Cannabinoid / Terpenoid Table

Cannabinoids and Terpenes in the Cannabis Plant

Here’s a handy table of the huge numbers of helpful, medically-beneficial compounds (in particular cannabinoids and terpenes/terpenoids) found in marijuana.

 

Please note: this table is not at all a comprehensive guide to the cannabinoids, terpenes and terpenoids found in the cannabis plant (there are 150 cannabinoids, around 220 terpenes and terpenoids, 20 flavonoids and around 200-200 other compounds in the cannabis plant). We have listed the most ones most commonly found, and the ones that seem to most definitively have a physiological and potential therapeutic effect …

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Cannabinoid/Terpene Use/Effect
Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) The main “psychoactive” cannabinoid found in cannabis. THC enabled scientists to discover the Endocannabinoid system in vertebrate mammals. Especially effective for pain, nausea, tumors and ADHD. THC is a partial agonist of the CB1 receptor, giving it psychoactive effects when used in high doses. It is possible to use a therapeutic amount of THC with little-to-no psychoactivity (the therapeutic level or value), but the dose at which THC becomes psychoactive differs from person-to-person. THC has biphasic effects, meaning it has different effects at low dosages and at high dosages. For example, in low doses, THC is anxiolytic, but in high doses can induce anxiety. Therefore, microdosing THC is best for anxiety. Some types of cancer, meanwhile, may require high doses of THC in order to take advantage of its cancer-beating properties.
Delta-1 Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCa/THCA) Not psychoactive. THCa is an anti-inflammatory, encourages appetite, combats insomnia, is anti-tumor and is an antispasmodic. THCa is often decarboxylated (removal of CO2) to produce THC. Combustion and air-drying converts THCa into THC.
Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCv/THCV) May be somewhat psychoactive in higher doses and a CB1 receptor antagonist in lower doses. THCV is generally found in higher concentrations in African landrace strains. Thought to be one of the main reasons why such strains have “buzzy”, “racy” effects. THCV actually inhibits THC’s effects in small doses, and may be used in helping treat diabetes. The biphasic effects of THCV may also to some degree explain why some sativas from equatorial regions have intense effects over a shorter duration of time, as well as having less of a “ceiling” with regards to psychoactivity.
Tetrahydrocannabiphorol (THCP) A psychoactive substance in the cannabis plant that could be 30 times more potent than THC. As THCP is a more recently-discovered cannabinoid, how much of it is in various cannabis strains is difficult to measure. Has a very high afinity for CB1 receptors. Although its medical and therapeutic potential is difficult to assess without more research, THCP has potential value as a painkiller, anti-convulsive and cancer treatment.
Tetrahydrocannabutol (THCB) Shows an affinity for both CB1 and CB2 receptors, and may be a partial agonist of the CB1 receptor. Has a greater affinity for CB1 receptors than THC, so is also potentially more psychoactive than THC. THCB also has potential analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Cannabidiol (CBD) The other main cannabinoid found in marijuana, alongside THC. CBD is thought to be non-psychoactive, although there are some reports of slight psychoactivity. It is for this reason that CBD has become the a “sought-after” cannabinoid. CBD works in combination with THC and other cannabinoids, psychoactive or otherwise, making this view short-sighted. As CBD has physiological effects, it could be said to be psychoactive to some degree, even if it’s not to the same degree as THC.
CBD has broad spectrum use, and can be used for pain, stress, asthma, seizure disorders such as MS and epilepsy, and lowering blood sugar levels for diabetes. CBD is also an anti-inflammatory and cancer-killing cannabinoid. CBD has low affinity for the CB1 and CB2 receptors, and is an indirect antagonist of these receptors. CBD can both potentiate and “block” or decrease THC’s effects, depending on dosage.As CBD is metabolized by the liver enzyme cytochrome P450 (CY P450), it may interact with other medications (and potentially reduce the need for some of them as well). Some examples of medications metabolized by CY P450 include some types of benzodiazepines, antidepressants, antibiotics and immunosuppressants. There is some suggestion that effective utilization of CBD may reduce the need for some of the substances, and that any patients must taper off some these medications (under medical supervision) if using CBD.
Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDa/CBDA) CBDa has anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties. Until recently, found mostly in Cannabis ruderalis, which is the type of cannabis used to create auto-flowering strains. Strains such as Cannatonic and ACDC have been developed to produce more CBD/CBDa than THC/THCa.
Cannabidivarin (CBDv/CBDV) CBDV is a non-psychoactive homolog of cannabidiol (CBD). CBDV has anti-spasmodic and anticonvulsant properties, and is currently being trialled for use in epilepsy.
Cannabichromene (CBC) CBC is also non-psychoactive, and it is suggested that CBC is up to 10 times more effective than CBD for treating stress and anxiety (anxiolytic). Also used to treat inflammation and pain relief. CBC has antiviral and anti-tumor properties, and has been shown to stimulate the growth of bone tissue.
Cannabigerol (CBG) CBG is a partial antaagonist of both CB1 and CB2 receptors. CBG has a low affinity for both CB1 and CB2 receptors. This means that CBG has little psychoactive effect. CBG can inhibit the reuptake of anandamide, meaning that there is more anadamide in the blood. This can improve mood and treat chronic pain.
