CBD and THC dominate conversations surrounding cannabis and its medicinal properties. Given the role both compounds play in whether a crop is categorized as legal hemp or legally-grey marijuana and their presence in large quantities, this focus on them is somewhat justified. But it is also a fact that cannabis contains many other, less explored compounds in smaller amounts, and research surrounding them is starting to bear fruit.
The cannabis plant contains 200 different compounds, including terpenes and cannabinoids. In addition, other strains or subgenus affect people differently, depending upon the abundance or scarcity of specific compounds. For example, THC-rich species are categorized as marijuana, while those containing more CBD are generally classified as hemp. Aside from these two compounds, there are several others, including CBG, THCV, CBC, and CBN, all of which sport separate individual benefits for users.
CBG, also referred to as the “mother cannabinoid,” is another relatively abundant cannabinoid. CBG is a biological precursor to other cannabinoids like CBD and THC; a cannabis plant synthesizes the other cannabinoids through various internal processes that occur later in the plant’s growth cycle. We’ve known and studied CBG and its medical benefits for a while now; research from as early as 1990 investigated it for its ability to relieve intraocular pressure and help with the adverse effects of glaucoma.
CBG is a non-psychoactive compound, meaning it doesn’t interact with the CB1 endocannabinoid receptor that’s commonly known for its association with a “high.” Instead, CBG sports many health benefits, ranging from a potential treatment for rare diseases like Huntington’s to anti-inflammatory properties, neuroprotective properties, and more.
Because of its potential in treating both Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease, a derivative of the compound was granted orphan drug status in 2018 to encourage further inquiry and the eventual refinement of a treatment. It’s also being studied for its astounding effectiveness when combating aggressive brain tumors such as glioblastoma that resist traditional medicine. Also of note are its antibiotic properties, which are currently being explored as a potentially effective treatment for MRSA.
Cannabichromene is one of the many compounds that have increased attention as hemp-based products and extracts became available over the counter. While CBC doesn’t directly trigger a CB1 response or sport any direct psychoactive effects, it does interact with other receptors in the endocannabinoid system.
Most critically, it is known for increasing the release and uptake of the human body’s natural endocannabinoids, like Anandamide, by interacting with the receptors that impact pain perception. The result isn’t so much a “high” as natural mood elevation.
CBC is also being studied for its anti-inflammatory properties, cell function restoration, and properties as an anti-depressant. CBC may even boast potential as an anti-acne agent, as it acts to curb the effects of skin inflammation and resists the bacteria that causes acne.
Other cannabinoids are also being explored for their potential health benefits. Cannabinol (CBN) is known for similar effects as CBG; it acts against glaucoma in much the same way and helps prevent the degradation of brain tissue. CBN, unlike CBG, produces strong sedative effects, which hint at its potential as a cure or treatment for a variety of sleep disorders. THCV, meanwhile, has demonstrated potential for combating addiction and eating disorders, which may lead to breakthroughs in tackling the obesity epidemic. This possibility is further bolstered by the compound’s impact on natural blood sugar regulation mechanisms and its use in combating type 2 diabetes.