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Introduction to Cannabigerol, Cannabinol, & Cannabichromene

At this point in the game, almost all cannabis consumers know what tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are, but can the same be said about the ‘minor’ cannabinoids of cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), and cannabichromene (CBC)?

Part of a collection of over 70 cannabinoids communally known as minor cannabinoids, these chemical compounds typically occur in far smaller quantities than THC or CBD. CBG, CBN and CBC are the most studied of these; bar the main cannabinoids, though more thorough and numerous studies are required to make claims regarding the benefit or harm these cannabinoids cause.

CBG – Cannabigerol

Known as the ‘Mother of All Cannabinoids,’ cannabigerolic acid (CBG-A) is the chemical ancestor of all cannabinoids – major and minor. CBG is formed through the decarboxylation of CBG-A and is typically only present in very young plants. This is due to enzyme processes that change the CBG-A into tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THC-A), cannabidiolic acid (CBD-A), and cannabichromenic acid (CBC-A), the acidic precursors for THC, CBD, and CBC, respectively. Several companies are working on developing strains that specialize in generating or maintaining large quantities of CBG. Additionally, as interest spikes in these cannabinoids, more companies will report trace amounts within their products.

Many claims have been made regarding the effects of CBG, from clearing the mind and improving the mood to potentially inhibiting cancer growth and treating glaucoma. Despite many preliminary studies indicating potential in therapeutic actions, none of these claims can be substantiated until further professional studies have begun and been completed. Several products containing CBG in the legal market will be marketed with suggestions for use during the morning or daytime.

CBN – Cannabinol

Cannabinol, hiccups in the isolation process notwithstanding, was the first of the cannabinoids that were isolated from cannabis. Despite this, CBN has some of the fewest studies into its use and effects of any cannabinoid. Cannabinolic acid (CBN-A) is formed by exposing THC-A to natural light, heat, and time. The CBN-A is then changed into CBN through decarboxylation.

One of the most common claims concerning CBN is that it helps promote sleep and drowsiness. Of the studies that have been completed, this is something that has virtually no scientific backing. Despite this, many of the products in the legal market containing CBN are marketed with suggestions for use in the evening or night. Other potential usages include pain relief, treatment of glaucoma, as an antibiotic to resistant bacteria, and increasing appetite. Again, all need to be studied extensively before claims can be made about the effects.

CBC – Cannabichromene

Cannabichromene was identified in the 1960s and has been lightly studied since. It is considered more like CBD than THC due to its lack of psychoactive effect. This means CBC will not get you ‘high’ like THC does. Additionally, CBC doesn’t bind to the cannabinoid receptors in the human body like THC or CBD.

Preclinical studies have shown that CBC has anti-nociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects, but how it exerts these is unknown. There is also potential for CBC to help with anxiety or depression by targeting specific enzymes in the brain, to help with cancer treatments, and as a neuroprotectant for many neurological conditions. As stated for the other cannabinoids, more research is needed before any claims surrounding CBCs effects can be considered fact.

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