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Cannabiods 101

What are cannabinoids?

The cannabis hemp plant contains a large assortment of special compounds known to us as “cannabinoids”, named after our favorite plant species, which they were initially discovered in.

The most widely-known cannabinoid, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as “THC” was isolated in 1964, decades after cannabidiol (CBD) had first been discovered and isolated. THC is the legally-controlled compound that is dominant in marijuana cannabis strains and known to get its users high.

Interest in the effects of THC and marijuana use led researchers to the body’s earlier-identified CB1 and CB2 receptors, responsible for regulating many normal biological processes like appetite and rest. These receptors were observed interacting with compounds from cannabis to such an extent that scientists named their encompassing tissues and processes the body’s “endocannabinoid system“, also after the plant.

In further studying of this system, it was quickly apparent that THC and CBD weren’t acting alone either, but rather were only two of an entire menagerie of compounds that are unique to cannabis, exhibiting a broad array of interesting properties and effects.

Among the cannabinoid cohort, the most well-known compounds has come to be CBD (cannabidiol); but interest is swelling in CBG (cannabigerol), CBDV (cannavidarin), CBN (cannabinol), and numerous others.

Cannabinoids 101

Why do we care about cannabinoids?

The body’s endocannabinoid system, or simply its system of processes and recepters that interacts with hemp’s phytocannabinoids and also produces similar compounds, is key to regulating the body toward homeostasis.

This system works across multiple channels:

  • rest
  • immunity
  • appetite
  • pain
  • memory function

…or as summed up by famous Italian researcher Vincenzo Di Marzo upon early investigation of the system, relax, eat, sleep, forget and protect”.

Hemp’s various phytocannabinoids have been shown to interact with this endocannabinoid system in ways that prove promising for alleviating a host of auto-immune and nervous disorders, including but not limited to:

  • cancers
  • ALS
  • epilepsy
  • chronic pain & IBS
  • Crohn’s disease
  • insomnia
  • anxiety & depression

While hemp’s cannabinoid compounds have not been fully-confirmed or approved to treat or cure these disorders, available research points to both promising results and especially to very low risks in further exploring their therapeutic potential.

Cannabinoids 101

List of Cannabinoids

The cannabinoids found in hemp that interact with our body’s CB1 and CB2 receptors can all be classified as precursors, synthesized, or oxidized – referring to how they form and exemplifying specific characteristics in line with these groupings.

The most well-known cannabinoids are THC, CBD, CBG, CBC, and CBN, in approximately that order, but they only make up a few of those that can be found in hemp in significant concentrations:

Cannabinoid Pre-Cursors

Synthesized Cannabinoids

Oxidized Cannabinoids

Quick Aside

Cannabinoids vs Terpenes

If cannabinoids are the primary chemical compounds that create the novel effects of cannabis most users know and seek, then terpenes are the flair that add alluring scents and flavors, richly varied and layered to create an original user sensation for every unique strain.

From a connoisseur’s perspective one could say, “Come for the cannabinoids, stay for the terpenes.”

Unlike major cannabinoids which distinctly come from cannabis, terpenes are present in all plants and generally serve the biological purpose of luring pollinators and fruit-eating fauna to help spread plant seeds. They also help fortify their sources against dangerous disease and pests.

These biological functions in plants and terpenes’ natural presence in essential oils, spices, and fruit have made them long-accepted by human groups as having various sensational and therapeutic benefits.

So really from the perspective of natural history it could be said, “We came for the terpenes and stayed for the cannabinoids.”


Cannabinoids 101

MBAF Products by Cannabinoid

Our house-made products are formulated to feature specific cannabinoids in higher concentrations, to better realize their specific effects.

Cannabinoids 101

Further Reading

How The Endocannabinoid System Works

How The Endocannabinoid System Works

Just as humans have spent recent decades automating our own buildings to maintain comfortable and productive indoor states – millions of years of evolution have worked on the biological structures of our ancestors and our animal cousins alike to produce a system of sub-conscious mechanisms our bodies use to maintain homeostasis – a balanced state where our tissues and enzymes can optimally function. We call this balance-seeking symphony of receptors and enzymes the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS).

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