Cannabis. (Almost) everyone smokes it, loves it, eats it, drinks it, inserts it, etc. For the majority of us, the evaluation process for any of the previously mentioned methods of consumption usually starts and ends with three letters – THC.
But there is more to cannabis than just THC. Way, way more.
THC: Mr. Popular
Tetrahydrocannabinol aka THC. The best place to start when talking about the litany of compounds contained in the cannabis plant.
- Scientific name: Δ-9-THC (Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol)
- Temperature point of creation: 315°F
- Pre-temperature threshold compound: Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA):
- Similar compound structures and temperature thresholds:
- Δ-8-THC (Delta-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol) [347°F]
- THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin) [428°F]
THC is sometimes – incorrectly – considered as the only thing that is in the cannabis plant. Up until recent history, the mention of CBD or any of the other “C’s” was non-existent in the discussion of weed.
THC is the psychoactive compound within cannabis and is one of at least 113 total cannabinoids identified in the plant. It is responsible for the “high” that is felt when cannabis flower is smoked, or “decarboxylated” before being consumed. The term “decarboxylation” describes the process of removing the acid carboxyl group that keeps the compound from being psychoactive. This process occurs naturally over time – but slowly – as cannabis flower dries. The immediate way to make the compound bio-available to our endocannabinoid receptors and psychoactive(yes, the human body has receptors that were made to receive cannabis compounds) is to light it up to 315°F!
At the next temperature junction of 347°F, Δ-8-THC (Delta-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol) is formed. It is an isomer (a compound with the same formula that differs in arrangement and effects) to the Δ-9-THC (Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol) compound. The advantages of Δ-8-THC are that it circumvents the legality issues faced by Δ-9-THC and offers less of a psychoactive reaction and more of a therapeutic response.
At 428°F, we get THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin) from the cannabis plant – an isometric homologue to THC. Much research on this compound is still required to determine the limits to its psychoactive and therapeutic properties.
Now that we got THC out of the way, let’s fill in the rest of the cannabinoid picture.
CBD: You know me
For the most part, consumers of cannabis have gotten acquainted with Cannabidiol (CBD) over the past 15 to 20 years. It’s the compound that is often trotted out by those seeking to affirm the plants medicinal benefits when opposition to consumption is met. And rightly so. In many ways, it is the “gateway drug” to acceptance of cannabis by the non-typical consumer. CBD has effectively removed much of the stigma around cannabis consumption and provided irrefutable evidence of its application in medicine.
- Scientific name: Cannabidiol (CBD)
- Source of creation: Primarily derived from hemp plants
- Source compound: Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA)
- Similar compound structures and temperature thresholds:
- Cannabidivarin (CBDV) [356°F]
When CBDA is brought to a temperature of 248°F, it loses its acid carboxyl group, and the bio-available compound CBD is derived. CBDV is a homolog (a compound belonging to a series of compounds differing from each other by a repeating unit) of CBD with anticonvulsant effects.
CBG: Might have heard of me
If stem cells are the foundation of human life, then Cannabigerol (CBG) is the cannabis equivalent. During the maturation of cannabis, Cannabigerolic Acid (CBGA) is the root compound present. By the time the cannabis plant reaches full maturation, the levels of present CBGA compounds drops to roughly 1%. During maturation, CBGA converts mostly to THCA and CBDA. From there, factors such as genetics, exposure to sunlight, temperature, and age determine the metamorphosis of THCA and CBDA into other cannabinoids.
- Scientific name: Cannabigerol (CBG)
- Source compound: Cannabigerolic Acid (CBGA)
- Pre-cursor to:
- THCA to THC to CBN
- CBDA to CBD
- CBCA to CBC
Like CBD, CBG has also been found to have therapeutic uses in cases of anxiety, pain, and cancer.
CBC: Who thee hell are you?
No. CBC does not stand for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. At least not in this case. Cannabichromene (CBC) is another compound that shares similarities with CBD. It provides therapeutic benefits, however, unlike CBD, it does not have a causal effect on the expression of THC. Instead, THC has an attenuating effect on the expression of CBC regarding its therapeutic benefits.
- Scientific name: Cannabichromene (CBC)
- Source compound: Cannabichromenic Acid (CBCA)
When CBCA is brought to a temperature of 428°F, it loses its acid carboxyl group, and the bio-available compound CBC is derived.
CBN: Is this a trick now?
This is not a trick. The list of compounds held within cannabis can be exhaustive. But, of all the compounds not named THC, Cannabinol (CBN) is the one of most interest to us here at TREATSANDTREATS.
- Scientific name: Cannabinol (CBN)
- Source compounds: Δ-9-THC (Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol) and Δ-8-THC (Delta-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol)
- Methods of occurrence:
- Natural aging of Δ-9-THC and Δ-8-THC
- Heating Δ-9-THC or Δ-8-THC to 365°F
CBN acts like a combination of THC and CBD – it is psychoactive and therapeutic. That, is big stuff. Of the “C’s”, CBN is the most unique and promising for the licensed cannabis industry – edibles in particular. As it stands now, there is a hard cap in the Canadian cannabis market on THC levels in edibles: 10 milligrams. For most users of edibles, that number is simply too low. Whether it be a recreational user from the legacy market, or a patient in the legal market looking for more of a punch to dull their chronic pain (no pun intended), 10 milligrams just isn’t going to cut it. This is why the use of CBN in the legal market will dictate which edibles become viable as alternatives to the legacy market and offer competition to cannabis 1.0 products. With a focus on higher levels of CBN (as well as CBC, CBG, and CBD) and ensemble effects, edibles can pack the punch that consumers are looking for when they are contemplating which item to purchase with their hard-earned money.
During our legacy market days, CBN was our secret weapon. It provided our customers with the psychoactive high that they were searching for while also providing therapeutic effects (sedation for a good night’s rest, inflammation relief for joints, easing of chronic pain, etc.) My favourite testimony for the use of CBN in edibles would be my mothers.
My 62-year-old god-fearing mother from the Caribbean and 73-year-old catholic mother-in-law from the Philippines regularly use TREATSANDTREATS to improve the quality of their day-to-day lives.
If it’s good enough for them to get a good night’s rest, that’s good enough for me.
Putting it all together
The key to bringing great products to market is understanding your inputs and understanding the consumer’s needs.
Allowing the market to handcuff the quality of products through a hard cap of 10 milligrams of THC is lazy. Considering the hundreds of other compounds found within cannabis, edible formulations need not wait for the government to decide when those compounds can be put to good use and maximized.
The time for exceptional edibles is now. It is always now.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer