What are Cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are natural occurring substances found in the Cannabis plant. The main cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ-THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). There are over 490 different compounds that are found in the Cannabis sativa plant but approximately 66 are termed to be cannabinoids.

Types of Cannabinoids


This is the fiber found in the cannabis plant. It’s usually extracted from the stem and used in making strong fabrics, ropes and fiberboards.

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This includes pharmaceutical cannabis products that have been approved by the administration of therapeutic goods.


These are dried leaves and buds found in the cannabis plant and are smoked in either a bong or a joint.


This is a synthetic analogue of tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ-THC) and it’s considered to be more potent than tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ-THC).


Has similar effects to tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ-THC) but has less potency than tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ-THC) by a small margin.


This is a synthetic cannabinoid that was used to study cannabinoid receptors by Dr Huffman.


The cannabinoid was created in the late 2016 by the German drug market.

 Cannabinoids are grouped into sub-classes that include:

  • Cannabigerols (CBG)
  • Cannabichromenes (CBC)
  • Cannabidiol (CBD)
  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
  • Cannabinol (CBN)
  • Cannabinodiol (CBDL)
  • Other cannabinoids including cannabicyclol (CBL), cannabielsoin (CBE) and cannabitriol (CBT)

How do Cannabinoids look like?

The substances are in different forms such as:

  • Leaves, Flowers (buds) 
  • Capsules 
  • Edibles (gummies, brownies etc.)
  • Creams/Lotions 
  • Oils 
  • Oro-mucosal sprays 
  • Tinctures

How are cannabinoids used?

Both illicit and synthetic cannabinoids are smoked, eaten or vaporized. Medicinal cannabinoids may be in raw form then end up getting vaporized or converted to liquids, oils or even oral sprays. Some people have also come up with gels made from cannabinoids that can be applied directly on the skin.

Synthetic cannabinoids

These are molecules that are designed to mimic the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ-THC). Like Tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ-THC), the synthetic cannabinoids usually target the type 1 receptor (CB1R) in the brain and is responsible for the effects of Tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ-THC) in cannabis. Due to the evolution of advanced technology, majority of the substances have developed to the extent of them no longer fitting with the traditional classification of cannabinoids.

Are cannabinoids harmful?

  • It has been proven that excessive consumption of cannabinoids leads to increased cases of car crashes.
  • Consumption of cannabinoids while pregnant may result to giving birth to a child with a lower weight than normal.
  • Excessive consumption may result to overdependence hence someone develops a disorder with signs and symptoms such as withdrawal, lack of control as well as craving for more cannabinoids. Overdependence has led to negligence of personal responsibilities and other obligations in general.
  • Adolescents who begin using cannabinoids at a young age are more likely to develop a disorder due to consumption unlike adults.
  • Frequent use of cannabinoids has been associated with a high risk of schizophrenia development and other psychoses.
  • Cannabinoids may result to orthostatic hypotension thus a person consuming the drug may be at a risk of fainting and falling unexpectedly.

Are cannabinoids helpful in treating health conditions?

Scientists have proven that drugs containing cannabinoids may at some point treat certain rare forms of nausea, epilepsy and vomiting brought about by cancer chemotherapy as well as weight loss and loss of appetite brought about by HIV/AIDS. Some evidence has also proven that cannabinoids has been of great benefit for people suffering from chronic pain and multiple symptoms of sclerosis.

The use of cannabinoids becomes more harmful when:

  1. Consumed with alcohol or stimulants such as methamphetamine as well as other prescribed medications since it may result to unpleasant effects such as nausea, panic, anxiety and paranoia.
  2. Driving or operating heavy machinery.
  3. Judgement is required.
  4. Alone (something bad may happen to you and there will be no one to help in case of an emergency)
  5. The consumer has a mental health problem.
  6. The consumer has an existing heart problem.

If you are a consumer of cannabinoids or know a person who consumes cannabinoids and has affected their well-being as well as her relationship and responsibilities both at school and work, it’s good to consult a health practitioner that will take you through the process of rehabilitation.

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