THC, CBD, CBN, CBC, CBG and about 80 other molecules make up the phytocannabinoid family, which are cannabinoids that occur naturally in the cannabis plant. Here are some of the main ones:
THC: ((6aR, 10aR)-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol): The principal psychoactive constituent (or cannabinoid) of cannabis. The part of cannabis that makes you high.
CBD: Cannabidiol (CBD) is considered to have a wider scope of medical applications than tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The part of cannabis that is relieving and relaxing.
CBN: Cannabinol (CBN) is a weak psychoactive cannabinoid found only in trace amounts of cannabis. The part of cannabis that is both mildly psychoactive and also relaxing.
When cannabis is consumed, cannabinoids bind to receptor sites throughout our brain (receptors called CB-1 are concentrated in the brain and central nervous system and scantly populate other parts of the body) and body (CB-2 are mainly in the peripheral organs, principally cells associated with the immune system). That’s right- we have a couple of parts in our brain and body already built and their sole purpose is to specifically receive and process cannabis- nothing else! Different cannabinoids have different effects depending on which receptors they bind to. For example, THC binds to receptors located throughout the body. These receptors are part of the endocannabinoid system and impact the way your body processes pain, memory, and appetite, and has anti-inflammatory effects and other immune system responses.
By aiming the right cannabinoid at the right receptors, it is believed that several types of relief are achievable. This concept is the cornerstone of cannabis as medicine, and the results are so promising that these cannabinoids have been isolated and synthesized and is now available to be prescribed. Some synthetic cannabinoid medications include Marinol, Nabilone, and Rimonabant. While these synthetic forms are useful, research shows that herbal cannabis contains a far wider variety of therapeutic compounds and tends to be far more effective.