Top Cannabinoids: What are They? Their Effects and Legal Status

As understanding the cannabis plant seems to increase daily, it is essential to know what exactly brings the so much talked about effects. The fame marijuana has a direct effect on the top cannabinoids that occur in the plant. The one known psychoactive compound is THC which is responsible for the high people feel. What are cannabinoids? Cannabinoids are chemical compounds produced by the cannabis plant. They manifest their effects on the human body by interacting with the ECS. Then there are other compounds, which have their therapeutic effects on the human body. The most commonly known is CBD. This article will demystify the top of the compounds found in the cannabis plant. It will enlighten on the general information of the effects of cannabinoids and their legal state.

About Cannabinoids

For those wondering how many cannabinoids are there? Currently, at least 113 cannabinoids are present in the marijuana plant. The most commonly known are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), as they are the most abundant. For a while, only these two were thought to be the reason behind most of the plant’s medicinal benefits. This was due to restrictions on the marijuana plant. With increased research now taking place, scientists are discovering other compounds responsible for the medicinal benefits of marijuana. This article will concentrate on the top 10 cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant, including the big two, THC and CBD.

Where Do Cannabinoids Are Born?

All cannabinoids, terpenes, and essential oils are born in the manufacturing factory of the cannabis plant called the trichomes. Trichomes produce cannabinoids through the process called biosynthesis. Biosynthesis is the process in which enzymes break large complex molecules into smaller ones. The enzymes responsible for creating the cannabinoids, which we are familiar with include cannabidiol acid (CBDA) synthase, cannabichromene acid (CBCA) synthase, and tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THCA) synthase.

Cannabinoids & the Endocannabinoid System

It was until the late 1980s that scientists discovered the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Its distribution runs throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems. Its function is to regulate internal body processes to create homeostasis. Homeostasis is the balance of the internal chemical operations to acquire a stable state. The ECS system includes CB1 receptor sites primarily in the brain and CB2 receptors, mainly present in the rest of the body. The cannabinoids in marijuana bind to these receptor sites causing varying effects.

The cannabinoids create different effects, depending on the receptor sites to which they bind. As a result, Cannabis has versatile medicinal properties as it contains numerous top cannabinoids which bind to these sites. Initially, the cannabinoids are present as cannabinoid acids when the plant is in its raw state. To activate them into compounds recognizable by the body, they need to be heated. The heating process is known as decarboxylation. Decarboxylation removes the acid from the molecule turning it into a compound absorbable by the body. Decarboxylation occurs when you smoke marijuana or when you cook it to activate the compounds. As such consuming raw cannabis won’t get you high as the THC will still be inactive.

Major 10 Cannabinoids Produced by Cannabis

1. CBD-Cannabidiol

CBD is a natural oil present in marijuana plants and extracted for its medicinal effects. Unlike THC, CBD does not have psychoactive effects when consumed.

Effects of CBD

CBD administration can either be orally or in inhalation. The most common known effects of CBD include stress reduction, pain management. It also treats other variants of epilepsy. Despite discovering CBD in the 1940s, well-documented research is very minimal. Its impact on the brain is still on research-level as the dosages to acquire specific effects are lacking.

Where is CBD Legal?

Most laws on cannabis are directly related to the presence of THC. As such, CBD obtained from hemp plants containing less than 0.3% of THC is legal. They fall under hemp-derived products; therefore, CBD is legally manufactured and sold. Other states have stricter regulation of the CBD, as some require only CBD isolate products containing zero percent THC. The 2018 Farm Bill provided the legality of hemp-produced products. As such, CBD falls in this category; therefore, under Federal Law, it is legal.

2. THC – Tetrahydrocannabinol

THC is the top cannabinoid responsible for making people take marijuana for recreational activities. It is the one that produces the high felt after using the marijuana products. Furthermore, its content in hemp is what determines whether the hemp is legal or not. For hemp to be legal, it must contain less than o.3% THC others, it is legal. Its function on the cannabis plant is to perform the defensive duty against insects, damaging ultraviolet light, and other natural predators. It is mainly found in recreational and medicinal marijuana in varying quantities. In agricultural cannabis, it’s content it’s very insignificant to make any noticeable effects.

