What are cannabinoids?

Cannabis has been around for thousands of years, but we are only now beginning to understand the many chemical compounds that make up this versatile plant. You have probably heard of THC and CBD, but there are dozens of cannabinoids that work together to impact the body in a variety of ways. Research has found that cannabis produces more than 100 cannabinoids.
Cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are two most commonly known cannabinoids. The main difference between the two cannabinoids is that THC has strong psychoactive effects, meaning it makes a person ‘high’, whereas CBD is thought to have an anti-psychoactive effect that controls or moderates the ‘high’ caused by the THC. CBD is also thought to reduce some of the other negative effects that people can experience from THC, such as anxiety.
Cannabinoids interact with the body’s natural Endocannabinoid System (ECS), a chemical-based biological system that regulates a variety of functions within the body. The ECS plays a role in regulating a range of functions and processes, including sleep, mood, appetite, memory, reproduction and fertility. Scientists are increasingly discovering that it is essential for homeostasis. Which is the body’s ability to maintain a state of internal balance. Another important discovery is the entourage effect. This means that in addition to the fact that the components have their own effect, there is also a synergy; the components can influence each other’s effect. The valuable components are located in the trichomes of the plant; e.g. cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids.

Cannabidiol - CBD

CBD is one of more than 100 different types of cannabinoids. Together with THC, it is the most common component in a cannabis plant. Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive. In fiber hemp plants, CBD is the dominant cannabinoid and therefore easy to extract from the plant material. A number of studies have already been performed on the precise effect of CBD on the human body. CBD can be used, among other things, for sleeping problems, as an antiemetic, for chronic pain, as an antispastic, as an antipsychotic, as an antidepressant, as an anti- anxiety and as an anti-inflammatory.

Cannabigerol - CBG

CBG is a very important cannabinoid for a cannabis plant. CBG is seen as a building block for all other cannabinoids. CBG is one of the first cannabinoids to be produced in the plant. It occurs when the plant is still a seedling. A process is started with the help of enzymes. This process converts CBG to other cannabinoids, such as CBD and THC. It is not the intention of the plant to retain CBG in the plant material, in fact almost all CBG is converted but CBG also has an effect on the human body. CBG can be used, among other things, as an analgesic, sleep-promoting, appetite-stimulant, antidepressant, antipsychotic.

Cannabinol - CBN

CBN is a cannabinoid that occurs in very small quantities in the plant material. The plants themselves do not make the substance CBN, but it is the breakdown substance of THC. When THC is exposed to heat and oxygen, a chemical reaction (oxidation process) occurs. This reaction breaks down the THC and creates the substance CBN. Even though CBN is a substance that arises from THC, it is not psychoactive. As a result, there will be no ‘high’ feeling after taking this cannabinoid. CBN can be used, among other things, for sleep promoting, analgesic, sedative, slows bacterial growth, anti-inflammatory, antiepileptic, antiemetic.

Tetrahydrocannabinol - THC

THC is a psychoactive compound that occurs naturally in cannabis plants and also in fiber hemp plants. But because the THC concentrations in fiber hemp plants are so low, it will not have a psychoactive effect on the human body. THC is the compound found in high concentrations in marihuana plants and is widely used for recreational purposes. Because of the psychoactive effect of the substance THC, weed/marihuana is included on list 1 of the Opium Act. But THC also has a beneficial effect on the human body and is necessary to achieve a greater effect with the entourage effect. Because of this countries like Canada and Uruguay made cannabis completely legal for recreational and medicinal purposes. In the Netherlands, small amounts of THC in end products (<0,05%) are allowed.


The aromatic molecules/substances produced in plants are called terpenes. They contain the odor and taste profile of a specific plant. Terpenes also have an effect in protecting the flower tops and preserving the plant species, just like the trichomes. By spreading odors, certain insects are attracted and certain enemies deterred. Besides those properties terpenes have an effect on the human body, terpenes and cannabinoids from the hemp plant influence and enhance each other. Some well-known examples of terpenes are essential oils. They are produced from terpenes, such as lavender, citrus or eucalyptus. Essential oils have been used for nearly 6.000 years, with the aim of improving a person’s health or mood.


Flavonoids play an important role alongside cannabinoids and terpenes in inducing the “entourage effect”. You can find 8000 varieties of flavonoids in almost every plant species, including vegetables, fruits, and herbs. To date, 20 of them have been discovered in the cannabis plant. Flavonoids are one of the most prominent nutrient families in the plant world. They provide nutritional value while delivering health benefits to humans and the plants from which they’re derived. They help with seed development and the growth process by executing essential functions like cell cycle progression. Flavonoids also act as a defense mechanism for plants, preventing damage from environmental stressors like bacteria, fungi, insects, and the sun’s UV rays. In addition to controlling the growth process and providing protection, flavonoids are responsible for giving plants their appearance, flavor, aroma, and pigment differences in plants and provide each cannabis strain its unique taste, smell, and color.
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