Cannabis chemotypes, also known as chemovars, refer to the different chemical compositions found within the cannabis plant. These chemotypes are determined by the presence and relative abundance of various cannabinoids, such as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD (cannabidiol), and many others. Each chemotype has its own unique combination of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds, resulting in distinct effects and medicinal properties. Understanding cannabis chemotypes is crucial for both recreational users and medical patients as it helps them make informed decisions about the strains they choose based on their desired effects and therapeutic needs.
What are Cannabinoids? Cannabinoids are a class of chemical compounds that are naturally found in the cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa). These compounds interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is involved in regulating various physiological processes.
The cannabis plant produces over 100 different cannabinoids, although not all of them are well-studied or present in high concentrations. The two most well-known cannabinoids are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
There are a host of other more uncommon cannabinoids, we list the most well known below.
What is THCA? THCA, or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, is a cannabinoid compound that is found in the raw, unheated form of cannabis. It is the precursor to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the well-known psychoactive compound in cannabis, that is one difference between TCHA and THC.
THCA is produced in the trichomes of the cannabis plant, which are the resinous glands found on the surface of the flowers, leaves, and stems. It is synthesized through a process known as biosynthesis, where an enzyme converts cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) into THCA.
In its raw form, THCA is non-psychoactive, meaning it does not induce the “high” commonly associated with THC. It is only when THCA is heated, typically through smoking, vaporizing, or decarboxylation (applying heat), that it undergoes a chemical transformation and converts into THC. The decarboxylation of THCA process removes a carboxyl group from the THCA molecule, resulting in the conversion to THC and the activation of its psychoactive effects.
In cannabis cultivation, monitoring THCA content is essential to determine the potency of a strain. Growers often focus on maximizing THC levels in their plants by optimizing cultivation conditions, such as light intensity, temperature, humidity, and nutrient levels. Cultivators may also manipulate genetics through selective breeding or genetic modification to enhance THCA production.
It’s worth noting that THCA has gained attention for its potential therapeutic properties, such as anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. Some individuals consume raw cannabis or use THCA-rich products as an alternative to traditional THC-focused cannabis consumption. However, more research is needed to fully understand the specific benefits and potential applications of THCA in medical treatments.
What is THCV? THCV, or tetrahydrocannabivarin, is a cannabinoid compound found in some varieties of cannabis. It is structurally similar to THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), but it has different effects and properties.
THCV is typically found in trace amounts in cannabis plants, but there are specific strains that are known to have higher concentrations of this compound. It is believed to be synthesized from CBGA (cannabigerolic acid) through enzymatic processes in the plant’s trichomes, similar to other cannabinoids.
THCV has gained attention for its unique properties and potential therapeutic benefits. While THC is known for its psychoactive effects, THCV has a different interaction with the cannabinoid receptors in the body. It is considered a partial agonist of the CB1 receptor, meaning it can bind to CB1 receptors but may not activate them as fully as THC does. This may result in less potent psychoactive effects or even potential mood and appetite suppression which is why some people try THCV for weight loss.
In terms of its potential benefits, THCV has been studied for its potential use in appetite suppression, weight loss, and as an anti-obesity agent. It may also have neuroprotective properties and could be explored for its potential in managing conditions like Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy. However, it is important to note that research on THCV is still in its early stages, and more studies are needed to fully understand its therapeutic effects.
For cannabis cultivators, growing strains with higher THCV content can be challenging. It requires selecting or breeding cannabis varieties with a genetic predisposition for producing higher levels of THCV. Tailoring cultivation conditions, such as light spectrum, temperature, and nutrient levels, may also have an impact on THCV production.
It’s important to consult with experts and conduct thorough research when seeking specific THCV strains or products, as the availability may vary in different regions and the market.
What is Delta 8? Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-8-THC or D8-THC) is a minor cannabinoid found in cannabis. It is an isomer of the more well-known Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-9-THC), which is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis / marijuana varieties.
Delta-8-THC differs from Delta-9-THC in the placement of a double bond in its chemical structure. This slight difference in structure gives Delta-8-THC unique properties and effects compared to Delta-9-THC. Delta 8, though pharmacologically similar to Delta 9, has not been used medically.
In cannabis cultivation, Delta-8-THC is usually present in low concentrations within the plant. However, with advances in extraction and refinement techniques, it has become possible to isolate and concentrate Delta-8-THC for specific products.
Some cannabis cultivators and manufacturers are seeking to increase Delta-8-THC levels in certain strains or create specialized products that emphasize its effects. This can involve genetic manipulation, selective breeding, or extraction methods that focus on isolating and enhancing Delta-8-THC.
