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Cannabinoid Corner: Beyond CBD

Cannabinoid Corner: Beyond CBD

August 13, 2019

Cannabidiol (CBD) interacts with and influences the endocannabinoid system. CBD is the most researched phytocannabinoid (other than THC), but there are many other cannabinoids in hemp that contribute to the entourage effect. Let’s take a look at some of the lesser-known cannabinoids present in your full-spectrum CBD products.



Cannabigerol (CBG)

Cannabigerol (CBG) is a chemical parent of CBD, but it likely accounts for only 1% of the cannabinoids in the hemp plant [1]. It is a partial agonist of CB2 receptors, but its mechanism on CB1 receptors is unclear [2].

Early studies indicated that CBG reduced intraocular pressure without adverse side effects [3]. CBG has been shown to reduce murine colitis, indicating relevance for inflammatory bowel disease [4]. It has also shown promise in animal studies as an anti-depressant [5].


Cannabidavarin (CBDV)

Cannabidavarin (CBDV) is a homolog of CBD; its chemical structure is only slightly dissimilar (two CH2 groups). 

CBDV has received considerable attention for its anti-convulsant properties; it appears to improve seizure and convulsion activity in a novel way compared to CBD [6]. The effects of co-administration are reported to be linearly additive [7]. Researchers have speculated that CBDV improves epilepsy symptoms by modulating GABA in the brain [8]. GW Pharmaceuticals was issued a patent in 2015 for CBDV as epilepsy medication [9].


Cannabichromene (CBC)

Cannabichromene (CBC) is a structural analog to CBD that is relatively abundant among phytocannabinoid constituents. It demonstrates anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties [10].

CBC does not appear to interact with the cannabinoid receptors [11]. In one study, CBC was found to boost neural stem progenitor cell viability and brain health, possibly through upregulation of adenosine signaling. CBD and CBG, however, did not demonstrate this effect [12].


Cannabinol (CBN)

Cannabinol (CBN) comes from cannabinolic acid (CBNA) under heat. It was the first isolated cannabinoid, an event that occurred in 1899 [13]. CBN shows weak agonist activity at CB1 receptors and acts on transient receptor potential (TRP) channels [14].

CBN significantly delayed the progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in mice [15]. However, studies are still scarce for CBN.


Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA)

Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) is the direct precursor to CBD. Despite heat (which transforms it into CBD), quantities of CBDA remain in full and broad-spectrum products.

CBDA is a selective inhibitor of cyclooxygenase (COX)-2, an enzyme responsible for producing prostaglandins and thereby inflammation [16]. In mice, CBDA was shown to activate serotonin receptors, reducing nausea and preventing vomiting [17]. In cell cultures, CBDA inhibited breast cancer cell migration [18].


Source: PubChem


There are many other phytocannabinoids — at least 113. That is too many to cover here! Many have only just been identified, and research into possible benefits awaits. Fortunately, with full spectrum CBD, you receive the complete range of cannabinoids.






  1. Aizpurua-Olaizola, O., et al. (2016). Evolution of the Cannabinoid and Terpene Content during the Growth of Cannabis sativa Plants from Different Chemotypes. Journal of Natural Products,79(2), 324-331. doi:10.1021/acs.jnatprod.5b00949
  2. Navarro, G., et al. (2018). Cannabigerol Action at Cannabinoid CB1and CB2 Receptors and at CB1-CB2Heteroreceptor Complexes. Frontiers in pharmacology9, 632. doi:10.3389/fphar.2018.00632
  3. Colasanti, B. K., Craig, C. R., & Allara, R. (1984). Intraocular pressure, ocular toxicity and neurotoxicity after administration of cannabinol or cannabigerol. Experimental Eye Research,39(3), 251-259. doi:10.1016/0014-4835(84)90013-7
  4. Borrelli, F., et al. (2013). Beneficial effect of the non-psychotropic plant cannabinoid cannabigerol on experimental inflammatory bowel disease. Biochemical Pharmacology,85(9), 1306-1316. doi:10.1016/j.bcp.2013.01.017
  5. Musty R., Deyo R. (2006). A Cannabigerol extract alters behavioral despair in an animal model of depression: 16th Annual Symposium on the Cannabinoids. International Cannabinoid Research Society, 32
  6. Hill, A., et al. (2012). Cannabidivarin is anticonvulsant in mouse and rat. British Journal of Pharmacology,167(8), 1629-1642. doi:10.1111/j.1476-5381.2012.02207.x
  7. Hill, T. D., et al. (2013). Cannabidivarin-rich cannabis extracts are anticonvulsant in mouse and rat via a CB1receptor-independent mechanism. British Journal of Pharmacology,170(3), 679-692. doi:10.1111/bph.12321
  8. Morano, A., et al. (2016). Cannabis in epilepsy: From clinical practice to basic research focusing on the possible role of cannabidivarin. Epilepsia Open,1(3-4), 145-151. doi:10.1002/epi4.12015
  9. GW Pharmaceuticals Announces US Patent Allowance for Use of Cannabidivarin (CBDV) in Treating Epilepsy. (2015). Retrieved from
  10. Turner, C. E., & Elsohly, M. A. (1981). Biological Activity of Cannabichromene, its Homologs and Isomers. The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology,21(S1). doi:10.1002/j.1552-4604.1981.tb02606.x
  11. Delong, G. T., et al. (2010). Pharmacological evaluation of the natural constituent of Cannabis sativa, cannabichromene and its modulation by Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol☆. Drug and Alcohol Dependence,112(1-2), 126-133. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2010.05.019
  12. Shinjyo, N., & Marzo, V. D. (2013). The effect of cannabichromene on adult neural stem/progenitor cells. Neurochemistry International,63(5), 432-437. doi:10.1016/j.neuint.2013.08.002
  13. Wood, T. B., Spivey, W. T. N., & Easterfield, T. H. (1899). III.—Cannabinol. Part I. Journal of the Chemical Society, Transactions, 75(0), 20–36.
  14. Morales, P., Hurst, D. P., & Reggio, P. H. (2017). Molecular Targets of the Phytocannabinoids: A Complex Picture. Progress in the Chemistry of Organic Natural Products Phytocannabinoids,103-131. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-45541-9_4
  15. Weydt, Patrick, et al. “Cannabinol Delays Symptom Onset in SOD1 (G93A) Transgenic Mice without Affecting Survival.” Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, vol. 6, no. 3, Taylor & Francis, Jan. 2005, pp. 182–84, doi:10.1080/14660820510030149.
  16. Takeda, S., et al. (2008). Cannabidiolic Acid as a Selective Cyclooxygenase-2 Inhibitory Component in Cannabis. Drug Metabolism and Disposition,36(9), 1917-1921. doi:10.1124/dmd.108.020909
  17. Bolognini, D., et al. (2013). Cannabidiolic acid prevents vomiting in Suncus murinus and nausea-induced behaviour in rats by enhancing 5-HT1A receptor activation. British Journal of Pharmacology,168(6), 1456-1470. doi:10.1111/bph.12043
  18. Takeda, S., et al. (2012). Cannabidiolic acid, a major cannabinoid in fiber-type cannabis, is an inhibitor of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell migration. Toxicology Letters,214(3), 314-319. doi:10.1016/j.toxlet.2012.08.029


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