As cannabis plants grow, they produce a variety of cannabinoids through a process known as biosynthesis. This begins with Cannabigerol, or CBG. Cannabigerolic acid (CBG) is often referred to as the “stem cell” of cannabinoids. It is the precursor to THC, CBD, and CBC (Cannabichromene).

When it is first synthesized, CBG contains a carboxylic acid group, so an “A” is placed at the end of it: CBGA. This is true for the rest of the cannabinoids which end with the letter A (THCA, CBDA, etc.). Decarboxylation occurs when the carboxylic acid groups spontaneously break off of the cannabinoid structures, which will happen gradually over time, or quickly if the cannabis is heated (or during a supercritical CO2 extraction). We often speak of “activating” the cannabinoids, but they are not inactive prior to decarboxylation, they just have different properties and effects. One of the key differences is the psychoactivity of THC and THCV, both of which have no mind-altering properties when raw.

We’ve adapted the following handy chart from one made by Halent Labs, showing the different effects the main cannabinoids have at different stages (click for a full-sized version):

Cannabinoid Reference
Click for full size

10 comments on “Cannabinoid Reference Chart

  1. That’s s great chart if the scientific of the different canabaniods, but a lot to diagest, for the little people, but I know what I like, and what works for my allments. Thanks for the information.

  2. Is there a way I can connect with a CA cannibs M.D. in California — I am out-of-state, and live in NJ — with a serious health challenge, and need help.

    Any direction you can offer will be appreciated.

    Many Thanks,
    Valoire

  3. California doctors can only issue a recommendation that would be valid within the state of California, and only if you are a resident of the state.

  4. I have bad insomnia and want to stop using ambien. I have had bad experiences with mj making me nauseous and feel too heavy. I do not want to smoke it for health reasons. I know there are a lot of options and want to be educated. Plus I need a referral to a doctor who can get me a card so I can try this treatment. I live in Ventura.
    Thanks!
    Nikki

  5. I was wondering which cannabanoid you would reccomend for me. I have Diabetes and terrible peripheral neuropathy in my feet and i have had it for 10 years. on a scale of 1-10 10 being the worst pain i’m at an 8 without heavy heavy pain meds .. Oxycontin 30 mg up to 10 a day plus over 10 methadone per day. I have also heard that that the medicine is good for reducing sugar as well. Please let me know if you think there is anything that can help me with this. I know nothing is promised but nothing ventured nothing cured.

    Thank You,
    Jeff Fitzpatrick

  6. A recent study done by the University of California San Diego, on a small number of patients, concluded that inhaled cannabis reduces diabetic neuropathy, and that the analgesic effect is dose-dependent (in other words, higher dosages gave more relief). In these tests, the researchers used THC concentrations of 1%, 4%, or 7%, and reported the best results with higher concentrations. The full text is behind a paywall, but from the abstract it appears they evaluated their results based only on THC content. One observation they made was that those reporting relief also reported being significantly “high”, so it follows that someone wanting to avoid that sort of thing would look for something with more CBD. The CBD and THC work synergistically, with the THC working on the pain and the CBD modulating the THC side effects and adding its own anti-inflammatory (and glucose-balancing) effects.

    Talk with a knowledgeable doctor or pharmacist about medication interactions — CBD interacts with the Cytochrome P450 enzyme in the liver, which means that it can impact the absorption and bioavailability of opioid painkillers, blood thinners, some chemotherapy agents, and other commonly prescribed medications. THC and CBD by themselves will not hurt you, but if CBD potentiates opioid medications that can be dangerous. With cautious dosing, however, many patients report being able to decrease or even discontinue the use of opioids.

  7. My Dr ask if I would take this rather then pain pills , I have been on pills for over ten years and they work for me . The same dosage, and I’m not one of those guys you see with pain pills in a spoon with heat. Once I start I know my Dr, he wants me off pain meds because in Ca the Government is getting after the Dr’s , so it’s getting harder to get the same amount. I have a real bad back with deformed spine , the illness is called A/S, Ankolopsing spondydis and have had this for over thirty years. I was able to manage until the last 12 years plus. So if you have used this will it stop the pain? Thanks AL

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