THC comes in two forms, delta-9, and delta-8 THC? Delta-9 is the common form found in marijuana, but Delta-8 is another form of THC with much less psychoactive effects. Less psychotropic effects make delta-8 THC safer for clinical therapies, and could help scientists formulate new types of medicines for cancer, nausea, and seizures that are less hypnotic.

Dont forget the Terps

Most strains are characterized by high THC concentration, with higher potency strains usually selling for higher prices. But there are other factors that determine the overall experience and effect you get out of weed.

If you’re more into flavors and customizing your experience than just getting blasted, you should check out our article about the compounds that give weed its flavors and specific effects, called terpenes.



CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is the second most common cannabinoid in cannabis. It’s the primary compound that characterizes hemp, which typically contains little to no THC. CBD doesn’t get you stoned and it doesn’t cause issues with sleep or anxiety like THC does. CBD has exploded in popularity in recent years due to its effects on epilepsy in children, and reports of it curing chronic diseases and even helping with symptoms of depression, pain, and heart health. Interestingly though, studies show that CBD can prevent the psychoactive effects of THC and could reduce the risks to mental health associated with chronic marijuana.

Learn More About Weed Compounds

This is not even the tip of the cannabinoid iceberg, but as you can tell, cannabinoids can be a complex topic. As marijuana research advances, we’ll be able to tell you a lot more about cannabinoids and their effects. So stay tuned! Thanks for reading!

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