The Major Role of Minor Cannabinoids

Over the years I have often asked myself why some strains of cannabis are more effective than others for certain ailments. As time passed, I began to learn that there was another chemical compound in cannabis aside from THC, something called CBD. A thorough understanding of CBD has become somewhat of the norm these days as has the fact that they are both “cannabinoids” although each has very different therapeutic effects. Finally, as I dug deeper, I learned about the minor cannabinoids and came to the realization that they are not so minor after all.

Many of you have become familiar with the various cannabinoids (cannabis-like compounds) contained within the cannabis plant. There are at least 110 different phyto-cannabinoids contained in the cannabis plant. The most well-known major cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the euphoric compound that “gets you high.” THC has a unique molecular composition relative to other cannabinoids as well as unique therapeutic and medicinal properties. THC is a bronchodilator , muscle relaxant, anti-spasmodicpowerful neuroprotectant, and antioxidant. Recent clinical evidence has shown THC to have anti-tumoral properties as well.

The other major cannabinoid is cannabidiol, or CBD, which also has a unique molecular composition as well as unique therapeutic and medicinal effects. CBD is best known for its relationship to the hemp plant, cannabis’s ultra-low THC cousin that historically has been used primarily for industrial purposes. CBD has been shown to safely and effectively treat nausea and vomiting, seizure disorders, inflammatory disorders and neurodegenerative disorders; it also has been effective in addressing anxiety and depression disorders; and there is evidence that it may have anti-tumoral properties. CBD has the greatest impact of all cannabinoids across a very wide range of inflammatory related disorders.

Out of the 110 or so other cannabinoids that have been identified, we know a decent amount of information on the therapeutic potential of about eight of the minor cannabinoids – these eight represent the most studied thus far, although the list seems to be growing every day. They are as follows:

  • CBG, Cannabigerol
    has been shown to slow bacterial growth, promote bone growth, help with insomnia, and it has anti-proliferative properties

  • CBGa, Cannabigerolic Acid
    has been shown to be anti-proliferative and to encourage apoptosis, as well as have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties

  • THCv, Tetrahydrocanabivarinic
    another psychoactive cannabinoid, has been shown to be an appetite suppressant and an effective stimulator of bone growth; it also may reduce panic attacks, and may help with Alzheimer’s

  • CBN, Cannabinol
    has been shown to help with insomnia, pain relief, the promotion of bone growth; has been shown to have anti-convulsive properties, and to be effective as an appetite stimulant

  • CBC, Cannabichromene
    has been shown to relieve pain, to have anti-epileptic properties, to reduce inflammation, to promote bone growth, and to have has anti-proliferative properties

  • CBDa, Cannabidiolic Acid
    has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, anti-bacterial properties, anti-nausea properties, and anti-proliferative properties

  • THCa, Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid
    has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, anti-nausea properties, neuroprotective properties, and anti-proliferative properties

  • Δ8–THC, Δ8-tetrahydrocannabinol
    is another psychoactive cannabinoid like THC, it has been shown to be antiemetic and to boost acetylcholine, deficiencies of which are thought to contribute to cognitive disorders, such as Alzheimer’s

The variation in therapeutic potential is wide amongst the phyto-cannabinoids that have been studied to date. Think about the potential of the other phyto-cannabinoids that have yet to be studied in-depth. There is a treasure trove of therapeutic potential for scientists to dive into to help further elucidate which compounds are most effective for different ailments. I believe that the full spectrum of cannabinoids, tailored to your DNA profile, will provide the best therapeutic option as a form of preventative medicine. The ability to tailor a “strain” or combination of cannabinoids based on a person’s DNA is a bit early, but that is one of the ultimate goals for cannabinoid wellness. However, the ability to identify the specific mechanism of action that provides therapeutic relief from a specified condition will be beneficial in understanding how to target the ECS and its components in seeking critical solutions to a host of unmet medical conditions.

These are exciting times as pre-clinical and clinical work is currently being undertaken on various cannabinoid compounds and I look forward to sharing more with you as the results are discovered.

Loren DeFalco
Partner & Director of Research

* The information contained in (or linked to) this post is deemed to be from reliable sources; however, CB1 Capital does not warrant its completeness or accuracy.

Loren DeFalco