CBG Stimulates bone growth and brain cell growth. Combats insomnia. Antibacterial and anti-tumor. CBG is a neurogenic compound, and as such is useful in the treatment of nerve pain. Of particular interest to MS, ME, ALS, head/brain trauma, cancer and HIV/AIDS sufferers. Psoriasis and IBS sufferers may benefit, too. The antibacterial effects of CBG may also make it useful for treating MRSA and other superbugs.
CBG is one of the few genuinely neurogenic compounds around in the world, and is rarely found in nature.CBG is the “parent” or precursor compound to THCA, CBDA and CBCA. Enzymes in the cannabis plant direct the plant to produce more of one of these compounds, and breeders cross varieties in order to increase the chances of increasing the production of THCA, CBDA or CBCA. Many are now also producing CBG-dominant strains. THCA, CBDA and CBCA must be decarboxylated in order to convert to THC, CBD and CBC.
Cannabinol (CBN) Cannabinol is a byproduct of oxidized THC, and normally forms after THC is exposed to oxygen, sunlight or heat. CBN does not have an acidic counterpart, as it is a byproduct of THC. Older cannabis that’s been exposed to air also shows a slightly higher level of CBN, as THC breaks down to CBN. CBN is slightly psychoactive and a medium to strong sedative. Useful as an antiemetic, anticonvulsant and in the treatment of insomnia.
Alpha- and Beta – Pinene This is what gives some marijuana its “pine” like smell. Pinene is also found in pine needles, dill, parsley, rosemary and basil. Effects include alertness, memory retention and counteracting some of the negative effects of THC. Useful for asthmatics and as an antiseptic. Pinene also has antibacterial properties, and could be particularly interesting for superbug treatment and antibiotic resistance. Cannabinoids’ immunological effects and ability to control inflammation body-wide means that there is some potential in creating antibiotic solutions without the need for using bacterium, which may increase the rate of antibiotic resistance.
Jack Herer, Super Silver Haze (SSH), Neville’s Haze, Chemdawg and Trainwreck have high amounts of pinene.
Myrcene Ever wondered why beer and marijuana have similar sedating effects? That’s because hops contain myrcene, and so do some types of marijuana. Mango, lemongrass and thyme also contain myrcene.
Myrcene is an antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and antidepressant. Great for sleeplessness and muscle tension, too. Works in combination with CBD for a “couchlock” effect. High myrcene strains include pure Pure Kush, Skunk #1, Himalayan Gold and White Widow. Can sometimes be found in Blueberry- and White Widow- based strains, too.
Limonene As the name of the terpene suggests, limonene is responsible for that “citrus” or “lemony” aroma and taste found in some strains. Limonene is found in fruit rinds, juniper berries, peppermint and rosemary. Provides for an elevated mood and stress relief.
OG Kush, Lemon Thai, Super Lemon Haze, Jack the Ripper and Lemon Skunk are all high in limonene.
Beta-Caryophyllene Beta-Caryophyllene is found in black pepper, cloves, black caraway and cinnamon. Has no psychoactive effect. Could be useful as an anti-inflammatory. Caryophyllene has use as an antinociceptive (pain blocker), neuroprotective, anxiolytic and antidepressant. Beta-caryophyllene is a selective agonist of the CB2 receptor, making it a cannabinoid as well as a terpenoid.
Though not psychoactive, beta-caryophyllene interacts with other phytocannabinoids and can be used for the treatment of pain, inflammation, addiction (particularly alcohol and opiate addiction), anxiety, depression, epilepsy, and fungal and bacterial infections. Hash Plant is a strain that tends to have lots of caryophyllene in it, and Thai- and Vietnamese-.based strains like Chocolope Haze and Willie Nelson could be high in caryophyllene.
Linalool Ever smelt some strains of marijuana and found that they smell like flowers or certain types of air freshener? That’s probably because said strain contains linalool, a terpene also found in lavender and jasmine.
Linalool is useful for anxiety relief and sedation, and also has anticonvulsant, antidepressant and anti-acne properties. Amnesia Haze, Lavender, Master Kush, LA Confidential and G-13 all have lots of linalool in them. Many blueberry- or purple- based strains (e.g. Grand Daddy Purple, Purple Kush) also have moderate to high amounts of linalool in them.
Humulene Humulene occurs naturally in clove, basil and hops. Earthy, woody, spicy aromas and flavors are usually associated with humulene, and as such you are likely to find it in abundance in sativa-leaning strains like Congo Haze, Mango Haze, Girl Scout Cookies, and Headband. Indica-leaning strains like Pink Kush and Skywalker OG also contain humulene.
Humulene is an antibacterial, antitumoral and anti-inflammatory. In the past, humulene was referred to as alpha-humulene, due to its similarities with beta-caryophyllene.
Bisabolol Bisabolol is another flowery-smelling terpene found in cannabis, and has been used in cosmetics for a number of years now. Chamomile and candeia trees contain high quantities of bisabolol, and as such this terpene has low-psychoactivity.
Bisabolol has anti-inflammatory, anti-irritant, antioxidant, antimicrobial and analgesic properties. Harle-Tsu, ACDC, OG Shark, Rockstar and God Bud have high concentrations of bisabolol.
Trans-Nerolidol This terpene is most often found in tea tree, jasmine tea and lemongrass, and is thought to contribute to sedative effects. There are also suggestions that trans-nerolidol has antiparasitic, antifungal and antimicrobial properties, and could well inhibit the growth of leishmaniasis (a disease caused by protozoan parasites spread by sandfly bites).
Both indicas and sativas with high levels of THC tend to have high amounts of this terpene, so think Aurora Indica, Strawberry Cough, Moby Dick, Maui Waui, Sweet Island Skunk and Sensi Star.

