DENVER — CBD is everywhere these days. Although unproven, devotees of the chemical ingredient pulled from cannabis and hemp say it has medicinal qualities that can remedy a wide variety of symptoms.
But cannabis experts are quick to point out that CBD, or cannabidiol, is just one of hundreds of known cannabinoid compounds found in the cannabis plant. And because it’s only recently become (somewhat) legal to study the potential benefits of the cannabis plant, we’re only just now starting to learn about all these different compounds.
“Cannabinoids are in fact a neuroprotectant. People are using them for epilepsy, mental illness, brain issues,” Melanie Rose Rodgers, founder of the Denver-based Influential X, said while speaking at CSP’sCBD and the Future of Cannabis Forum. “They’re (also) an antioxidant, and an anti-inflammatory. It’s why people with immune disorders and inflammation of the body are turning toward CBD. [But] there’s so many different products out there.”
Rodgers specifically cited CBN, CBG and CBC as three cannabinoids to watch out for. Here’s a look at those compounds and what benefits they might offer.
Full name: Cannabinol
What is it: CBN is actually the oxidized version of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC (the cannabinoid responsible for marijuana’s intoxicating effects). When THC is heated or exposed to oxygen, it produces CBN, which means it’s a lot more difficult to procure than other cannabinoids. According to investment research firm High Energy Trading, dried cannabis flowers contain as little as 1% trace of CBN (vs. as much as 30% of THC).
What it does: While CBN does not have the intoxicating properties of THC, it does work as a sleep aid, prompting Rodgers to dub it “the sleepy cannabinoid.” High Energy Trading data suggested half a dose of CBN has been shown to be as effective as a full dose of Valium, minus the intoxicating effects.
Full name: Cannabigerol
What is it: Like CBD and CBN, CBG is a nonpsychoactive compound; however, it serves as a chemical precursor to other cannabinoids like CBD and THC. That means it’s only found in the early stages of cannabis growth and is difficult to harvest in large amounts from a matured plant.
What it does: High Energy Trading dubbed this “the holy grail of cannabinoids” due to a long list of potential health benefits, including stimulating bone growth, stimulating brain cells, stimulating appetite, sedative, anti-seizure and anti-inflammatory. It’s even being studied for a potential ability to suppress cancer cells.
Full name: Cannabichromene
What is it: Also a nonpsychoactive cannabinoid, CBC is much more prevalent in the cannabis plant than CBN or CBG. A study conducted in 1981 actually suggested CBC could be the second-most abundant cannabinoid in cannabis (placing it ahead of CBD).
What it does: CBC has many of the same benefits as CBD, but research also shows it has higher antibacterial properties than other cannabinoids. In addition to pain relief and general anti-inflammatory treatments, research is being done on CBC’s effectiveness at treating acne and depression.