There are a large number of cannabinoids and other plant components found in hemp and cannabis plants; all of which have their own purposes. However, some of these compounds have been subject to more research and have found to be increasingly significant in the effects they have on the human body. In this article, we will discuss five key cannabis components you need to know about as their significance increases in the hemp and cannabis industry.
Most Common on the Market
There is no doubt that CBD (cannabidiol) has become widespread in its popularity and use more so than any other cannabis components around the world. CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid meaning it is incapable of producing the “high” that is commonly associated with the cannabis plant. With recent legislation becoming more lenient on CBD because of this, it has been legalized in all 50 states in the U.S.A. and in many other countries in the world.
Despite the lack of a “high” from CBD, studies and user testimonies have shown that it may have various possible health benefits and may aid in certain health issues. An affirmative example of this is the treatment of seizures which has been proven so effective that the FDA approved a medication derived from CBD that significantly reduced seizure symptoms in adults and children. CBD also has reported positive effects on pain, inflammation, anxiety, depression and other ailments.
With its relatively legal status and purported health benefits, it should come as no surprise that the CBD market has grown exponentially since the 2018 Farm Bill. In fact, some studies predict that the CBD industry could skyrocket to a possible $20 billion dollars by 2024. For this reason, a plethora of hemp and cannabis extraction companies and investors are jumping in to the possibilities of this once overlooked cannabinoid.
Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
Most Well Known
Perhaps the most famous (or infamous) component of the cannabis plant is Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol – commonly referred to as THC. For as long as cannabis has been consumed for the “high” it produces, THC has been the reason behind it. While many states and countries have allowed for either medicinal or recreational legalization of THC, it is still the most controversial among any of the Cannabis components.
Yes, THC does get the user high when consumed or smoked; however, there are also significant therapeutic effects that give it medicinal properties. It is especially effective in aiding with nausea and vomiting, lack of appetite, depression and anxiety. For these reasons, it is very often strictly legal as a medicinal use only, but recreational legalization is beginning to gain momentum in recent years.
May Have Negative Effects
Because THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid, it may not be for everyone. Some users report increased heart rate, paranoia and anxiety, and possible dependence with increased addictive qualities. In comparison to more dangerous and addictive drugs (including many prescription medications), THC is relatively benign; however, it is important to recognize these possible detrimental effects as not everyone responds to this particular cannabinoid the same way.
Though this particular cannabinoid is not found at naturally higher levels in the hemp or cannabis plant, CBG (cannabigerol) is the next compound that producers and consumers have their sights set on. Interestingly enough, CBGA (cannabigerolic acid) is the chemical precursor to both CBGA and THCA – the acidic compounds that become activated THC and CBD during decarboxylation making it a sort of “parent” compound to the most prevalent and popular cannabinoids.
Unique Health Benefits
While more research is yet to be conducted on this newly popular cannabinoid, there are several potential health benefits that are unique to CBG in particular. For example, CBG has been found to have considerable anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties according to certain studies. Among other potential health benefits, these two characteristics alone may be highly useful for debilitating ailments like glaucoma, and inflammatory bowel disease. As studies increase, it may be found to help a number of other users with their own health issues as well.
Market Interest Increasing
For producers, CBG is the rising star in the hemp and cannabis industry. Interest in CBG’s unique effects on pain and inflammation has sparked an interest by consumers that has been followed diligently by companies growing and creating products strictly focused on CBG. Though the percentage of CBG is much lower than other cannabinoids in a cannabis plant, growers have been able to breed, and grow their plants selectively for CBG production. Because of this, consumers are beginning to find anything from smokable CBG hemp flower to CBG tinctures, salves, lotions – nearly everything that can be found in a CBD product. So, it would be unwise for producers to not pursue this unique and increasingly demanded cannabinoid.
Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-8)
Another cannabinoid becoming increasingly popular in the hemp and cannabis industry is Δ8-tetrahydrocannabinol; commonly referred to simply as “delta-8.” as it’s name would imply, Delta-8 is molecularly similar to our commonly known THC cannabinoid, but what’s the difference?
What is it?
Like CBG, Delta-8 is not naturally occurring in significant quantities in any natural hemp or cannabis plant. And, any difference has to be viewed on the molecular level. The word “delta” refers to the double bond found in these cannabinoids and it is the location of that double bond that changes the effects of each. Delta-8’s double bond is located on the 8th carbon chain whereas delta-9’s is located on the 9th carbon chain. This small difference varies the effects of each compound rather significantly.
Perhaps the most noticeable difference for the consumer between delta-8 and delta-9 is in the psychotropic potency and effects. Like delta-9 THC, delta-8 is capable of producing a “high” but the range of those effects is not necessarily uniform; though, the way delta-8 interacts with the human endocannabinoid system reduces the psychotropic potency as a general rule.
Legality in the Market
It seems the market for delta-8 lies in a bit of a loophole – at least in the United States. According to current laws and legislations, delta-8 THC is not listed as an illegal drug despite the fact that it does contain psychoactive properties. The question remains: how long will this legal status last? The fact of the matter is that it’s simply hard to say as long as delta-8 adheres to FDA regulations, but for the time being, it is possible to find this cannabinoid in vape pens, tinctures, drinks and various edibles as well.
Our last cannabis component is the first that isn’t a cannabinoid. In fact, it is found in many fruits, flowers and other organic products as well. Responsible for the smell and flavor of hemp and cannabis, we have what are referred to as terpenes, or “terps.”
What’s the Deal With Terps?
Terpenes are aromatic chemical compounds that provide a bevvy of different smells and flavors in cannabis and in many other products around the world. For example, Limonene is a terpene found commonly in citrus fruits that provide the common acidic, citrus smells and is also commonly found in various cannabis plants. So, if a particular hemp or cannabis product has a lemony, citrusy, fruity smell and taste, it’s somewhat safe to assume that limonene is a primary terpene in that particular product. Other terpenes may provide smells of spice, earth, sweetness, diesel and many other scents.
“The Entourage Effect”
Perhaps the most interesting facet of terpene study in the hemp and cannabis industry is seen in what is commonly referred to as “The Entourage Effect.” This fascinating study has revealed that terpenes may play a significant role in the effects of hemp and cannabis products when used in conjunction with cannabinoids and other cannabis derived compounds. Though they are most notable for creating scent and flavor, terpenes themselves have studied physical and mental effects on their own. Looking back to limonene as an example, studies have shown this terpene to have mood altering effects and/or stress relieving effects and may even be useful for antifungal and antibacterial uses. When used directly with the effects of cannabinoids, studies have shown that the use of terpenes and cannabinoids together enhances the efficacy of each as opposed to using them separately. For this reason, terpenes have become increasingly sought after in hemp and cannabis product formulations.
Whether you are a producer with years in this industry, or a consumer with little knowledge about basic cannabis components, it’s always important to know about the most recent and popular cannabis components in terms of market popularity and scientific research. By knowing these five simple compounds, you should be equipped to explore the most recent market trends and beneficial possibilities – that is, until the next popular compounds come along.