basic facts

Glossary - all the hemp terms you need to know

2021-12-08 15:37:34 Tomasz Różański

At a time when not only cannabis specialists are talking about this amazing plant and topics related to it, it is worth knowing what the basic concepts related to cannabis and hemp mean.



They are plants that have been on Earth for millions of years. They have thousands of applications in many industries. We distinguish:

  • Cannabis Sativa L. Sativa - a group of plants with a low psychoactive THC content, rich in other forms of phytocannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids.
  • Cannabis Sativa L. Indica - a group of plants with a high psychoactive THC content.
  • Wild hemp ruderalis - own species due to the unique characteristics and phenotypes that distinguish it from Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa


It is a group of natural chemicals found in cannabis. We currently divide cannabinoids into:

  • Endocannabinoids - cannabinoids occurring and produced by the body, such as AG-2 or Anandamide, in the brain, in breast milk
  • Phytocannabinoids - plant cannabinoids found in hemp, e.g. THC, CBD, CBG and many others - currently science distinguishes 146 types of phytocannabinoids
  • Synthetic cannabinoids - manufactured in laboratories for medicinal purposes

    In the sheer volume of information about CBD oils, it is worth getting acquainted with the richness of ingredients offered by these products. Of course, you should realize that not all oils are the same, they all have different levels of richness in phytocannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. What are these difficult words? I will try to explain below.


This is the most abundant group of green chemical molecules found in cannabis. But not only there. These particles also occur naturally in other plants, such as hops. However, only hemp contains the full spectrum of phytonutrients discovered so far.
Phytocannabinoids act on endocannabinoid receptors located throughout the human body, which are the most important component of an overarching system called the ECS - endocannabinoid system. This system occurs not only in humans, but also in many other organisms, both complex and as simple as nematodes.
You can read about the endocannabinoid system HERE.

-Cannabidiol or CBD

It is the most recognizable, well-studied and most abundant compound in cannabis. Unlike THC, it is completely non-psychoactive. Fully legal and the most active substance of medical marijuana and all hemp products, commonly known as CBD oils. It has the widest spectrum of health-promoting properties, which you can read about in our articles.

CBD, unlike THC, is not addictive, has no side effects and is not intoxicating. Moreover, it is a THC antagonist, meaning it neutralizes the psychoactive effects of THC. CBD in nature can only be found in hemp.

CBD has many therapeutic properties:

  • Neuroactive and neuroprotective - fights neurodegenerative and mental disorders, regenerates nerve cells in the body, stimulates the nervous system, counteracts and prevents neurodegeneration, has a relaxing and antispastic effect
  • Anticancer - attacks and destroys cancer cells, inhibits the multiplication of cancer cells, leads to apoptosis, i.e. death of cancer cells
  • Antioxidant - reduces oxidative stress, slows down and prevents the aging of cells and tissues, supports the body's natural defenses, protects against free radicals
  • Anti-inflammatory - inhibits the inflammatory process, fights inflammation, and prevents inflammation
  • Analgesic - relieves pain, soothes and eliminates pain throughout the body, both internally and externally
  • Antibacterial - has strong bactericidal properties, kills bacteria and prevents their reproduction, slows down their growth
  • Antifungal - prevents the development of fungal diseases, kills mold and fungi
  • Antiallergic - soothes and eliminates allergy symptoms
  • Immunological - stimulates the body's natural immunity, stimulates the state of homeostasis
  • Dermatological - accelerates wound healing, fights skin diseases, rejuvenates the epidermis
  • Antiemetic - reduces nausea and vomiting, stimulates thirst and appetite, affects the proper metabolism of the body
  • Antipsychotic - wakes up and cleanses the mind, fights psychosis and anxiety, calms and calms down, has a relaxing and relaxing effect, helps to fall asleep and ensures good sleep

CBD provides much better treatment results than conventional synthetic agents, but unlike them, it has no side effects. Therefore, it is appreciated by an increasing number of medical professionals, but above all by patients for whom conventional medicine has turned out to be ineffective.

