Cannabinoids are active chemical compounds found in numerous plants including cannabis. These compounds come with a multitude of health benefits and can be used to alleviate various symptoms and issues. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there are 4 classifications of cannabinoids.
The NIH supports a wide portfolio of research on cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system. This research portfolio includes fascinating studies utilizing the whole marijuana plant (Cannabis sativa), but a majority of the studies focus on individual cannabinoid compounds.
Individual cannabinoid chemicals may be isolated (CBG, CBD, THC, CBC, CBN) and purified from the cannabis plant or synthesized in a laboratory. There are also naturally occurring (endogenous) cannabinoids found in the body.
The 4 Classifications of Cannabinoids
Phytocannabinoids are cannabinoids found in leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds collected from the Cannabis sativa plant.
Endogenous are cannabinoids made by the body. Some examples include N-arachidonoylethanolamine or anandamide (AE) or 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG).
AE and 2-AG activity can be manipulated by inhibiting their corresponding hydrolases FAAH or MAGL, preventing their degradation.
2-AG is a neurotransmitter that modulates the cells that it encounters. These instructions happen on a certain rhythm conducted by the body’s internal clock. For example, research has shown that during the afternoon is when levels of 2-AG naturally peak; when it’s time to relax and recharge as the day falls into night.
Purified cannabinoids are the 3rd classification of cannabinoids. They are naturally occurring cannabinoids purified from plant sources: examples include cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
The three main cannabinoids – cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabinol (CBN)can be isolated from a purified extract of cannabis by preparative gas chromatography in satisfactory amounts and with a degree of purity similar to that of the sample substances provided by the United Nations Narcotics Laboratory.
The 4th classification of cannabinoids is synthetic cannabinoids. Synthetic cannabinoids are synthesized in a laboratory: examples include CB1 agonists (CPP-55, ACPA), CB2 agonists (JWH-133, NMP7, AM1241), CB1/CB2 nonselective agonist (CP55940), ajulemic acid (AJA), nabilone, and dronabinol.
Classifications of Cannabinoids source: