Skip to main content

Cannabinoids 101


What Are Cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are naturally occurring organic compounds found in the cannabis plant. These active compounds produce the drug-like bodily effects associated with weed use. They are responsible for making you feel “high,” whether it be psychoactively, through bodily relaxation or both. Cannabinoids are broken down into the following classes:

  • Cannabigerols (CBG)
  • Cannabichromenes (CBC)
  • Cannabidiol (CBD)
  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
  • Cannabinol (CBN)
  • Cannabinodiol (CBDL)
  • Other Cannabinoids Including Cannabicyclol (CBL), Cannabielsoin (CBE) & Cannabitriol (CBT)

TAC, or total active cannabinoids, is a sum of all of the active compounds of a weed strain. It accounts for more than just THC and CBD, the two most well known ones.

Endocannabinoid System

The human body has its own internal endocannabinoid system that exists even without the use of cannabis products. Naturally occurring endocannabinoids in the body interact with enzymes and receptors to regulate several bodily functions.

For example, THC is a cannabinoid that activates the CB1 receptors in our brain. On the contrast, the cannabinoid CBD restricts activity in the CB1 receptors and also binds to other parts of the body, including 12 targets in the brain alone.

The Most Common Cannabinoids

△9THC (Delta 9 THC) | Tetrahydrocannabinol

Pain Relief, Increased Appetite, Nausea Relief, Antioxidant, Muscle Relaxation & Spasm Relief

THC, the most common cannabinoid present in weed, is also by far the most well-known. In addition, this compound acts as a mild painkiller, and is responsible for the head high effects of marijuana.

△8THC (Delta 8 THC) | Tetrahydrocannabinol

Pain & Anxiety Relief, Increased Appetite, Nausea Relief, Neural Protection

This variant of Delta 9 THC has shown to be effective in reducing nausea and vomiting, as well as improving appetite, with a lower psychotropic potency than that of Delta 9 THC. Along with its painkilling properties, it can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and protect neurons. As a result, this makes it helpful in treatment of conditions such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimers, and Multiple Sclerosis, among others.

THCa | Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid

Anti-Inflammation, Slows Cancer Cell Growth, Nausea Relief, Neural Protection

THCa is the main component of raw cannabis, contained within the trichomes. THCa is converted to Delta 9 THC when it is burned, vaporized or otherwise heated up.

THCv | Tetrahydrocannabivarin Uncommon Cannabinoids

Anxiety Relief, Regulation of Blood Sugar, Appetite Suppressant

THCv is a minor cannabinoid only found in some strains. In short, THCv produces very different effects than THC, including less panic attacks, appetite suppression and bone growth.

CBC | Cannabichromene

Anti-Inflammation, Slows Cancer Cell Growth, Pain Relief, Neural Protection, Acne Improvement

CBC is known for its antifungal properties, as well as it’s ability to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, slow the growth of cancer cells and help bone growth. Further, the effects of CBC increase dramatically when absorbed alongside THC.

CBD | Cannabidiol The Most Popular Cannabinoids

Anxiety Relief, Nausea Relief, Muscle Relaxation, Drowsiness, Antioxidant, Pain Relief, Decrease in Seizures & Spasms

CBD has tremendous potential medical uses, especially when an ideal ratio of CBD to THC is used to treat certain conditions. On its own, CBD does not produce a head high. It is widely used to treat seizures, and research suggests that it may also help slow the growth of tumors.

CBDa | Cannabidiolic Acid

Anti-Inflammatory, Slows Cancer Cell Growth, Relieves Nausea, Reduces Anxiety

Similar to THCa, CBDa is the main component of raw cannabis containing high levels of CBD. CBDa selectively inhibits enzymes that contribute to the anti-inflammatory effects of weed.

CBDv | Cannabidivarin


Recent studies suggest CBDv has potential for use in the management of Epilepsy.

CBG | Cannabigerol

Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Inflammatory, Slows Cancer Cell Growth

The anti-bacterial effects of CBG can alter the overall effects of cannabis. For example, CBG is known to slowly reduce the growth of bacteria and reduce inflammation, delay growth of cancerous tumor cells and promote bone growth with no head high.

CBGA | Cannabigerolic Acid

Anti-Inflammatory, Neural Protection, Slows Cancer Cell Growth

CBGa is formed when two organic compounds contained in the cannabis plant (olivetolic acid and geranyl pyrophosphate) are combined. In addition, CBGa is a crucial building block in forming THCa, CBDa, CBCa and CBG.

CBN | Cannabinol

Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Convulsant, Drowsiness

To clarify, CBN is not produced by metabolism within the cannabis plant and is instead produced as the result of the breakdown of THC. It is not psychoactive on its own, but when absorbed alongside THC and CBD, has mildly psychoactive effects. Above all, the breakdown of THC into CBN creates a powerful sleep aid, responsible for the “couch lock” feeling you may be familiar with. In addition, CBN is potentially useful in treating burns as it reduces thermal sensitivity.

Cannabinoids vs. Terpenes

Unlike cannabinoids, terpenes are not active chemicals. Terpenes makeup the smell and flavor profile of the plant and are not processed by the body the same way as cannabinoids. To sum it up, the entourage effect is the theory that cannabinoids work together alongside terpenes to yield effects that are unique to that combination of compounds. It is the reason why you may have a completely different experience using two different strains with a similar TAC number.

In short, cannabinoids act as the driver of a bus, while terpenes are the wheels. The terpenes aid in the effects that are made possible by the cannabinoid content.

Visit Smyth Cannabis Co. Today

Smyth Cannabis Co. products are made with our own hand-trimmed flower grown right here in Lowell, MA. Our 15,000 square foot cannabis growing facility is controlled to the last detail. Our flower is always properly cured and hand trimmed for quality, and we grow dozens of strains at maximum strength and efficiency. Located right off of I-495, our adult-use dispensary offers the highest quality products, including flower, pre-rolls, edibles, concentrates and more.

Whether you’re an experienced user or just getting started, our team of friendly budtenders will help you find a strain best suited for you. Visit us in Lowell or check out our menu online to see what’s available today!

It is important to note that the above information is for educational use only and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Smyth Cannabis Co. does not guarantee the accuracy of any of the above information. Individual results will vary. All Smyth Cannabis Co. products are grown for recreational use and do not claim to possess any medical benefits. Smyth Cannabis Co. is a recreational-only dispensary and does not employe medical professionals. Consult your physician before using cannabis for any medical purpose.