Effects of THC

The top benefit of THC is that it causes the high, the euphoric feeling you feel after consuming it. For those trying to add a few kilos, THC is an appetite stimulator. When consumed orally, it has antioxidant properties. Furthermore, it aids in relieving nausea, pain, and vomiting. Also, for those suffering from insomnia, THC is a reliable sleep aid and helps treat PTSD.

Where is THC Legal?

THC is legal in all states that have legalized the medicinal and/or recreational use of marijuana. In states where only the medicinal use is legal, permission papers from the doctor are a must; otherwise, you might end up in jail. But in those which have legalized recreational use, there is no problem. But then, under Federal law, THC is illegal, however in states where its legal prosecution is very rare.

3.THCV – Tetrahydrocannabivarin

THCV is similar to THC both in molecular structure and psychoactive properties. Although it produces effects that are different from THC. It has a boiling point of 428 oF; therefore, you will need to increase the temperature for vapers than you would for THC.

Effects of THCV

It is an appetite suppressant. It reduces the appetite. This is ideal for patients who want to lose weight. Therefore for those trying to increase their weight or who suffer from anorexia should avoid THCV. Research indicates that THCV can regulate blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance. As a result, it is a promising aid to diabetic patients.

Furthermore, it can treat anxiety without suppressing emotion. This is useful to PTSD patients who are prone to anxiety and multiple panic attacks. Also, it seems to alleviate symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease, such as suppressing tremors and minimize loss of motor control. Furthermore, it stimulates bone growth which is valuable for bone-related conditions such as osteoporosis and many others.

Where is THCV Legal?

Despite THCV being molecularly similar to THC, its effects on the body are different. As such, it is not a scheduled controlled substance in the United States. THCV is extracted from hemp, which contains less than 0.3% THC. It is federally legal. At the state level, it’s permitted in places where medical or leisure use of marijuana is legal.

4. THCA – Tetrahydrocannabinol Acid

THCA is the most common cannabinoid compound in the raw cannabis plant. It does not produce any psychoactive effects. But when exposed to heat, it undergoes the process of decarboxylation, which converts it into the intoxicating THC. Its production occurs in trichomes, responsible for producing the top cannabinoids and terpenes found in the cannabis plant. The trichomes are tiny glandular hairs that spread across the surface of the cannabis plant. The enzyme THCA synthase is responsible for converting CBGA into THCA and other cannabinoids.

Effects of THCA

THCA offers a wide range of medicinal benefits. Its benefits include anti-inflammatory, immunoregulatory, anti-tumor, and anti-emetic properties. Its anti-inflammatory effects are exhibited by inhibiting cyclooxygenase enzymes. It regulates immunity activity via metabolic pathways other than the CB receptors. Also, activating the Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-y (PPAR-y) pathways act as a potential neuroprotectant. Its combined effects with other non-THC cannabinoids inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells.

Where is THCA Legal?

THCA is not a scheduled illegal substance at the Federal level. However, since it’s similar to THC, you can be prosecuted under the Federal Analogue Act for possession. Another point to note is THCA contains some THC. The presence of THC in drug tests could be interpreted as if you have been using cannabis. This could have legal consequences in states where the use of cannabis is illegal.

5. CBG – Cannabigerol

CBG is a non-psychotic cannabinoid extracted from hemp and is helpful in therapeutic applications. Cannabigerol is the mother cannabinoid of THC and CBC. This occurs when enzymes break the CBGA into THCA and CBCA, the acids that produce THC and CBC, respectively. Despite being the source of THC, it isn’t psychoactive. The acid requires ultraviolet light to break the acids into recognizable THC and CBC.

Effects of CBG

CBG has practical, interactive effects on the ECS system, and as such, it is a popular treatment to the following. It has antibacterial properties eliminating infections. It has vasodilation properties as such helpful to people with eye-related problems such as glaucoma. Other studies done in mice showed beneficial effects such as the protection of neurons, inhibition of cancer cells, and increased appetite.

Where is CBG Legal?

CBG is legal as long as its extraction is not from the flower bud. It is legal under the Agricultural Act of 2014, which protects hemp production and products produced from CBG.