-Cannabidiol acid or CBDa

CBDa is a precursor to CBD that has distinct therapeutic properties. Cannabidiol acid, CBDa for short, has a similar chemical structure to THC, but like cannabidiol, it has no side effects, is not intoxicating or addictive, and is completely legal. Scientific research so far shows that the main features of raw CBD are its strong properties:

  • antiemetic,
  • anti-inflammatory,
  • anti-cancer (anti-proliferative).

A substance starts out as a "parent molecule", CBGa. The enzyme CBDa synthase then appears and catalyzes the reaction that converts CBGa to CBDa. CBDa, in turn, is a precursor to CBD (cannabidiol). There is hardly any CBD in raw hemp flowers. CBDa is converted to CBD when it is exposed to high temperatures during vaping, cooking, or extraction. This process is known as "decarboxylation".

The acidic part of CBDa comes from the carboxyl group found in the molecule - the structure is composed of one carbon atom, one hydrogen atom and two oxygen atoms. Due to the above, CBDa is known as a carboxylic acid. During decarboxylation, this group is removed from the molecule, leaving CBD behind.

The acidic forms of phytocannabinoids are very unstable and can only be found in RAW, aka raw oils.

Acid forms are of increasing interest among researchers and scientists.
You can read about the project related to these forms of cannabinoids HERE.

-Tetrahydrocannabinol THC

The cannabinoid most commonly associated with marijuana. It is an isomer of cannabidiol and the main psychoactive substance found in cannabis. It is the dominant substance found in cannabis indica, and is found in small amounts in cannabis sativa.

The most common thing about THC is the isomer - trans-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol. There are several isomers of THC that differ in the position of the double bond. Two isomers - Δ9-THC and Δ8-THC - occur in nature.

When ingested (smoking, vaping, eating), THC mainly binds to CB1 receptors found in the amygdala, cerebellum and hippocampus. THC-rich cannabis strains are usually used recreationally. Marijuana is considered to be the most widely used illicit drug in the world.

  • THC can be made synthetically.
  • The substance may cause short-term impairment of memory and coordination.
  • It can induce an increase in appetite, commonly known as "gastrophase".
  • THC is responsible for experiencing a feeling of intoxication (commonly known as a high).
  • It has a strong affinity for CB1 receptors related to the endocannabinoid system.
  • THC was first isolated in 1964.
  • Can treat a wide variety of conditions when taken in the right doses.

Synthetic THC drug Dronabinol is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy.

The presence of THC in CBD oils and other cannabinoid products is considered legal as long as its concentration is below (country dependent):
- 0.2%
- 0.3%
- 1%

-Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid THCa

It is a raw cannabinoid found in plants of the Cannabis sativa species. It is an acidic, non-psychotropic cannabinoid that is formed by the biosynthesis of the CBGa cannabinoid precursor. When THC is exposed to heat, it loses its carboxyl group and converts to THC, the cannabinoid most commonly associated with marijuana.

In its acidic form, THCa does not appear to have any side effects. However, the substance belongs to the unstable molecules and decarboxylates naturally over time and transforms into the psychotropic cannabinoid THC. Summary of information on THC:

  • THC analog
  • is a non-psychotropic substance
  • is found in living cannabis plants
  • is the most abundant non-psychotropic cannabinoid
  • seems to be an agonist of TRPV receptors

-Cannabigerol CBG

An organic chemical compound from the cannabinoid group found in cannabis. It does not show any psychoactive effects. About 1% of the cannabinoid content in a mature Cannabis sativa plant is considered to be CBG.

CBG has a good justification to become a widely used therapeutic agent. It has been found to reduce inflammation, pain, and even slow down the multiplication or proliferation of some cancer cells.

Studies have shown that it significantly reduces intraocular pressure in the eye caused by glaucoma. CBG-rich oils are believed to be beneficial in treating conditions such as enteritis and Crohn's disease.

CBG, or actually CBGa, is a maternal cannabinoid. As the cannabis plant matures, CBGa, which is the acidic form of CBG, is converted by plant enzymes into three major cannabinoid precursors:

- tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCa)

- cannabidiolic acid (CBDa)

- cannabichromenic acid (CBCa).

