Author – Jon Russell
Edited by Noah Persin
Welcome back to the GreenSea “Understanding Cannabinoids” series. We’ve covered the “Big 6” cannabinoids: CBGa, CBG, THC, THCv, CBD & CBC. We’ve also moved on and introduced you to the varins, THCV and CBDV (with just a bit on CBN). Unfortunately, we’ve reached the end of most of the known research that has been completed on cannabinoids. We wrap our series up with the last of the researched cannabinoids (there are over 85 known cannabinoids in the cannabis plant), CBL & Delta-8 (as opposed to Delta-9, the psychoactive cannabinoid) THC.
Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ8-THC)
THC as most people understand it is Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC). Rearrange the atoms in a different order (a process known as isomerization) and you get Delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ8-THC). Δ8-THC has some exciting research coming out that makes it an important cannabinoid.
Δ8-THC is less psychoactive than it’s Δ9-THC counterpart yet it binds to the same CB1 receptors. This means that you can enjoy the medicinal benefits of cannabis without the “high” typically associated with THC. This trait makes Δ8-THC very desirable as a treatment for children with epilepsy or cancers.
Δ8-THC research shows that it can be used for children undergoing chemotherapy treatment. One study treated several children, ages ranging from 3-13, over a period of 8 months. The research showed that Δ8-THC was able to completely prevent vomiting during treatment.
Not only is Δ8-THC an antiemetic, research has found that it also works as an appetite stimulator. An Israeli study found that a 16-22% increase in food intake was shown in mice when administered very low doses of Δ8-THC. Oddly enough, it also found that the same mice actually lost 10-20% of their overall weight during the same 50-day experiment.
Other benefits of Δ8-THC are currently being researched by companies like Steep Hill Labs. As a cannabis writer I use Steep Hill’s research for my articles and I really appreciate the work coming out of their labs!
Last but not least, the final cannabinoid in our series is Cannabicyclol, or CBL. When Cannabichromene is exposed to oxygen and UV light it degrades into CBLa (akin to THCa or CBDa). Very little is known about this cannabinoid. We almost didn’t cover it, however new research by Steep Hill Labs has found that CBLa is found to have anti-inflammatory & anti-tumor properties. It also has been found to be “decarboxylation resistant”, meaning it handles heat well and doesn’t convert to CBL easily.
Unfortunately there is a very low percentage of CBLa in cannabis so research into this cannabinoid hasn’t made much ground. Research does show that it can regulate and smooth the contractions of muscles and can affect reproduction. Much more research is needed before we’ll really understand just what that means though.
We’ve completed our trek across the cannabinoid terrain. Our endocannabinoid system is complex and there are many cannabinoids that interact with it. But is that all? Let’s cover a new term floating around the cannabis world that causing a lot of excitement: terpenes.
Roughly 140 of the compounds found in the cannabis plant are what are known as terpenes or terpenoids. These words are used interchangeably, however a terpene is natural where terpenoids only occur after oxidation. These compounds are where the flower and its extracts derive their flavor and aroma from. Terpenes are not unique to the cannabis plant. In the world of plants terpenes are used as a means of defense and attraction simultaneously; terpenes attract bees and other beneficial organisms that assist in reproduction while also repelling predators like aphids and mosquitoes.
Like cannabinoids, terpenes have their own medicinal and therapeutic benefits. Terpenes also interact with cannabinoids, giving them a boost . Researchers found that the terpenes and cannabinoids are synergistic and can increase their effects. Lower THC concentrations can still feel strong and the effect of some medicinal compounds like CBD are more efficacious on the human body. This is known as the Entourage Effect. We’ll cover the Entourage Effect in our next article.
The most recognized terpenes are: humulene, pinene, linalool, caryophyllene, myrcene & limonene. Let’s briefly cover each one:
- Humulene: Earthy, woody aroma. Also found in hops & coriander. Known to suppress appetite and have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial & pain relieving qualities. Vaporizes at 388 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Pinene: Sharp, sweet & piney aroma. Also found in pine needles, conifers & sage. Known to increase memory retention & alertness as well as treat asthma and inflammation. Vaporizes at 311 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Linalool: Floral, citrus & spicy aroma. Also found in pepper, cloves, hops, basil & oregano. Known to have a sedated and/or calming effect and treats insomnia, depression, stress, anxiety, pain & convulsions. Vaporizes at 388 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Caryophyllene: Peppery, woody & spicy aroma. Also found in hops & coriander. Can be used to treat muscle spasms, pain & insomnia. Vaporizes at 320 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Myrcene: Musk, clove, herbal & citrus aroma. Also found in mango, thyme, citrus, lemongrass & bay leaves. Known to have a sedating, calming & relaxing effect and can be used as an antiseptic, anti-fungal & antibacterial. This is the popular terpene known to increase the psychoactive effect of THC. Vaporizes at 388 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Limonene: Citrus, lemon & orange aroma. Also found in Citrus rind, juniper & peppermint. Known for stress relief and can elevate moods. Can be used for treating anxiety, depression & gastrointestinal issues. Vaporizes at 349 degrees Fahrenheit.
There are many more terpenes and cannabinoids that need to be researched, but what we do know is exciting! Cannabis continues to show off it’s versatility and may very well replace several commodities and medicines we currently use.
Join us next week for the last article in our “Understanding Cannabinoids” series. We’ll be discussing the Entourage Effect and how everything ties together. Stay connected for the next in our series by signing up for the newsletter below.
Editor’s Note: My favorite terpene is the lesser known Ocimene. It has a flavor like cake or candy. Strains known to test high in Ocimene are Golden Goat, Strawberry Cough, Chernobyl, and Space Queen.