What other cannabinoids are there in CBD oils?
Are CBD oils pure CBD?
There’s more to CBD products than meets the eye, or, in fact, the name. Whilst cannabidiol is the primary ingredient in CBD tinctures, even isolates contain an additional carrier oil. Whilst you’re probably aware of the cannabinoids CBD and THC (if not, start here first), there’s plenty more to learn about.
Recent developments in the CBD industry have seen a rise in the prevalence of whole plant, full spectrum and broad spectrum products. If you’ve not checked out the ingredient list of your latest CBD oil, it likely doesn’t just have CBD in. In fact, it probably contains a whole array of cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes as well.
The Entourage Effect
The reasoning we’re seeing an onus placed on harvesting other hemp compounds alongside CBD is the entourage effect. Proposed by S. Ben-Shabat and Raphael Mechoulam, it suggests that the effects of CBD are more pronounced alongside the full range of phytochemicals found within the hemp plant. Essentially, it condones a respect of natural synergy, which is a core part of our guiding principle at Vitality CBD.
In whole plant and broad spectrum products, more than 40 additional cannabinoids are retained in the extraction process to support the CBD, alongside a series of terpenes, flavonoids and, in the case of whole plant, waxes and oils. To learn more about this, read our essential guide to whole plant and broad spectrum here.
What cannabinoids are involved?
Even if cannabidiol is by far the most common phytocannabinoid (literally: plant cannabinoid) found in CBD oils, to get a better understanding of how it functions, we need to understand its bedfellows. That’s why we’ve pieced together a list of four of the most frequently found compounds in whole plant and broad spectrum oils, outside of CBD.
When separating out the different cannabinoids produced in the hemp plant, due to the nature of biological synthesis they will often have similar origin points. In the case of CBC, it’s derived from cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), which is also the source of CBD and THC.
In fact, CBC is typically the third most prevalent cannabinoid in most Cannabis strains, though it doesn’t interact with the body in the same way. Whilst is has been shown to bond with CB1 receptors poorly (more on those and the endocannabinoid system here) it binds far more successfully with two other receptors outside of the endocannabinoid system: TRPA1 and TRPV1.
These receptors are known as transient receptor potential channels, the most common function of which has been noted as monitoring and responding to temperature changes. The key point of interest here, however, is the manner in which cannabinoids can activate receptors in channels other than the endocannabinoid system, opening up whole new avenues of research.
Tetrahydrocannabivarin, better known as THCV, is a propyl homologue of Δ9-THC (we’re getting into science-fiction terminology territory here), which means that its structure is homologous with THC. When two substances are homologous, they share an ancestry, and will have similar structures, usually bar a key difference. In the case of THCV and THC, they are separated by having a different carbon side chain.
Such a seemingly small change to a layman actually creates a big shift in the effects. Whilst most cannabinoids, including THC, activate the endocannabinoid receptors found throughout the body (more on that here), THCV actually serves as an “antagonist” for the CB1 receptor. This means that in small doses, THCV lowers the impact of other cannabinoids on CB1 receptors, serving as somewhat of a moderator.
Despite the similarity in naming to cannabidiol, cannabinol is itself a distinct compound. A bit of a misnomer on this list, CBN isn’t synthesised directly by the hemp plant, instead being created by the oxidation of THC. If THC is exposed to air, it begins to degrade and eventually forms CBN, a much less psychotropic derivative.
As a result, CBN is most commonly found in old hemp plants, or baled cannabis that has been stored for too long. However, even well kept hemp will have some oxidisation occur, meaning that CBN will often be found in low quantities in CBD oil.
If you’ve managed to keep up with all the jargon so far, you might remember us mentioning cannabigerolic acid earlier - if you don’t, we can’t really blame you. As a recap, CBG acid is the parent molecule from which several of the key cannabinoids are synthesised. Cannabigerol is the non-acidic form of that molecule.
Like many of the other cannabinoids found in CBD oil, it’s non-psychotropic, meaning it won’t get you high. Since it appears in such low amounts, CBG is considered a minor cannabinoid, but given its shared properties with the origin point of many of the core cannabinoids, its function is definitely an interesting matter for more research.
Our understanding of cannabinoids and how they interact with one another has been essential in creating the Vitality CBD’s product range. We believe a well-informed user is a happier user, which is why we've formulated several articles outlining the science behind CBD.
To get a better insight into the research behind the ways in which cannabinoids interact with human biology, read our piece on the endocannabinoid system, or if you’re looking for a basic introduction to just what CBD is, check our beginner’s guide.
We also have in-depth guides on each part of our product range, covering CBD e-liquids, oral oils and cosmetics. If you have any questions about topics not covered here, reach out to us on our contact page here or our web chat in the bottom right corner of each page.