Cannabis has both major and minor cannabinoids. We know as major cannabinoids those that are present in high concentrations i.e., THC and CBD. Most of cannabis plants have these two cannabinoids at different concentrations. For instance, there are cannabis strain rich in THC and other cannabis strain rich in CBD. In addition, there are also cannabis strains that contain both THC and CBD in similar concentrations.
The scientific community is starting to understand the effects and medical properties of other cannabinoids present at lower concentrations. These cannabinoids are known as minor cannabinoids. For example, CBG, CBC, CBN, THVC or THCA are examples of minor cannabinoids.
Even though these cannabinoids are found in small concentrations, they have both medical and relaxant properties. Moreover, it is believed they are important contributors to the entourage effect.
What is the Role of Minor Cannabinoids?
Even though they are called “minor cannabinoids” their contribution is not minor at all. As a matter of fact, many of these cannabinoids are very important in the effectiveness of a cannabis strain in the treatment of medical conditions. We know at least the potential medical properties of eight minor cannabinoids (CBG, CBC, CBN, Δ8–THC and their acidic forms).
We have already written about many of these cannabinoids and their effects. Furthermore, it’s important to mention the importance of the entourage effect.
Cannabinoids and the Entourage Effect
Entourage effect is a theory that claims that cannabinoids are more effective when they act synergistically, i.e. cannabinoids are more effective together than by their own. Although some users claim that ‘whole-plant cannabis’ has a more substantial effect than CBD-only or THC-only, the entourage effect isn’t entirely understood by the scientific community.
In addition, many sources claim terpenes have also therapeutic effects. Terpenes are the organic compounds present in plants, especially in conifers.
List of Minor Cannabinoids
Most of minor cannabinoids do not have psychoactive properties. Some of these minor cannabinoids are the acidic forms of other cannabinoids. For example, THCA, and CBDA.
From all minor cannabinoids, the acidic forms are perhaps the most studied ones. Neutral cannabinoids are not found in fresh cannabis buds. This means THCA or CBDA must undergo a process known as decarboxylation to convert the acidic forms to their neutral forms. One of the most common decarboxylation methods consists of storing cannabis for a few weeks. Nonetheless, just smoking cannabis decarboxylates it.
It was thought to be pharmacologically inactive but recent studies have found it has medical properties. Preliminary studies have linked THCA with anti-cancer properties, reduce inflammation and even neuroprotective properties.
It has both anti-inflammatory and antiemetic properties. Moreover, it is been researched for its potential antibacterial properties.
All known as the “mother of cannabinoids”. CBG is the predecessor of major cannabinoids such as CBD, THC and CBC. It is present in low concentrations (lower than 1%). CBG is been researched for its potential neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties. CBG is difficult to extract and that’s why it’s one of the most expensive cannabinoids.
As most of cannabinoids, CBC has pain-relief properties, helps to reduce inflammation and it might be effective as an anti-epileptic medicine.
CBN is not obtained directly from the cannabis plant. Instead, it is obtained from the oxidation of THC. In other words, THC converts into CBN when it is degraded. Many cannabis users dismiss CBN as it is mildly psychoactive, and it comes from the Degradation of THC. However, it is useful in the treatment of insomnia and other sleeping disorders. Furthermore, it is been studied for its potential use in the treatment of inflammation and seizures.
Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol is a cannabinoid with alleged anti-cancer properties. In addition, Δ8–THC might be a potential medicine for the treatment of nausea and pain-relief. Furthermore, it could be a potent anxiolytic.
Minor Cannabinoids: Final Thoughts
We still don’t know about minor cannabinoids the same as we know about major cannabinoids. However, we are beginning to understand more about its function and potential medical uses. In addition, according to the entourage effect theory, cannabinoids act synergistically. According to this theory, cannabinoids are more effective together than by their own.
More and more products are offering minor cannabinoids in the form of edibles or isolates.