In This Article

In this article, we will present the ultimate guide on everything you need to know about cannabinoids.

  • What Are Cannabinoids?
  • How Do You Make Cannabinoids?
  • Cannabis Derived Products – Usage and Benefits
  • How to Consume Your Cannabinoid
  • Which Cannabinoid Is Right for You?

Growing Demand for a Variety of Cannabinoids

The recent surge of the cannabinoid industry has astonished manufacturers in the USA, as consumers flock to cannabinoids for their effects.

In the 2018 Farm Bill (also known as the Agriculture Improvement Act), the federal government removed low-THC cannabis (and cannabis-derived) products from the marijuana stipulation of the Controlled Substances Act. This act made many cannabinoids legal for consumer purchase and sale throughout the United States.

The most in-demand of all (hemp) cannabinoids: cannabidiol CBD. The markets valued the global CBD industry at $4.6 billion in 2018, and analysts assume that the marketplace will grow by 22.2% between now and 2025. But these cannabinoids have different effects, and it’s essential to understand each product when you’re exploring the marketplace.

Cannabinoid Chart

What Are Cannabinoids?

The most well-known parts of the cannabis plant (Cannabis Sativa) are tetrahydrocannabinol THC and CBD cannabidiol. These both come from the cannabinoids family.

Cannabinoids act as chemical compounds that connect to cannabinoid receptors in the human body, producing specific effects. The essential receptors are the CB1 and CB2 receptors, which help the brain and nervous system run smoothly.

Cannabinoid molecules mimic the body’s natural endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system uses endocannabinoids to regulate the body’s overall functioning, also known as homeostasis.

CBD in the human body

How Do You Make Cannabinoids?

Contrary to popular belief, many of the more popularly known cannabinoids cannot naturally be found in cannabis. It takes some work to get from the cannabis plant (hemp plant) to tetrahydrocannabinol THC and cannabidiol CBD.

How does that happen?

Growers expose cannabis to extreme heat or UV lights. It’s important to note that cannabis contains compounds known as cannabinoid acids. Each cannabinoid acid acts as the building block to form the cannabinoid that reaches cannabis users.

In the case of THC and CBD, heat exposure activates the tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) through the process of decarboxylation.

Through this process, CBDA and THCA transform into CBD and THC. You may have also heard of another common cannabinoid acid, known as cannabigerol CBG.

List of Major Cannabinoids

This section will break down the major cannabinoids, discussing their usage, differences, risks, and benefits. You can also take a look at our infographic on CBD to get a more visual overview.


The tetrahydrocannabinol THC stands out for its use in marijuana. Out of all the cannabinoids, THC remains the only to produce intoxicating or ‘psychoactive’ effects.

These effects lead to the classic ‘high’ associated with weed and can produce adverse side effects, such as paranoia or anxiety. THC provides this high through the drug’s interaction with the previously mentioned CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors.

THC can be further broken into Delta-9 THC (usually refer to as THC), Delta-8 THC (a psychoactive and popular substitute to D9), THCV, THCA and more.

You might be thinking, “THC, CBD—they’re both the same products, right?” Actually, these products are quite different, which we’ll discuss next.

If you are curious about THC, you can try our federally compliant Delta 9 gummies with 3mg hemp derived THC.

THC structure

CBD Cannabidiol

Cannabidiol is the gold star of this industry and is the most popular non-psychoactive hemp derivative among the cannabinoids.

CBD must contain less than 0.3% THC to meet federal regulations. Due to its low THC concentration, CBD (like most other cannabinoids) does not give users a high, or other psychoactive effects such as paranoia or anxiety.

Marijuana also classifies as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act, but smokable hemp CBD does not, which should make it legal in all 50 states.

Nonetheless, you should always check your state’s laws before buying any of the products mentioned in this list.

Many rumors persist about CBD’s supposed anti-inflammatory health benefits, ranging from arthritis to epilepsy to pain management. These claims require more concrete evidence and a more thorough investigation to prove.

However, that doesn’t mean CBD doesn’t have several benefits. People often claim that CBD induces an uplifting feeling or a calm mood, making it the perfect way to relax after a long and stressful day of work.

In the Green Unicorn Farms online shop you can buy hemp flower by mood

However, it is not without its downsides. Potential side effects of CBD (and other cannabinoids) include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Low blood pressure
  • Fatigue or lightheadedness
  • Drowsiness

Drug interactions may also occur between CBD (or any other cannabinoid) and your prescribed medications. If you have any concerns about taking CBD, talk to your doctor first!

CBD structure

Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA)

As we mentioned, CBDA serves as the precursor to the more popular CBD. CBDA exists as a natural chemical compound in cannabis. Users can consume CBDA by itself in the form of tinctures, edibles (like hemp gummies), or beverages.

Cannabidivarin (CBDV)

CBDV, like many of the plant’s major and minor cannabinoids, was actually discovered over 50 years ago, but due to the widespread prohibition of cannabis and hemp, it was difficult for scientists to get access to these compounds for research purposes.

In the last few years, however, there has been a flurry of studies and research published on the therapeutic potential of CBDV, some of which is backed by pharmaceuticals giants, as well as the US government.

