What Are Cannabinoids, Their Types, and Effects?

Tia Moskalenko
Tia Moskalenko

Tia Moskalenko, author of the AskGrowers blog, brings a unique blend of content to her readers. She is known for conducting insightful interviews with key figures in the cannabis industry, including brand representatives, manufacturers, and experts. In addition to her interview skills, Tia has a keen focus on CBD. She expertly curates product selections and reviews, offering her readers detailed insights into the various effects and benefits of CBD. Tia's ability to combine in-depth interviews with comprehensive CBD analysis makes her a valuable asset to the cannabis community, offering a well-rounded perspective on the industry.

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What Are Cannabinoids, Their Types, and Effects?

Marijuana lovers already know that cannabis contains THC and CBD. The percentage of these cannabinoids decides the weed characteristics. But in fact, there are many more cannabinoids definitions than just two. They are found not only in marijuana but also in the bodies of animals and people. But first things first.

What Are Cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Of over 480 different compounds present in the plant, only around 66 are termed cannabinoids.

The most well known among these compounds is the delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), which is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. Cannabidiol (CBD) is another important component, which makes up about 40% of the plant resin extract.

Read Also: Types of Weed Seeds You Need to Know About

As chemical compounds, cannabinoids can be divided into 3 types:


These are the cannabinoids found in mammals. Accordingly, people also have this component. Endocannabinoids are compounds produced by the organs and tissues of our body. These cannabinoids have a structure similar to those we find in marijuana. They have a great influence on our central nervous system and thus support essential processes in the body.

Synthetic Cannabinoids

Synthetic cannabinoids are created artificially in laboratories. More than 200 such compounds are known, they are created specifically to have a strong effect on the human body. For example, the synthetic cannabinoid AMB-FUBINACA is almost a hundred times more potent than THC. Still, the safety of synthetic cannabinoids is highly questionable, as people may experience severe panic, paranoia, and anxiety. They can also interfere with the normal functioning of the brain.


These are the same cannabinoids found in marijuana. However, in addition to weed, you can find this component in other plants. It can also be everyday products, such as cocoa or black pepper.

Before they can become the cannabinoids we know (THC and CBD, for example), phytocannabinoids need to go through a process of decarboxylation. The marijuana plant does not produce cannabinoids but only cannabinoid acids such as THCA and CBDA. To activate them, you need to heat the flowers. When making cannabutter, the flowers are first heated in an oven. Smoking also activates THCA and CBDA.

Read Also: Types of Weed: Indica, Sativa, and Ruderalis – Differences Among Marijuana Types

How Can Cannabinoids Be Consumed?

What Are Cannabinoids

The most common way of consumption is smoking. However, you can pick up an alternative:

  • Smoking
  • Vaping
  • Edibles
  • Oils
  • Isolates (crystalline form)
  • Creams and balms.

In order to try different types of cannabinoids, it is worth looking for their extracts. However, be aware that some extracts (like THC-P) can be very expensive as they require a lot of marijuana to make. Still, you can learn more about extracts to understand what they are for and how to buy them.

When choosing your type of consumption, it is worth considering the duration of the cannabinoid. For example, the effect of THC when smoking marijuana lasts up to three hours. But if you eat THC-infused cookies, the effects of cannabinoids can last up to 10 hours.

There are no general dosage guidelines for cannabinoids, so you should check with your budtender to make sure you are taking cannabinoids correctly.

Read Also: THC Isn't As Important

How Many Cannabinoids Are There

There are quite a few major types of cannabinoids out there. Since the marijuana industry is still relatively new, science is just beginning to explore the concept of cannabinoids.

effects of cannabinoids


CBD is the non-psychoactive component of cannabis. In recent years, attempts at CBD products have been on the rise. All since this component began to be explored more. Medical use of cannabinoids has increased recently. It has been proven that CBD can relieve pain, relax muscles, help with sclerosis, and so on. Besides, in everyday life, many people use CBD oil, which helps them calm down and improve sleep. CBD in capsules or in the form of oil does not have an immediate effect, but they work like vitamins.

