Scientific study of cannabinoids—the active compounds found in hemp—is still in its early stage. But in addition to CBD (one of the cannabinoids in hemp), a few others have garnered attention. In addition to the growing body of private-sector research, the National Institutes of Health budgeted $1.5 million this year for researchers studying these “minor cannabinoids.” Here are just a few that show promise as individual supplement ingredients.
3 important minor cannabinoids:
1. Cannabigerol (CBG)
In the hemp plant, CBG is considered the “mother cannabinoid” because it’s the precursor to CBD. CBG levels are highest in young plants, and decrease as the plant matures. Lab and animal research shows that CBG fights bacteria and fungi, reduces inflammation, relieves anxiety, and promotes bone growth. It can also inhibit the development of cancerous cells, and may reduce harmful pressure in eyes.
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2. Cannabinol (CBN)
Some varieties of hemp plants naturally contain high amounts of CBN. Lab and animal research indicates that this cannabinoid can enhance sleep, reduce stress, and help to relieve pain. To reduce pain sensitivity, it’s more effective when combined with CBD.
3. Cannabichromene (CBC)
In hemp, CBC is the second-most-concentrated cannabinoid, next to CBD. Lab and animal research shows that CBC reduces absorption of one of the human body’s main internal cannabinoids—anandamide—thereby boosting its active levels. Anandamide is sometimes called the “bliss molecule” because it enhances mood. CBC reduces pain, protects the nervous system and brain, and fights bacteria and fungi. It holds promise for treating acne, digestive disorders, and migraines, but research has yet to confirm these applications.
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Where are minor cannabinoids found?
All of these cannabinoids are found in full-spectrum hemp CBD products, but not in isolated CBD extracts. In addition, companies that supply ingredients have discovered ways to extract significant quantities of CBG, CBN, and CBC from hemp plants, so expect to see new products featuring these cannabinoids individually or in combination.
There are no hard and fast rules about which cannabinoids to use or how much to take, and individual reactions vary. Most experts recommend starting low and going slow, allowing at least a few hours to experience potential effects.
Although CBD in an isolated or full-spectrum product is considered safe, reported side effects include diarrhea, dry mouth, drowsiness or fatigue, and reduced appetite. For anyone taking medications, CBD has a similar effect to grapefruit juice, altering metabolism of a drug to either increase or decrease its effects.