 

Please remember that concentrations of the above cannabinoids and terpenes vary not only from strain-to-strain, but from phenotype-to-phenotype as well, as some strains result in different types of marijuana. To give an example, growing 12 Super Silver Haze (50% Haze, 25% Skunk, 25% Northern Lights) seeds will likely lead to 6 Haze-dominant phenotypes and 3 Skunk- and 3 Northern Lights- dominant phenotypes, all with different concentrations of various cannabinoids and terpenes.

The skill of the grower, the environment the cannabis was grown in, the age of the cannabis, at what stage of flowering the flowering plant was harvested, and how well the marijuana flowers were dried and cured also affect a plant’s cannabinoid and terpene concentrations. The only way you’re going to find out the best medicine for you is by seeing if you qualify for a Medical Marijuana Card with Leafwell and testing out some dispensary medications as soon as possible!

A lot more research is needed in order to prove cannabis’s efficacy for many conditions, especially regarding the different cannabinoid and terpenoid profiles of particular strains, products and extractions, and how they can help (or hinder) treatment. You may well still need other medications (cannabis is not an anti-rejection tablet for organs, for example, although CBD has shown some interesting results in this area as well!), and in some instances cannabis may interfere with existing conditions and medications. Always ask your primary care physician if you are unsure about anything!

Another issue is comorbidity. You may suffer from one condition that merits the use of cannabis, and another where cannabis may not be as useful, e.g. schizophrenia, although there are studies taking place with CBD being a potential antipsychotic. However, where cannabinoid-based medications may prove useful is in reducing the number of other medications needed, especially potentially dangerous and/or addictive ones such as opioids, benzodiazepines and powerful non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). This potentially means less need to balance out a range of pharmaceutical drugs so that they do not react negatively with each other and the body.

Please remember that much of what we write is theory and supposition. For many of these conditions, the efficacy of cannabis has not yet been proven-beyond-doubt – a fact exacerbated by the fact that there are not a huge number of properly-controlled studies out there. Hopefully, this will change in the future, and the federal government decides to take a more neutral, objective and, perhaps most importantly, scientific stance on cannabis and research into cannabinoid-based medications.

