Cannabinoids: What They Are and 9 Different Types

Most people are familiar with the two most popular types of cannabinoids: THC and CBD.

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the chemical compound that makes you feel “high”, while CBD (cannabidiol) is the non-psychoactive chemical compound which can help you manage stress and anxiety.

But did you know there are more than just those two? 

Better yet, these other cannabinoids can provide health-boosting benefits.

Whether you’re new to cannabis or an experienced user, it’s important that you learn about them and consider exploring them.

What Are Cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are naturally produced in cannabis. They have the unique ability to interact with your body and, more specifically, the receptors in your cells. 

This happens through a series of pathways and can generate chemical releases in the brain. 

These chemical releases can cause effects in your body. 

So far, scientists have identified 113 cannabinoids, and some of them have very distinct effects. 

As it stands, THC, CBD and CBN have the most substantial body of research behind them. 

In the 1940’s, the first cannabinoids identified were CBD and CBN. It wasn’t until 1964 that THC was isolated and its structure identified.

Research on Cannabinoids is Growing

The great thing about cannabis is the increasing amount of research being done on it right now.

There have been biochemical studies of the plant as well as physiological and chemical studies of its pharmacology.

However, research on cannabinoids and their benefits has been held back, particularly in the United States, due to regulations.

This means information on the subject can be a little patchy and often displays inconsistencies. 

However, with the recent changes in regulations and ongoing legalization, cannabinoids are beginning to be researched in better detail. 

What is The Endocannabinoid System?

The endocannabinoid system, or endogenous cannabinoids system (ECS), is the network of cell receptors that interacts with cannabinoids in your body. 

If you didn’t have this system, cannabis wouldn’t produce any effects in your body..

Your body actually produces its own cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids. 

This is an area where there is still a lot of research to be done. In fact, human cannabis receptors weren’t discovered until 1988. 

Up until that point, scientists believed the reactions with cannabis were created via an interaction between our cells and the plant cannabinoids.

However, it’s now understood that there are chemical mechanisms which make this happen. 

There is still a lot of mystery surrounding how our bodies actually create cannabinoids. 

The Two Types of Cannabinoid Receptors: CB1 and CB2

Your network of receptors, which make up the ECS, are all over the human body. 

There are two types of cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2.

Cannabinoid receptors type 1, or CBD 1 receptors, are located mainly in the brain. 

However, there are also receptors in parts of your eye and retina. They’re also present in both the male and female reproductive systems. 

The other set of receptors, cannabinoid receptors type 2, are mainly found in the immune system. 

The highest amount of CB2 receptors are located  in the spleen. These are the receptors which, according to recent research, help with inflammation. 

While these are the two receptors which we have most information about, there is evidence that there may be other types.

What Are Phytocannabinoids?

The cannabis plant produces its own cannabinoids. 

These are called phytocannabinoids and are completely natural. 

They are similar in structure to our own endocannabinoids and can bind with CB1 and CB2 receptors. 

However, they are not the same as our bodies’ endocannabinoids, which means they can create unique effects. 

This is what people are looking for when they are using cannabis for pain relief or recreationally.

These cannabinoids are produced in the highest concentrations in the resin. This is the product of a gland-like structure called trichomes.  

What Are Trichomes?

Trichomes appear on the flowering buds of cannabis plants and look like tiny crystal mushrooms. They are very delicate. 

When trichomes are larger in size, it means the resin is more cannabinoid rich.

Cannabinoids can also be found in varying concentrations throughout the leafy structures of the plant. 

They appear in the highest concentrations in the flowering parts of female marijuana plants.

9 Types Of Cannabinoids And Their Benefits

Cannabinoids and Trichomes

Now that you know what cannabinoids are, you’re ready to explore the different types. 

Keep in mind that this isn’t a comprehensive list of all cannabinoids. In fact, there are at least dozens of different types.

Here are nine types we think you should know about.

1. THC

There aren’t actually many psychoactive cannabinoids. However, THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is one of them. 

It’s the only psychoactive cannabinoid that exists in dried marijuana flower. This is why smoking or ingesting the plant makes you feel “high”.

THC binds to the CB1 receptors and creates an alteration in the release of chemicals in the brain. 

When this happens, you experience a release of dopamine, as well as changes in memory, movement, mood, perception and cognition. 

These effects are why marijuana can be so therapeutic. 

2. CBD

One of the first cannabinoids to be discovered, CBD, or cannabidiol, is non-psychotropic. 

This means that CBD does not have the psychoactive effects of THC, and can actually counteract the cognitive effects of THC. 

Medical patients often don’t like THC and find the psychoactive effects unpleasant. 

So CBD-only products can offer the medical and therapeutic benefits of cannabis but without the high.

CBD is primarily extracted from hemp plants, which have only trace amounts of THC.


When cannabis becomes heated, Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, or THCA, starts producing its effects.

This non-psychoactive compound has a number of reported health benefits. 

For example, it has anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, anti-tumor, and immunomodulatory properties.


This cannabinoid is similar to THCA and THC. 

Also known as cannabidiolic acid, it’s converted to CBD after being exposed to heat.

Like CBD, CBDA is non-psychotropic, and may have the ability to fight nausea.


CBGA is also known as cannabigerolic acid. 

It is another prevalent cannabinoid and is produced by the cannabis plant after THCA and CBDA. 

It has the potential to be an antibiotic, as well as having antibacterial, anti-tumor, and antiseptic properties.

There is also evidence from recent studies showing it can help treat cachexia, a condition people suffer from when they undergo chemotherapy.


THCV is also known as tetrahydrocannabivarin acid. 

It has a very similar chemical makeup to THC and is also psychoactive. 

It provides numerous medicinal benefits, including the potential to regulate blood sugar and treat Type 2 Diabetes

Other benefits are its propensity to stimulate bone health, and it is also thought to improve conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.


CBDVA, or cannabidivarinic acid, is another non-psychoactive cannabinoid. 

It has recently shown great promise as an anticonvulsant. This means it can really help epilepsy sufferers.

8. CBN

CBN, or cannabinol, is the chemical result of aged cannabis. 

When marijuana gets old, THC becomes CBN. 

 It may help pain reduction as well as sleep problems. 

CBN can also fight MSRA bacteria and has anti-seizure properties.


Non psychoactive CBCA, or cannabichromene, has the possibility to help fight cancer

It may also assist with pain and inflammation caused by arthritis. 

Wrap-Up: THC and CBD Aren’t the Only Cannabinoids

While THC and CBD are the most popular cannabinoids, they’re not the only ones.

Other cannabinoids have the potential medical benefits, and may be able to help you combat stress and anxiety.

If you’re looking to explore how cannabinoids can help you, come visit us at Green Kong in Perris, CA.

You can also order our CBD and cannabis products online.