A common question is “is Delta-8 legal”? It’s worth noting that the legal status of Delta-8-THC can vary by jurisdiction. In some places, it may be considered a controlled substance, while in others, it may fall into a legal gray area. It is important to understand and comply with the specific laws and regulations of your region before engaging in any cultivation or production activities related to Delta-8-THC.
What is Delta-9? Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-9-THC) is the primary psychoactive compound found in cannabis. It is one of the many cannabinoids present in the plant and is responsible for the euphoric and intoxicating effects commonly associated with cannabis use.
In cannabis cultivation, Delta-9-THC levels are of particular interest to growers, as they play a crucial role in determining the potency and effects of a cannabis strain. Different cannabis strains can have varying levels of Delta-9-THC, depending on genetic factors, environmental conditions, and cultivation techniques.
Cultivators may have different objectives when it comes to Delta-9-THC levels in their crops. Some may focus on cultivating strains with higher levels of Delta-9-THC for recreational use, seeking to produce more potent and psychoactive effects. Others may prioritize strains with lower levels of Delta-9-THC and higher levels of other cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol (CBD), for medicinal or therapeutic purposes.
To influence Delta-9-THC content, cultivators can choose specific cannabis strains that are known to have higher or lower THC levels. They can also employ various cultivation techniques, such as adjusting lighting, nutrient levels, temperature, and watering schedules, to influence the development of cannabinoids in the plant.
As far as therapeutic benefit goes, Delta-9 has been used as an antiemetic, anti microbial, and antifungal. It has also been used in boosting appetite in AIDS patients, and for treating AIDS related anorexia and nausea, as well as vomiting associated with chemotherapy.
A common question is, “What is the difference between Delta-8 and Delta-9”? In terms of its effects, Delta-8-THC is reported to have a milder psychoactive effect than Delta-9-THC, often described as producing a smoother and more subtle high. Users may experience less anxiety and paranoia commonly associated with higher doses of Delta-9-THC, making it potentially more tolerable for some individuals.
What is CBN? CBN, or cannabinol, is a cannabinoid that can be found in cannabis plants. It is derived from the oxidation and degradation of the more prominent cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). When THC is exposed to air or heat over time, it breaks down and converts into CBN.
CBN is typically present in trace amounts in fresh cannabis plants, but its concentration can increase as the plant ages, dries, or undergoes improper storage. Unlike THC, CBN is not known for its psychoactive effects. It is often regarded as having minimal intoxicating properties.
While CBN is not typically a desired compound for recreational users seeking the psychoactive effects of THC, it is of interest in other contexts. Some people believe that CBN has sedative properties and may promote sleep or relaxation. However, scientific research is still evolving in this area, and more studies are needed to confirm these effects but many people are trying out CBN for sleep. It has up to 10% of the potency of THC and hasn’t been used medically to date.
In the context of cannabis cultivation, CBN content is generally not a primary concern for growers. However, when cultivating cannabis for specific purposes such as producing sleep-inducing products, some growers may intentionally allow their plants to mature for longer periods to increase the conversion of THC to CBN.
What is CBD? CBD, or cannabidiol, is a prominent cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. It is one of the many compounds naturally occurring in the plant and has gained widespread attention for its potential therapeutic properties. Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive or non psychotropic and does not produce the typical euphoric or intoxicating effects associated with cannabis use. CBD is most commonly produced by Type III, CBD dominant, hemp varieties.
CBD has garnered significant interest in recent years due to its reported potential benefits, such as providing relief for pain, reducing inflammation, alleviating anxiety, promoting relaxation, and supporting overall well-being. It is commonly used in various wellness and medicinal products.
Some of it’s common herbal or medicinal actions are: Anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antifungal, analgesic, antioxidant, antispasmodic, antiemetic, antipsychotic, antiepileptic, vasorelaxant, immunosuppressive, and neuroprotective.
In plain speak, some common uses are to help assist recovery from soreness or inflammation associated with sports training or basic life injuries. CBD is also a great remedy for coming down from OD symptoms from too much THC ingestion. The recommended daily dose for anti-epileptic uses for a child is 10 mg / day.
CBD has also shown promise with movement disorders and can alleviate neuropathic pain in patients with MS (in combination with D9).
In the context of cannabis cultivation, CBD content is of importance, especially for growers aiming to produce strains with higher levels of CBD and lower levels of THC. Some strains have naturally higher CBD-to-THC ratios, while others may have been selectively bred to enhance CBD content. These strains are often referred to as “CBD-dominant” strains.
