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What are Cannabinoids?


Cannabinoids are a special type of compound that comes from the Cannabis Sativa plant. There are at least 113 different cannabinoids that have been identified from Cannabis, but the most well-known ones are CBD and THC. These are found in the most abundance, whilst the majority of other cannabinoids are only found in small amounts. 

We use CBD to infuse products such as CBD oils or CBD gummies for people to use. This is 100% legal in most places – including the UK and USA – and is completely safe. 

THC, on the other hand, is the main psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis. This means it produces mind-altering effects, or a ‘high’ when ingested. This is why people use cannabis recreationally and it is currently illegal in the UK and many other countries – although there are arguments to claim that THC is actually completely safe to use. 

When we consume cannabinoids, they interact with cannabinoid receptors in the body which produces different effects. These are called CB1 and CB2 receptors. 

We also have endocannabinoids in the body. Endocannabinoids are substances that are naturally produced by the body that activate these same cannabinoid receptors. This process is responsible for regulating many different bodily functions. 

However, endocannabinoids in the body do not behave in the same way as cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. This is also why using cannabis, especially with THC, can create unusual effects that we would not experience from natural endocannabinoids. Plus, endocannabinoids may not always be entirely effective or produced enough naturally. This is why people often use CBD products to help balance their endocannabinoid system.

A List of Cannabinoids Found in Cannabis

The main classes of cannabinoids are:

  • CBD (Cannabidiol)
  • THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)
  • CBN (Cannabinol)
  • CBG (Cannabigerol)
  • CBC (Cannabichromene)
  • CBE (Cannabielsoin)
  • CBL (Cannabicyclol)
  • CBT (Cannabicitran) 
  • iso-THC (iso-Tetrahydrocannabinol) 

There are many other less well-understood cannabinoids too, but the list would go on forever with over 113 identified! The best-studied cannabinoids are THC, CBD, and CBN which we will discuss below. 

THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) 

THC is the main psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis. This is what causes mind-altering effects in those who use cannabis recreationally, whether this is through smoking, vaping, or eating it. 

THC attaches itself to receptors in the brain that affect our thinking, memory, pleasure, coordination, sensory perception, and time perception. Hence, many of the effects of using cannabis are related to these processes. 

Plus, THC stimulates our cells in the brain to release dopamine – often known as the ‘pleasure hormone’. This is what can cause a sense of euphoria, or intense calmness, pleasure, and happiness. 

Lastly, THC can also affect information processing in the hippocampus section of the brain which is responsible for forming new memories. This means that THC can cause short-term memory loss, or can prevent us from creating new memories whilst the THC is affecting the brain. 

CBD (Cannabidiol) 

CBD, in contrast, is not psychoactive at all. In fact, evidence shows that it can counteract the cognitive impairment effects of THC when using cannabis. It’s also been shown to help prevent the short-term memory loss associated with THC. 

In addition, CBD may play a role in promoting healthy sleep, as well as helping with pain, mood, muscle recovery, anxiety, and many other things. This is why so many people regularly use CBD infused products. 

Some research even indicates that CBD could help with more serious conditions like cancer, arthritis, or epilepsy. However, this is not definitive. 

benefits of CBD

CBN (Cannabinol) 

CBN is a mildly psychoactive cannabinoid. You won’t find much of it in the fresh cannabis or hemp plant – it is only present in trace amounts. 

Instead, we mostly find CBN in aged cannabis. This is because when THC degrades after prolonged exposure to air or sunlight, it begins to convert into CBN. 

This is why cannabis becomes less psychoactive overtime after the buds have been harvested – because the CBN to THC ratio becomes larger, meaning there is less psychoactive content in the cannabis material. 

The Entourage Effect

Research suggests that when multiple cannabinoids and terpenes from the cannabis plant interact with one another in the body, it enhances the overall effects of cannabis or CBD products. We call this the ‘entourage effect’.

This suggests that using a CBD extract that contains other cannabinoids in it will improve the effectiveness and power of the CBD product. In other words, cannabinoids are more effective when they can work together than they are when alone or isolated. 

Broad-spectrum CBD extract is a type of hemp extract that contains all naturally occurring cannabinoids, aside from THC. The THC is removed because it causes unwanted psychoactive effects and is actually illegal in quantities of more than 0.2%. 

At Honest Hemp, we use broad-spectrum extract without any THC or CBN. This is thought to be the most effective, safest, and highest quality type of CBD extract.
Check out the range of CBD products here.


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