Cannabinoid Acids and Where to Find Them
Cannabis owes its incredible properties to cannabinoids. But have you ever wondered where they come from?
These tiny compounds have many secrets. For example, nobody knows how many cannabinoids are out there. A dozen? One hundred? More? Most compounds are present in tiny amounts which make difficult to detect them accurately. However, researchers are mostly sure where they come from. Let’s look closer.
Their Majesty, Cannabinoid Acids
Cannabis does not produce THC and CBD per se. First, it synthesizes several cannabinoids acids:
- CBGA (Cannabigerolic acid)
- THCA (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid)
- CBDA (Cannabidiolic acid)
- CBCA (Cannabichromenenic acid)
- CBGVA (Cannabigerovarinic acid)
- THCVA (Tetrahydrocanabivarinic acid)
- CBDVA (Cannabidivarinic acid)
- CBCVA (Cannabichromevarinic acid)
CBGA is used to produce the primary acids: THCA, CBDA, CBCA. Additionally, there are corresponding ‘V’ compounds which are produced from CBGVA: THCVA, CBDVA, CBCVA. Here’s a scheme:
(Based on this Leafly infographics)
Cannabinoids acids do not produce psychoactive effects but sometimes have antibiotic or insecticidal properties. Thus, it is likely that producing these compounds, the plant defends itself.
When cannabinoid acids get ‘activated’ by heat, they lose the ‘A’ part and turn into cannabinoids. Thus, each of the cannabinoid acids become a corresponding cannabinoid compound:
- CBG (Cannabigerol)
- THC (Δ9–tetrahydrocannabinol)
- CBD (Cannabidiol)
- CBC (Cannabichromene)
- CBGV (Cannabigerivarin)
- THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin)
- CBDV (Cannabidivarin)
- CBCV (Cannabichromevarin)
Not All Cannabinoids Created Equal (To Make You High)
THC is known for its psychoactive effects. Other cannabinoids can influence how THC affects you. For example, CBD changes the way THC interacts with CB1 receptors of your body, which determines how a cannabis product will affect you.
THCV may also adjust THC’s impact. At relatively small doses, THCV inhibits activation of CB1 receptors. When the amount increases, THCV may start to activate CB1 receptors. Thus, the exact dose can significantly influence how a compound affects you. However, we need more research in this direction.
We are at the beginning of sophisticated research efforts on how cannabis affects human bodies and what to expect from it. Cannabinoids and other compounds found in the plant remain mostly a mystery. That’s why legalization matters – with cannabis getting more popular, there is a vital need to understand how it works and what it can offer to the humankind.
(Sweedsy in no way encourages illegal activity and would like to remind its readers that marijuana usage continues to be an offense under Federal Law, regardless of state marijuana laws. To learn more, click here.)