6. CBC – Cannabichromene

Cannabichromene is one of the top cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant. CBC is similar to other top cannabinoids such as THC and CBD in chemical composition. The CBC is extracted for the therapeutic effects it possesses. It was discovered in 1966.

Effects of CBC

Together with CBC and THC, CBC has antidepressant effects. Furthermore, it also has neurogenesis properties. In experiments conducted on mice, the noticeable effects included anti-inflammatory properties. However, the CBC used was mixed with THC, and the effects might have been from CBC or the compound effect THC, and CBC had on each other. As such, the independent effects of CBC are still yet to be determined. CBC oil is usable in other conditions that include acne and other skin dysfunctions. For those with stomach problems, CBC is known to calm irritated bowel syndrome. Furthermore, it strengthens bone density and is a pain reliever.

Where is CBC Legal?

As long as it contains less than 0.3% THC, CBC is legal. Its legality is under the Agricultural Act of 2018 (the Farm Bill), which protects industrial hemp derivatives.

7. CBDA – Cannabidiolic Acid

CBDA is a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. It is the acidic compound that is responsible for producing CBD. It produces CBD through the process of carboxylation. This process breaks CBDA into CBD when exposed to heat and light exposure. Until now, the CBDA was thought to possess no medicinal benefits, but they were wrong. CBDA has powerful therapeutic benefits.

Effects of CBDA

CBDA has the potential to stop the spread of breast cancer cells. CBDA has the capability of inhibiting the inflammatory enzyme (COX-2). The enzyme is responsible for spreading the cancer cells. On top of that, it is found in nearly half of all breast cancer cases. The inhibitory effect CBDA has on COX-2 is beneficial in preventing inflammation. The common drugs used for inflammation are NSAIDS, which also target the COX-2 enzyme. However, the use of NSAIDS produces side effects such as risks of stroke and heart attacks. As such, CBDA can be a natural alternative to offer relief without serious side effects. For cancer patients prone to nausea and vomiting after chemotherapy, this might be a thing of the past.

CBDA, according to studies done, is more effective than CBD as it is readily broken down by the body. Its anti-nausea properties are a result of the activation of the 5-HT (1A) serotonin receptors.

Furthermore, its effects on the serotonin receptors prevent convulsions and seizures. CBDA is also usable to treat epilepsy as it has a greater affinity for the 5-HT (1A) receptors than CBD. Moreover, its affinity for serotonin receptors makes it a potential medication for treating depression. Some scientist has argued that the CBDA can work just lie the serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to treat mental illness.

Where is CBDA Legal?

CBDA does not have outright restrictions. As such, it appears in legal products found in the United States and throughout Europe. Safely, the conclusion is that everywhere CBD is legal, so is CBDA.

8. CBDV – Cannabidivarin

CBDV is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. As such, it will not cause the high effect associated with products containing THC. It is more common in Indica strains, especially those with a lower THC content.

Effects of CBDV

CBDV can significantly reduce the frequency and severity of seizures. Like CBD, it also has anti-nausea properties that are beneficial for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy as they are more prone to feel nausea. CBDV helps with inflammation and is further helpful in relieving pain. Moreover, it is a potential relief giver to patients suffering from seizures, HIV/AIDS, and Crohn’s disease.

Where is CBDV Legal?

CBDV derived from the hemp plant is legal according to the 2018 Farm Bill. The Bill allowed hemp products to produce as long as they contain less than 0.3% of THC. In states where marijuana is legalized, CBDV is also legalized.

9. CBN – Cannabinol

CBN is another cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. It is a metabolite of THC synthesis, and as such, it is rarely found or found in very small quantities. As such, it is more common in the old cannabis plant that has been highly oxidized. It is not a product of the mother compound, the CBGA. It is a by-product of degraded THCA. This occurs when the cannabis plant is exposed to sunlight for a long time. THCA is converted to cannabinol acid, which then converts to CBN after the carboxylation process.

Effects of CBN

CBN is excellent for sleeping problems as it possesses sedative effects. It has anti-anxiety properties and is a pain relief suitable for chronic pain such as back pains. It is also helpful for increasing bone density over time. Furthermore, it has skin health benefits and is applicable for burn treatment.

Where is CBN Legal?

