Cannabis Chemistry Components

Make an informed decision by learning about the chemistry components of cannabis including cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and more.

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Cannabinoids of Cannabis

To date, 120 types of cannabinoids have been able to be identified. Based on their chemical structure, most can be divided into ten large groups, of which the main five are cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), cannabidiol (CBD), delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and cannabinol (CBN). The other five are delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-8-THC), cannabicyclol (CBL), cannabielsoin (CBE), cannabinodiol (CBND), and cannabitriol (CBTL). Besides these constituents, combinations of constituents in mixed form have also been identified. Each of the above groups includes several types of cannabinoids that are distinguished from one another by the length of the carbon chain making up these molecules. Thus, more than ten types of cannabinoids belong to the delta-9-THC group, which is the most common form of THC.

As a general rule, only three or four types of different cannabinoids are present in a significant concentration in each plant, while the other types are present only in minute amounts or are not present at all. The varieties of cannabis termed psychotropic contain high levels of delta-9-THC, ranging from 1 to 25 percent, while the CBD content is lower, ranging from 0.1 to 0.5 percent. In the cannabis destined for textiles, on the other hand, the level of CBD is higher, varying on average from 0.5 to 2 percent, while the THC content is considerably lower. The European Union authorizes a maximum level of THC of 0.2 percent in textile hemp, to avoid any use for psychotropic purposes; in the United States, as stated earlier, the level of THC in hemp cannot exceed 0.3 percent. Certain types of textile hemp also contain a significant amount of CBG.

Figure above The main cannabinoids of cannabis are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidol (CBD). Illustration provided by Park Street Press

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