If you need to know more about dosing medical marijuana, check out our guide. In the meantime, here’s a quick look at using medical marijuana and utiliing these cannabinoids and terpenes in context.

10 Things to Consider About Dosing Cannabis

  1. Cannabinoids can be biphasic, meaning they can have different effects at different dosages. THC can beat anxiety in low dosages, or prompt anxiety and paranoia in high dosages. THCV is anti-psychoactive in low doses, but is psychoactive in higher doses. Lower doses of CBD can be relaxing, but higher doses can cause an “up” or energetic effect in some (although some have reported more sedative-like effects – much seems to depend on the miixture of terpenes and personal physiology).
  2. Cannabinoids and terpenes usually work better when used in conjunction with one another, both with regards to their safety and their efficacy. The is known as the entourage effect.
  3. Those with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia ought to avoid psychoactive cannabinoids. CBD, however, could be very useful. In some cases, using one specific cannabinoid or set of cannabinoids may be useful.
  4. Terpenes influence how cannabinoids behave. CBD mixed with linalool, myrcene and humulene could be more relaxing. CBD mixed with limonene, pinene and beta-caryophyllene could produce more energizing effects.
  5. The flavor of cannabis is important, too. Flavonoids have anti-inflammatory effects all of their own, and play an interesting role in the cannabis plant’s survival as well.
  6. The big six cannabinoids are cannabigerol (CBG), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), cannabichromene (CBC), tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) and cannabinol (CBN). These are themost prominent cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Their acidic counterparts (CBGA, THCA, CBDA, CBCA and THCVA) and beta-caryophyllene could be considered honorary additions to the big six. THC and CBD are the two main cannabinoids. All other cannabinoids are sometimes referred to as minor cannabinoids.
  7. It is important to understand what the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) does and why cannabis may work for so many conditions. The ECS is intimately involved in homeostasis (the physiological processes that keep the body healthy and in balance, including sleep-wake cycles, pain sensation, appetite regulation and more) and inflammatory responses. When the body suffers from an injury or certain kinds of diseases, the ECS becomes dysregulated, and inflammatory responses go haywire. The theory is that ingesting the correct naturally-derived cannabinoids in the right dosage can help regulate the immune system and return the body back to its ideal, balanced state.
  8. Everyone has their own individual endocannabinoid system (ECS). Whilst there are patterns in terms of which cannabinoids are useful for specific conditions, there is still much to be learnt in this area, and some people may require a different set of cannabinoids from another person due to individual differences in their ECS.
  9. Ask yourself, “What do I hope to achieve with cannabis?” Do you want to be able to eat a full meal? Get a proper 6 – 8 hours of sleep? Walk a mile with much less pain in your joints and muscles? Set yourself some simple goals, and see how you can use medical cannabis effectively to achieve them.
  10. Cannabis can interact with the following treatments and medications, and may be useful in reducing or replacing intake in some instances:
  • Opioids and opiates – Opioid receptors and CB1 receptors are found in the same areas of the brain. There is some evidence showing that cannabinoid receptors talk to opioid receptors, sending them signals and influencing how they behave to some extent. Cannabis can increase the body’s sensitivity to opioids, meaning it can increase opioids’ ability to depress the central nervous system (CNS) as well. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to taper opioid use when starting cannabinoid treatment.
  • Benzodiazepines, barbiturates and other sedatives – Cannabinoids, in particular CBD, can desensitize the liver enzyme cytochrome P450 (CY P450). Many drugs in the benzodiazepine and barbiturate classes are processed via this enzyme, so desensitizing it by CBD use can potentially cause dangerous buildups. CBD can be an alternative to benzodiazepines, but care must be taken when reducing intake of any sedatives, as it can be dangerous & deadly.
  • Alcohol – There is a moderate interaction between alcohol and cannabis. Cannabinoids can reduce the body’s ability to process ethanol.
  • Warfarin – There are reports that CBD can interfere with blood platelet production and increase the chances of bleeding complications. This is not ideal when using bloodthinners like warfarin.
  • Cannabis’ anti-inflammatory effects can be useful for treating out-of-control inflammation, but in cases of some types of viral infection, this inflammatory response can be useful in expelling the virus. Care must be taken when using cannabis when suffering from a viral infection.
  • Those undergoing immunotherapy should avoid cannabinoid treatment, as this may weaken the immune system to too great an extent.
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