Like other cannabinoids, it is legally protected as it does not contain THC but is simply a by-product. It is commonly found in hemp plants that have been exposed to oxygen and ultraviolet from the sun, which breaks the THCA to CBNA, which is then converted to CBN.

10. CBGA – Cannabigerolic Acid

CBGA is one of the top cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant. It has a protective function in the cannabis plant. It is responsible for the natural leaf pruning process. This ensures that most of the nutrients and resources are directed to the flower for maximum cannabinoid production. CBGA is the main ingredient of cannabinoid production. CBGA may also convert to CBG. It further undergoes reactions that convert it to three major cannabinoid acids. These include THCA, CBDA, and CBCA, which are further processed into THC, CBD, and CBC. In most marijuana strains, it is converted to THC or CBD, depending on the type of the plant.

Effects of CBGA

CBGA may help with cardiovascular conditions, which are usually common in diabetic patients. It works by inhibiting the aldose reductase enzyme responsible for the oxidative stress that leads to heart problems. Hence it can be an alternative to synthetic inhibitor medications which have severe side effects. In another study, CBGA activated the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) responsible for regulating metabolism. The activation of these receptors results in the stimulation of lipid metabolism. This prevents the accumulation of excess accumulation of lipids in the body. The study is still waiting for animal and clinical trials. Finally, CBGA is a potential medication for patients suffering from colorectal cancer. Researchers found that CBGA kills colon cancer cells. On top of that, it also quickens the destruction of cancer cells and prevents them from growing.

Where is CBGA Legal?

CBGA, just like CBD, is legal when obtained from the hemp plant containing less than 0.3% THC. Since it is a non-psychotic like THC, it does not have an illegal status THC.

Most Cannabinoids Will Not Make You Feel High

Almost all cannabinoids don’t have psychoactive effects except for THC. THC is the known compound to give you the high when ingested. However, some research suggests that THCV may also have intoxicating properties. Although the dosage of THCV is the determining factor. Just like many other minor components, THCV is found in small quantities in cannabis strains and products.

Even though most cannabinoids are non-psychoactive, they influence the effects of THC on the user. The best example is CBD, which is known to reduce the affinity of THC to activate the CB1 receptors. THCV at low concentrations has a similar effect on THC like those of CBD. On the other hand, larger doses of THCV may begin to activate the CB1 receptors. Most cannabinoids are still in the grey area concerning their effect on the body because they are less abundant in the cannabis plant. Therefore to experience the effects of the top cannabinoids, you should buy from reputable distributors. There are many trusted manufacturers where you can buy legal cannabinoids. Also, do background research on the company before purchasing.


The ongoing research is continuously revealing the beneficial effects of the marijuana plant. With other cannabinoids being researched, they are coming up with potential benefits. On top of it, all the benefits of cannabinoids are naturally occurring and have few side effects. Furthermore, cannabinoids’ side effects are few compared to other synthetic medications currently being used for various conditions. Note should be taken that some of the benefits listed are still under research. As such, consult with your doctor before using some of the compounds listed in this article. Finally, it is high time for governments and institutions to invest in marijuana research. It is loaded with cannabinoids which naturally interact with the ECS system. This interaction is responsible for the balance that can be safely interpreted as the wellbeing of a person.

What is your reaction?

In Love
Not Sure
Terence Watson

Terence Watson worked as an herbal consultant in a famous health and wellness industry after graduating with a degree in biological sciences from Pretoria University. He later suffers stress and anxiety, and he begins looking for medications. It was not easy for Terence until the point CBD came on his way! Terence furthers his research about CBD, and he realizes it was a real deal for wellness and a better lifestyle. Watson begins taking CBD oil, and it took him a short while before she gets a full recovery. The recovery was an inspiration to Terence Watson, and he immediately starts writing about CBD in 2015.

Terence Now writes a lot about CBD products and brands. He knows the importance of understanding a product by brand name and understanding the sources and the processes in every brand. Readers looking for insights about the CBD brands can get them by reading the timely articles by Terence Watson. He also writes about the best CBD products by highlighting the key factors that make the best CBD products, knowing the type of CBD is a real win for the people who needs an effective medication for pain, anxiety, and stress. He is the best teacher that can help you find the solutions for your fitness and wellness issues.

    You may also like