When it comes to its structure, CBD isn't quite as simple as you may think. CBD oils and other CBD products primarily contain CBD, or cannabidiol, as the name suggests. However, there are a lot more compounds inside each CBD product than you’d initially imagine.
The main compounds you’ll find are known as cannabinoids, which is the class of compounds CBD belongs to. There are hundreds of different cannabinoids, and the specific ones present in each strain of hemp have an effect on the final CBD product, from the flavour to the smell and more.
To get a full understanding of how CBD works for you, it's important to understand what goes into your CBD, especially for new users. Keep reading for a complete guide on the cannabinoids you might find in your CBD oil.
CBD and the entourage effect
When creating premium CBD oils, CBD manufacturers seek out specific cannabinoid profiles in their products because of the entourage effect. The entourage effect, discovered by Raphael Mechoulam and S. Ben-Shabat, purports that the effects of CBD products become more pronounced when other cannabinoids are incorporated with them.
These cannabinoids contribute to the natural synergy of the product, leading to a more authentic representation of the hemp plant itself. Without cannabinoids, the effects of a CBD product would be much weaker. This leads to bad-quality CBD products, and a dissatisfying CBD experience.
A typical broad spectrum CBD product contains more than 40 cannabinoids besides CBD. These products also contain a number of flavonoids and terpenes. With whole plant products, you're also getting extra oils and waxes in the mix.
Despite the fact that "cannabinoids" automatically brings to mind "cannabis", cannabinoids aren't all psychoactive. None of the cannabinoids found in our CBD products will get you high. That’s why when you buy CBD with BeYou, you can check the chemical breakdown via our CBD batch testing page.
What are cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids, for those unaware (or those who skipped ahead!), are natural compounds found in every strain of the cannabis plant. They’re also found throughout many other natural systems, including the human body, but they were named after where they were first discovered.
There are over 400 different cannabinoids in existence, and each strain of marijuana has a different combination of them. The two most common cannabinoids are THC and CBD. THC is what causes a high and the other negative side effects associated with smoking cannabis, while CBD has no psychoactive properties.
But, that’s not all! The hemp plant is a rich, diverse ecology in itself, and that means there are countless other compounds present too. The most common of these compounds are known as terpenes and flavonoids. Let’s take a look at those quickly now.
What are terpenes?
Terpenes, like cannabinoids, are natural compounds found in the hemp plant. If your CBD oil is based on natural practices, it’ll often contain some terpenes—companies will even add more terpenes into CBD products to replicate the true hemp profile!
Terpenes are the aromatic compounds of the plant. In other words, they affect the smell and taste of the product. There are over 200 unique terpenes that might be present in strains of hemp.
While they mostly affect the smell and taste, some researchers have suggested that they also have effects outside of this.
Some of the most common terpenes include pinene, which gives the product a piney smell and taste, and limonene, a more citrus-flavoured terpene. There's also humulene, which has a taste like hops, and myrcene, which gives off an earthy, herbal scent
Like cannabinoids, terpenes are an important part of every batch of CBD products. It's important to understand how they differentiate from cannabinoids.
What are flavonoids?
Flavonoids, on the other hand, have a totally different effect on the plant and product.
Flavonoids are responsible for the beautiful blend of colours you’ll find in most plants. They also attract pollinators, filter UV rays to keep plants safe, and prevent plant-based diseases. In this way, they're very important to the actual growing process, before the hemp becomes CBD oil.
As they're a part of every plant, hemp or otherwise, flavonoids frequently end up in CBD products, although in small amounts. They're also not frequently tested for as other hemp compounds are. More research needs to be put toward flavonoids so we understand exactly how much effect they have on any given hemp strain.
What cannabinoids are found in CBD products?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is always going to be the primary cannabinoid in CBD oils. However, getting to know the other cannabinoids in CBD oil gives you a better understanding of how CBD does what it does. Below are some of the most common cannabinoids present in our broad spectrum CBD oils, whether it’s our CBD spray or our CBD drops. Brace yourselves—there are some big words incoming.
CBC is the byproduct of cannabigerolic acid, or CBGA. This is also where CBD and THC come from! CBG is usually the third-most prevalent cannabinoid in a given hemp strain beside CBD and THC. CBG doesn't bond well to CB1 receptors like CBD does, but it does bond to two other receptors well: the TRPV1 and TRPA1 receptors. But, what does that actually mean?
TRP sectors are also known as transient receptor potential channels. These are responsible for a few functions, the most common of which is temperature control. CBC’s effects on the TRP-sectors shows us one interesting thing: how cannabinoids can affect receptors that aren't part of the endocannabinoid system.
This opens the door to tons of new research avenues beyond the endocannabinoid system. It means we have much more to research than just one sector of the brain or body to fully understand how CBD and other cannabinoids work.
Tetrahydrocannabivarin (phew, that’s a mouthful), or THCV to keep it simple, has a homologous structure when paired with THC. Are you following us? We don't blame you if not—it's a lot of complex stuff we're dealing with here. Let's pick it apart a bit.
When we say two substances are homologous, we mean they have a shared ancestry. That means they have similar structures, yet with key differences that make them unique. When it comes to THC and THCV, the key difference is in the carbon side chain—namely, they each have a unique one.
What this results in is a big difference in the given effects. THC and most other cannabinoids affect the endocannabinoid receptors, but not THCV. THCV is actually an antagonist to the CB1 receptor, meaning it lowers the effectiveness of other cannabinoids in the CB1 receptor.
In this way, THCV works as a moderator for other cannabinoids. It keeps them in check, making sure you're not getting too much of one. Pretty fascinating stuff!
This one is easy to mix up with cannabidiol thanks to the similar name, but they are each distinct cannabinoids. As strange as it sounds, CBN is not a naturally occurring cannabinoid -- at least, it isn't naturally produced through growth. CBN is produced as THC goes through oxidation.
When THC is exposed to the air it starts to degrade. From this degradation, CBN is born. CBN is, therefore, similar to THC, although it's a lot less psychotropic—basically, it won't get you high.
You'll most frequently find high volumes of CBN in old hemp plants or baled-up, stored cannabis. However, every hemp or cannabis plant goes through some oxidation, meaning it can be found in trace amounts in just about every strain.
Because of this, you'll often find small amounts of CBN in CBD spray and other CBD products. Don't worry, though—it won't get you high.
Hey, remember earlier in this article when we mentioned cannabigerolic acid? No? That's okay, let us remind you.Cannabigerolic acid, or CBG acid, is the parent molecule that several cannabinoids come from, including Cannabigerol!
Cannabigerol molecules are different to cannabigerolic acid as they're, well, non-acidic. Cannabigerol is non-psychotropic, meaning it won't get you high. This is the case for just about every major cannabinoid present in CBD oils.
There are extremely low amounts of CBG inside CBD products. It's considered a minor cannabinoid, unlike the major players like CBD itself. Still, it'll be fascinating to see what else is learned about CBG as further research is put towards it.
It's time to learn more about CBD