See our broad spectrum CBDV tincture here

Cannabigerol (CBG)

CBG originates from cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), which is the grandfather of all the natural chemical compounds in cannabis. THCA and CBDA both originate from CBGA, meaning there would be no THC or CBD without it.

Although CBG doesn’t reach one percent of the cannabis plant’s total chemical acids, it’s perhaps the most important cannabinoid. Growers and scientists study CBG for research purposes and to learn more about its unique properties.

Consumers may want to combine CBG with CBD to produce an entourage effect. An entourage effect occurs when users combine two or more different cannabinoids to enhance the overall sensations they experience.

Read more about CBG flower here.

CBG structure

Cannabichromene (CBC)

Heating the naturally-occurring compound cannabichromenic acid (CBCA) through decarboxylation leads to CBC. CBC thrives in plants grown in tropical regions. Pairing CBC with THC or CBD for an entourage effect is one of the most common uses of this cannabinoid.

CBC structure

Cannabinol (CBN)

As far as cannabinoids go, CBN doesn’t get as much attention as it should. It’s the opposite of intoxicating, making it perfect for taking right before bedtime. Most CBN on the market exists because growers transform CBD into CBN. It is the perfect nighttime cannabinoid to consume. You can read more about what CBN oil is what it does here.

CBN structure

Cannabicyclol (CBL)

CBL serves as the X-factor in the world of cannabis products. It’s effectively a mystery at this point, as scientists have to do far more research to determine its effects on the human body. CBL grows well on older cannabis strains from Pakistan and China.

CBL structure

Raw Cannabis

The phrase ‘raw cannabis’ might raise eyebrows, but this phrase merely indicates that cannabis has not undergone the heating process of decarboxylation. It’s an excellent source of fiber and iron and contains 100-plus cannabinoids, including THCA and CBDA.

How to Consume Your Cannabinoid

Now that you’re familiar with the various types of cannabis products, you’ll need to determine how best to prepare them.

Use CBD Oil & CBD Tinctures

Most newcomers to CBD will reach for CBD oil or perhaps CBD tinctures that they take sublingually (under the tongue). However, a process known as bioavailability limits how much CBD the stomach can absorb and limits the effects of CBD on the body. This issue persists because oil-soluble CBD repels water in the human body.

Due to this absorption issue, water-soluble CBD has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years. Manufacturers transform CBD oil into a powder that can dissolve in water, making it great to mix in beverages or other liquids.

Produce Extracts

Most people don’t realize that they can make their own hemp extracts from scratch. Gently grind some CBD flower and lay it on a baking tray. Heat your oven to 215 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 25 minutes to start the heat activation process.

Combine two cups of oil with one ounce of hemp flower. Coconut oil and olive oil are advisable; avoid hemp seed oil. Heat for six hours in a saucepan or slow cooker on low. Add water as needed to prevent the flower from burning. Finally, strain the oil out of the plant and store it in a glass jar.

Click here to learn how to make CBD oil at home

Make Edibles

If you’re looking for a fun way to incorporate cannabinoids into your routine, we suggest the ingestion of CBD in the form of a brownie or some other baked good. Use a home-cooked CBD extraction (see above) and replace the oil that the recipe calls for with 3/4 of the same amount of CBD oil.

If you’re slow-cooking a more savory dish, feel free to chop up some CBD flower and add it directly to the cooking pot to release the cannabinoids within it. If you’re cooking on a quicker timeline, decarboxylate your CBD flower in the oven first (see above) before adding to your dish.

Roll a Joint or Smoke a Bong

Many users prefer smoking cannabis plants as opposed to using oils and tinctures. When smoking high CBD (smokable hemp), the substance enters the bloodstream instantly, leading to a much quicker effect on the body.

If you would like to purchase a pre-rolled joint, click here. You can also learn how to do it yourself here.

Which Cannabinoid is Right for You?

With nearly every cannabis product out there, it can be hard to know which one to pick. Do you want something with THC or CBD? Are THC products above 0.3% concentration legal in your state? Do you qualify for a medical marijuana card? Or do you want a different cannabinoid altogether?

What level of potency do you want in a strain? How do you want to prepare or consume it? If you’re taking CBD, do you want to ingest it in isolation or with other cannabinoids? Do you want cannabis strains that smell fruity? Are you okay with a bitter flavor profile?

These are the kind of questions you will need to ask as you consider which product to buy. We hope this guide has helped you better understand the vast world of cannabinoids. There are dozens of known cannabinoids (including ones not mentioned here such as tetrahydrocannabivarin), and we’ve only begun to scratch the surface.

If reading this article has caught your curiosity, take a look at our list of products on Green Unicorn Farms’ website. We carry only the most aromatic, richest CBD and cannabis-related items, so you can rest assured that you’re getting a high-quality product.


About Green Unicorn Farms

Green Unicorn Farms writes about anything hemp and CBD related with the goal of inspiring and education curious readers. Our in-house hemp flower experts with a wealth of experience in the CBD and hemp world is here to help 24/7.