CBD cultivation involves careful selection of cannabis strains with desired CBD levels and specific genetics that favor CBD production. Some strains have both THC and CBD in high quantities. Growers may also employ cultivation techniques, such as providing optimal nutrient profiles, adequate lighting, and appropriate environmental conditions, to encourage higher CBD yields.
What is CBDA? CBDA stands for cannabidiolic acid, which is the precursor or raw form of cannabidiol (CBD). It is a naturally occurring compound found in the resinous trichomes of raw cannabis plants, primarily in hemp varieties.
CBDA is formed through a process known as decarboxylation, where heat or light is applied to CBDA and it is converted into CBD. This decarboxylation process typically occurs when cannabis is dried, cured, or heated, as in smoking, vaporization, or cooking.
Like CBD, CBDA is non-intoxicating and does not produce the euphoric or psychoactive effects associated with THC. It is believed to have potential therapeutic properties similar to CBD but may have some distinct effects due to its unique molecular structure.
While research on CBDA is still in its early stages, some studies suggest that it may have anti-inflammatory, analgesic (pain-relieving), and anti-nausea properties. It is also being explored for its potential in inhibiting the migration of certain cancer cells. However, more research is needed to fully understand its effects and therapeutic potential.
CBDA is commonly found in CBD-rich hemp extracts and can be obtained through various extraction methods. It is often converted into CBD through processes such as decarboxylation, where heat is applied to convert CBDA into CBD for use in various CBD products.
What is CBDV? CBDV stands for cannabidivarin, which is a naturally occurring cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. It is structurally similar to cannabidiol (CBD) but has some distinct differences.
CBDV is considered a minor cannabinoid and is typically found in lower concentrations compared to CBD and THC. It is primarily found in certain varieties of cannabis, including certain landrace strains from Africa and Asia.
While research on CBDV is still limited, early studies suggest that it may have potential therapeutic properties. Some preclinical and animal studies indicate that CBDV may have anticonvulsant properties and could be helpful in the management of certain types of seizures. It is being investigated for its potential use in treating epilepsy and other neurological conditions.
CBDV has also been studied for its potential anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory effects. Some research indicates that it may have potential in reducing nausea and vomiting associated with conditions such as chemotherapy-induced nausea or motion sickness. Additionally, it has shown promise in reducing inflammation in animal studies.
As with other cannabinoids, the legal status of CBDV can vary depending on the jurisdiction. It is important to understand and adhere to local laws and regulations regarding the cultivation, extraction, and use of CBDV to ensure compliance.
What is CBG? CBG, or cannabigerol, is a non-intoxicating (non psychotropic) cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. It is considered a minor cannabinoid because it is typically found in lower concentrations compared to more well-known cannabinoids like THC and CBD.
CBG is actually the precursor to other cannabinoids such as THC and CBD. The cannabis plant synthesizes CBG through enzymatic reactions, and as the plant matures, CBG is slowly converted into other cannabinoids. This is why CBG is often found in higher concentrations in younger cannabis plants.
Research on CBG is still ongoing, but it has shown potential therapeutic properties in early studies. Some research suggests that CBG benefits may include anti-inflammatory effects and could potentially be helpful in managing conditions like inflammatory bowel disease and other gastrointestinal disorders. It also has antiproliferative, antimicrobial, antifungal, and fracture healing qualities.
CBG has also been studied for its potential neuroprotective properties. Some preclinical studies have indicated that it may have antioxidant and neuroprotective effects, but more research is needed to fully understand its potential in treating neurological disorders.
As with other cannabinoids, the legal status of CBG can vary depending on the jurisdiction. It’s important to understand and adhere to local laws and regulations regarding the cultivation, extraction, and use of CBG to ensure compliance.
It’s worth noting that while CBG shows promise, much of the research is still in the early stages and more studies are needed to fully understand its potential benefits and effects on the body.
What is CBC? CBC, or cannabichromene, is another non-intoxicating (non psychotropic) cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. Like CBG, CBC is also considered a minor cannabinoid and is typically found in lower concentrations compared to THC and CBD.
CBC is formed through the enzymatic conversion of cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) in the cannabis plant. It is known for its interaction with the endocannabinoid system, although its effects are not as well-studied as those of THC and CBD.
Research suggests that CBC may have various potential therapeutic properties. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory effects and may help in conditions related to inflammation, such as arthritis. Preliminary studies on animal models have also shown that CBC might have analgesic (pain-relieving) and antidepressant properties, as well as antimicrobial and antifungal properties.
Additionally, CBC is known to interact with receptors in the brain that are related to neurogenesis, the process of generating new neurons. This suggests that CBC may have neuroprotective properties and could potentially play a role in promoting brain health.