Top 5 Rare Cannabinoids You Need to Know About

Even if you aren’t a zoned-out stoner, there aren’t many plants more fascinating than Cannabis sativa. Containing hundreds of unique compounds, cannabis smells amazing, has dozens of purposes, and offers incredible medicinal effects.

Our understanding of the cannabis plant is continually evolving. The popularization of CBD opened the floodgates, and research into cannabis and its exclusive compounds, cannabinoids, is accelerating at a record pace.

The discovery of new and rare cannabinoids is one of the most captivating components of modern cannabis research. Which rare cannabinoids are the most impressive, and what impact will these unique compounds have on the future of the hemp and cannabis industries?

How many cannabinoids are identified?

The number of identified cannabinoids is always increasing. For some reason, however, the internet has become fixated on the idea that there are exactly “113 cannabinoids.”

At this point, researchers have identified considerably more cannabinoids than just 113. Every cannabinoid has multiple forms, and some familiar cannabinoids can be made using processes that don’t involve cannabis at all.

As a result, it’s very difficult to pinpoint the exact number of cannabinoids science has identified. A safe ballpark estimate would be that more than 113, but less than 200, cannabinoids have been identified so far.

Beyond CBD, CBG, CBN, and ∆9-THC

We’ll assume you already know plenty about the conventional forms of CBD and THC. Both CBG and CBN have essentially made full entries into the market at this point, so they can’t strictly be considered “rare.”

Instead of covering familiar ground, we’ll branch out into some of the least-known corners of the cannabinoid market. Let’s discover the most important data related to CBC, ∆8-THC, CBDV, CBGA, and recombinant CBD.

1. Cannabichromene (CBC)

Derived using: Enzymatic conversion of CBGA and decarboxylation of the resulting carboxylic acid

Potential applications: Pain, anxiety, depression, digestion

Other forms: CBCA, CBCV, CBCVA

What is CBC?

CBC is a rare cannabinoid that is only naturally present in Cannabis sativa in concentrations under 1%. Discovered in 1966, CBC has been researched primarily for its potential impact on pain and inflammation. 

How is CBC made?

CBC is not available in cannabis or hemp in usable quantities. As a result, this cannabinoid is instead produced by exposing CBGA to synthesized enzymes that are chemically identical to enzymes naturally found in cannabis. The resulting substance, CBCA, is then exposed to heat (decarboxylated) to produce CBC.

What are the effects of CBC?

Scientists have become intrigued by the activity of CBC at the nervous system’s CB2 receptors. While stimulation of the CB2 receptors does not cause intoxication, these neuroreceptors have potent anti-inflammatory properties.

CBC also shows considerable affinity for the body’s TRPV1 receptors, which modulate inflammation. What’s more, CBC may prevent the reuptake of anandamide, increasing the potency of the benefits provided by this body-generated endocannabinoid.

2. Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (∆8-THC)

Derived using: CBD conversion lab synthesis

Potential applications: Pain, inflammation, appetite stimulation, nausea

Other forms: ∆9-THC

What is ∆8-THC?

Delta-8 THC is a slightly different form of delta-9 THC that offers moderately reduced effects.

How is ∆8-THC made?

Delta-8 THC is not available in Cannabis sativa in usable concentrations. As a result, it is usually synthesized from CBD.

What is the difference between delta-8 and delta-9 THC?

Delta-8 and delta-9 THC are nearly chemically identical. Users report, however, that delta-8 THC offers noticeably decreased psychoactive effects.

Is delta-8 THC legal?

Maybe. Advocates of delta-8 THC claim that this cannabinoid is different enough from delta-9 THC to be in a separate legal category. A strict interpretation of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), however, leads to the conclusion that delta-8 THC might be a Schedule I drug.

3. Cannabidivarin (CBDV)

Derived using: Enzymatic conversion of CBGVA and decarboxylation of the resulting carboxylic acid

Potential applications: Epilepsy, digestion, neurodegenerative diseases

Other forms: CBD, CBDA, CBDVA

What is CBDV?

CBDV is the “varin” form of CBD, and it is chemically distinguished by its shorter carbon side chain.

What are the effects of CBDV?

Like CBD, scientists believe that CBDV may also be useful for epilepsy. Since CBDV is chemically distinct from CBD, however, it might be especially valuable in instances of CBD tolerance.

What is the difference between CBDV and CBD?

CBDV is similar enough to CBD that scientists are more interested in how these two cannabinoids might overlap than they are in the differences between CBD and CBDV.

4. Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA)

Derived using: Extraction from immature cannabis plants or lab synthesis

Potential applications: Conversion into rare cannabinoids, inflammation, digestion, microbial infections

Other forms: CBG, CBGV, CBGVA

What is CBGA?

CBGA is a carboxylic acid found in Cannabis sativa. By exposure to various enzymes, CBGA can become the chemical precursor to a variety of different cannabinoids.

How is CBGA made?

While CBGA is universally present in cannabis during this plant’s early maturation phases, extraction of CBGA from cannabis is tricky. CBGA is commonly synthesized from olivetol and geraniol instead, substances that are also found in cannabis.

Why is CBGA considered to be the “stem cell” cannabinoid?

Just as a stem cell can change into practically any cell in the human body, CBGA can transform into many different cannabinoids. As a result, CBGA is highly useful in lab research, and this cannabinoid also plays a role in ongoing mass-market cannabinoid synthesis efforts.

5. Recombinant CBD

Derived using: Centrifugal terpene recombination

Potential applications: Non-hemp, inexpensive CBD production

Other forms: Cannabis-derived CBD

What is recombinant CBD?

Recombinant CBD is CBD made from terpenes using specially calibrated centrifuges.

How is recombinant CBD made?

The terpene limonene is placed inside of a centrifuge, and its molecular structure is altered to match the structure of CBD. With modern technology, this recombination process can be accomplished at massive scales.

How is recombinant CBD different from cannabis-derived CBD?

Recombinant CBD is not derived from hemp or cannabis. As a result, it has no potential to contain even trace concentrations of THC. Recombinant CBD is also entirely free of the agricultural contaminants sometimes found in CBD products.

Is recombinant CBD the same thing as synthetic CBD?

Yes, and no. Recombinant CBD is technically “synthetic” since it is synthesized in a lab. However, recombinant CBD is made from natural substances, not synthetic chemicals.

The future of cannabis is multi-cannabinoid

When it comes to cannabinoids, there’s a lot to wrap your head around. It turns out that Cannabis sativa is far more complex than anyone initially expected. To fully capture the benefits of this uniquely intricate plant, we’ll need to discover the potential uses of every cannabinoid in turn.

Once the world recognizes the distinct benefits that each cannabinoid provides, there will be no turning back. Consumers will demand that their cannabis and hemp products contain specific ratios of dozens of different cannabinoids, infusing massive differentiation and expansion potential into cannabis-related industries.

Why you need to know which cannabinoids are in your products

Already, consumers demand to know which cannabinoids are present in their hemp and cannabis products. In the hemp industry, zeroing in on exact THC concentrations will remain essential, and consumers will increasingly prefer products that are accompanied by precise cannabinoid ratio information.

Being aware of the cannabinoid concentrations in your products is necessary for transparency. Detailed cannabinoid concentration information will also help you differentiate your products and show your customers that you’re embracing the trends of the future.

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