It is worth noting that there are many ways to consume CBD. In addition to oil and capsules, you can also choose from joints, vaporizers, and edibles. Also, among the products, you can find CBD ointments that locally reduce pain and remove muscle spasms.

Even though CBD does not have any serious side effects, it is not recommended for pregnant women to take CBD. There is too little evidence to show if CBD is harmful to pregnant women.


Tetrahydrocannabinol is a compound that all weed drinkers know about. The ingredient that makes us high after consuming THC products. The higher the percentage of THC in the strain, the more powerful it is. However, regardless of strain potency, each person has their limits. Maybe you won't feel anything at all. It all depends on your body.

It should take a little time before you feel the buzz. When smoking, this is up to 5 minutes, but if you eat a THC-infused brownie, the process can take up to half an hour. Do not take too much weed; instead, wait until the high begins to spread through the body.

People can experience a range of emotions from THC. They can feel euphoria, relaxation, focus, and so on. All this is individual. Some people think that THC is the most important thing in cannabis, but it is not true.

The side effects are often the same, though. People feel dryness in the eyes and mouth. Therefore, it is worth preparing drinks in advance. Likewise, you may feel a pang of strong obsessive hunger.

Side effects usually depend on the potency of the weed. Therefore, you can experience both pain in the head and severe paranoia. THC cannabinoid uses include medical purposes. For example, to relieve pain. You can read more in our article.


The cannabinoid is synthesized from hemp. The only difference is that the structure of THC-O is changed in the laboratory. Thus, the chemical structure changes, and we get a compound that overtakes THC in terms of power.

There is no evidence that THC-O is safe to consume. This component is three times more aggressive than THC. THC-O can make you high at the moment, but you may experience lethargy, nausea, and dizziness, among the side effects.

You can try THC-O through smoking or vaping, however, you must take minimal doses of the product.

Delta-10 THC

Delta-10 THC products are not often featured in the cannabis market. There is very little research on this topic yet, but it seems to be the same as other THC isotopes. In theory, the process of creating Delta-10 THC also remains incomprehensible. It is believed that it can be made naturally, but scientists often get the component from synthetic cannabis products.

Delta-8 THC

Like Delta-10, this component has similar effects to THC. However, studies have shown that the effects of Delta-8 THC are much milder than those of THC. You can try Delta-8 THC in products such as:

  • Tinctures
  • Vaping pens
  • Gummies
  • Pills.

Hexahydrocannabinol (HHC)

Hexahydrocannabinol can be found in Sativa in very small amounts. Therefore, the cannabinoid is usually synthesized. HHC doesn't get as much research as other minor cannabinoids, so it's hard to say much about it. But some studies have suggested that HHC may inhibit the development of cancerous tumors. HHC is not as strong as THC. Still, consumers have reported that HHC is more effective. The type of high and side effects of HHC are the same as those of THC.

11-Hydroxy THC

This component is created in your body after consuming foods containing THC. It happens when you choose edibles. The THC then breaks down, creating an 11-Hydroxy-THC metabolite.

types of cannabinoids


You can find CBG in almost every strain of cannabis. Yet the content of this compound is so low that you won't be able to feel the effects of CBG. You can choose to smoke marijuana or try synthetic products such as CBG oils or gummies. The main effect of CBG is to relieve pain and tension. However, users also say that the cannabinoid can excite. There is still too little research on CBG to talk more about its positive or negative effects. 


CBN is a cannabinoid found in old and dry cannabis flowers. When THC is oxidized, it turns into a compound without any psychotropic effects. The cannabinoid is not very common, but you can find the component in oils, tinctures, capsules, and vape pens. Despite their different origins, the effects of CBN are similar to those of CBD. You can read more about this here.


Cannabichromene is a breakdown product of CBDA when the acid goes through the decarboxylation process. Unlike CBD, you cannot buy CBC from a dispensary. To do this, you need a medical card. The cannabinoid has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial qualities. CCB also has antidepressant properties. Even though science hasn't advanced much on this cannabinoid yet, you can read more here. CBD vs CBG vs CBN vs CBC are different in their origin. However, these are all non-psychoactive components that have similar effects and medical applications.


