by Jorge Cervantes
Cannabis is the only plant that produces chemicals called cannabinoids. However, with gene splicing and genetic engineering, it is only a matter of time until cannabinoids are added to other plants. Cannbinoids are ingredients unique to cannabis; the psychoactive cannabinoids are responsible for the mind-bending effects of marijuana. Some cannabinoids get you high. Around 40 cannabinoids have been confirmed to exist, but most are not psychoactive. Here is a short rundown on the six most prominent cannabinoids.
Delta 9 THC
Delta 9 THC, the main ingredient that gets you high, is called: delta9-trans-tetrahydrocannabinol. All cannabis, whether industrial hemp or drug marijuana, contains some Delta 9 THC. Industrial hemp cannabis contains infinitesimal amounts while dried flower tops (buds) of potent marijuana can contain up to 25 percent Delta 9 THC. In potent varieties of marijuana, perhaps all of the mind-bending effects are derived from Delta 9 THC. Delta 8 THC is found in very low concentrations in cannabis. It also gets you high, but there is so little Delta 8 THC in most cannabis that researchers, breeders, and growers concentrate on the more abundant and potent Delta 9 THC. To simplify matters we will refer to both Delta 9 THC and Delta 8 THC as THC.
Cannabidiol, known as CBD, also appears in virtually all varieties of cannabis. The amount of CBD varies enormously, from a trace to more than 95 percent of all cannabinoids present in a plant. CBD generally has a sedative effect regarding the high you experience. CBD, when combined with THC, tends to postpone the beginning of the high, but the good part is that CBD can make it last twice as long. Whether CBD increases or decreases the force of the high is subjective and must be discerned by each smoker.
Cannabinol, or CBN, is produced as THC oxidizes or degrades. Only a trace of CBN exists in fresh bud. Stored and cured tops or hashish have higher levels f CBN that has converted from THC. Marijuana with high levels of CBN generaly makes the toker fee disoriented, often sleepy or groggy, referred to as a stupefying high. At best, CBN contains only 10% of the psychoactive potency of the original THC.
Tetrahydrocannabivarin, called THCV, is the shorter three-carbon propyl that replaces the five-carbon pentyl chain. This compound is associated with the fragrance of the plant. In other words, very pungent smelling marijuana normally contains THCV. Warmer temperatures bring out more smell. THCV is found in very potent marijuana that originates is Southeast and Central Asia as well as regions in Africa. Concentrations of THCV usually make the high come on quicker and disappear sooner. There is still much research to do on this cannabinoid.
Cannabichromene, or CBC, may make up to 20 percent of the cannabinoid profile in a plant. Litlle study has been done on this cannabinoid. So far, researchers beieve it may interact with THC to make the high more intense.