What are CBD, CBG, THC, CBN, CBDA and CBGA? What are cannabinoids?
Okay so you’ve heard of CBD (Cannabidiol) but what are all these other abbreviations and what do they do. Well let’s start with a ‘simple’ chemical biology lesson. Plants are alive, not quite the same as us, obviously, but they need food, water and light to survive and just as we are comprised of cells so are plants.
The starting point for Hemp is CBGA (Cannabigerolic Acid) this is the precursor for all the other cannabinoids and should really be referred to as the stem cell. We like to call it the “Parent Compound’ which undergoes many changes as the flower of the cannabis plant matures to produce the other compounds.
The process can be summarised as follows: As the plants flower matures two compounds called Geranyl Pyrophosphate and Olivetolic Acid bond together and form CBGA. As the plant grows the CBGA is exposed to three main enzymes. An enzyme is a substance produced by a living organism, which acts as a catalyst to bring about a specific biochemical reaction. In this case these enzymes turn the CBGA to THCA, CBDA and CBCA. These in turn change through heat to the cannabinoids we recognise and this is called biosynthesis.
CBGA + heat = CBG
CBGA + Enzymes = THCA plus heat = THC
CBGA + Enzymes = CBDA plus heat = CBD
CBGA + Enzymes = CBCA plus heat = CBC
And so on….
This is where CBD, CBC, CBN, THC and all the currently estimated 141 Cannabinoids come from. So what does all this mean? Well it’s very important to understand what the label on your product is telling you. Different strains of the cannabis plant produce differing amounts of these cannabinoids. But we use the fibre variety of plants you will know as ‘Hemp’ as these produce high levels of CBD in the flowers but very low levels of THC. Some are bred to get you high by producing maximum THC but our plants are cultivated to have the lowest levels of THC but the highest levels of CBD.
Full Spectrum Oil will contain many Cannabinoids, a very low level of THC (certainly below 0.2%), a low level of CBN (a controlled substance like THC) and higher levels of CBG and CBC amongst others. These cannabinoids work in tangent to create what we call the ‘Entourage effect’ and many believe that the benefits people claim are as a result of this combined effect. Others will produce oil, which has many Cannabinoids but NO THC, and this is called ’Broad Spectrum’ Oil. We will go on to discuss these differences and the various extraction processes in our next blogs along with Terpenes (Terpenes are the aromatic and flavourful component of plant essential oils).
A simple lesson, which will help you understand what is and what is not, in your product.