THCP is a relatively recent discovery. The cannabinoid was discovered in 2019. It is found in the flowers of cannabis, which grows in Europe and the Middle East. Pure THC-P is very expensive, as it takes a lot of cannabis to achieve a high-quality extraction.

The cannabinoid has already established itself as a compound that is more powerful than THC. It is suitable for users looking for a brighter high for themselves. What do cannabinoids do? THC-P is reported to be better at relieving pain than THC. The side effects of the cannabinoid are similar to those of THC. Because THC-P was recently discovered, there are too few studies. Therefore, only some brands can sell THC-P products.


CBDV is one of those cannabinoids that cannabis plants produce. Science knows much less about CBDV than about CBD. However, this non-psychoactive cannabinoid is very similar to CBD in its structure and mechanisms of action.

Synthetic Cannabinoids (SCs)

Synthetic cannabinoids (SCs) are created in the laboratory. These are manmade compounds that are similar to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. Are often found in "designer drugs" or "herbal incense." The first synthetic cannabinoid, cyclohexylphenols (CP), was isolated from a herbal blend called "Spice" in the late 1970s and early 1980s by the Pfizer Inc.

How to Choose a Cannabinoid Product?

What do cannabinoids do

There are probably several dispensaries in your city. But how to choose a good product without making a mistake? There are certain rules:

Company Reputation

If you have found a dispensary or an online store that you like, do not rush to follow a beautiful picture. The first step is to check the real product reviews. You should have a transparent dispenser in front of you that knows what it's selling. Don't try to rely on the black market. It is too high a chance that you will be deceived. Plus, you don't know what's in the black bag from the dealer. There is no way you can be sure of the product you are being sold.

Quality of Cannabis Flowers

When buying marijuana buds, you should pay attention to the appearance of the flower. These should be full-fledged buds, not crushed cannabis. By grinding the weed, the dealer can mix it with anything, there may not even be a bud at all.

When buying products for the first time, be sure to check the condition of the buds. Sometimes a product may be completely unusable, due to mold, for example. It is very hard to notice because the mold looks like white spots, they can be quite small. Therefore, you may not immediately notice them.

You can check the buds by smell. Moldy flowers smell musty or hay. Mold will not cause many problems for a healthy person, but you may experience nausea, vomiting, and coughing. But for people with a weakened immune system, moldy buds can even be deadly.

And the point is not whether you buy buds from a trusted seller or not. Scientists from Northern California did their research and found that mold was found on 20 percent of the cannabis they bought from dispensaries or growers directly.

Read Also: What Are Terpenes?

Laboratory Testing and Licenses

When visiting an online dispensary, ask if marijuana is tested. You must make sure that you are being sold a safe, lab-tested product. For example, 3rd party testing has long been a guarantee of product quality. Testing only in an internal laboratory makes the product questionable. Also, make sure that pesticides are not used in the production of products. Research suggests that these chemicals enter the body through smoking smoke.


The world of cannabis is so huge that people still haven't explored all the cannabinoids to the end. You can choose a product similar to your tastes from all the cannabinoids list. It all depends on what effect you want to achieve. However, remember that you should always adhere to the norms of dosing the product so as not to experience unpleasant consequences.


A cannabinoid is often referred to as the chemical compound found in cannabis plants. Yet, the spectrum of cannabinoids is much larger since the components can be created artificially or produced by the human body.
Products that contain any type of THC more than 0.3-0.5% are banned in many states. Synthetic cannabinoids (SC) are also in question.
THC is a phytocannabinoid found in marijuana plants. It is the chemical component that makes users high.
Cannabis is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Science has not proven that marijuana makes a person stronger and faster. It's more about the reputation of weed.
All four cannabinoids have different origins, and they act differently on the human body. However, their effects are similar to those of CBD. Besides, all these cannabinoids are non-psychoactive.
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