From the remaining small amount of CBGa cannabigerolic acid that has not been converted to the above precursors or other trace cannabinoids, CBG or cannabigerol is formed. So to call CBG and more precisely CBG the "mother" of all cannabinoids is absolutely appropriate. Personally, I am convinced by the name cannabinoid from cannabis stem cells.

The biggest obstacle to the spread of CBG as a widely available therapeutic agent is the cost of its production. CBG is one of the most expensive cannabinoids in the manufacturing process, so much so that it has been dubbed the "Rolls-Royce of Cannabinoids". Not without significance in this term is the fact that the longer a cannabis plant matures, the more likely it is that the CBGa present in the strain will be converted into other cannabinoids.

Unlike CBD, which has a relatively low affinity for cannabinoid receptors and works mainly through indirect interactions with the endocannabinoid system, CBG is believed to elicit its therapeutic effects directly by interacting with the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors in the brain.

Research into the therapeutic benefits of CBG is relatively sparse compared to the apparent wealth of information available on THC and CBD in the cannabis research community, but by discovering the synergistic effects of CBG with terpenes, researchers have recently turned their attention to this extremely interesting cannabinoid.
One of the few scientific reviews has shown that CBG relieves inflammation of the nervous system in a chronic model of multiple sclerosis. Another study showed that CBG inhibits carcinogenesis, i.e. the formation of cancerous cells in colon cancer.

Recent preclinical studies have shown that CBG is extremely effective in fighting a whole range of cancer cells. Significant anti-tumour activity against melanoma cells was shown in a 1996 study, and the same team of scientists in 1998 presented the results of CBG's effects on oral cancer. Inactivation of overactive TRPM8 receptors by CBG is not the only mechanism of action that should be considered in CBG-based cancer therapies.

The results of studies on the effects of CBG on glioblastoma are also promising. This non-psychoactive CBG cannabinoid shows the effect of improving the quality of life of cancer patients and improving treatment outcomes.

Nausea is a significant problem of oncological patients undergoing therapy. In the Psychopharmacology publication, we can read important findings regarding CBG's potential potency in nausea. CBG was able to suppress acute nausea at relatively low doses, which is a promising fact.

The National Cancer Institute (USA) reports that nearly one-third of cancer deaths can be attributed to severe weight loss and wasting metabolic "rebellion". CBG, as shown by research results, has the potential to solve this problem. Researchers found CBG to be a well-tolerated appetite stimulant.

Peripheral neuropathy, characterized by painful nerve damage or dysfunction within the peripheral nervous system, is a common side effect of chemotherapy in many cancer patients. Again, there are very promising results from the observations and effects of CBG on pain. In a review of the medical uses of CBG in the Handbook of Cannabis and Related Pathologies, the authors noted a growing body of evidence suggesting the anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of CBG. Specifically, the GW Pharmaceuticals patent application has described the efficacy of CBG against animal models of neuropathic pain.

Research suggests that by actively influencing CBG receptors in the body involved in the proliferation of a number of cancer cell lines, this cannabinoid has the potential to be dominant in adjunctive therapies. CBG, by creating an important role in calibrating the body's own natural defense systems (the autoimmune system and the ECS system), indicates that it is of great therapeutic importance.

-Cannabidivarin CBDv

An organic chemical compound from the cannabinoid group found in cannabis. It does not show any psychoactive effect. CBDv is a precursor to the biosynthesis of the psychoactive cannabinoid THCv.


The main reason for interest in cannabidivarin is the way it interacts with the body. The two most famous cannabinoids, CBD and THC, trigger a response based on the way they stimulate our endocannabinoid system (ECS). They specifically bind/antagonize the CB1 and CB2 receptors found in our body that are linked to the ECS. CBDv is unique in that it produces no response in any receptor. Instead, the secret to the healing potential of CBDv is how it can activate or desensitize our transient receptor potential channels, TRP channels.

One particular family of TRP channels (TRPV1) has been associated with several types of epilepsy.
When TRPV1 is overstimulated, it sends too many signals to cells. The hyperactivity of these specific channels contributes to the seizures. This is where CBDv comes in. Preliminary studies have shown that measured doses of CBDv can reduce the sensitivity of TRPV1 channels, thus demonstrating anti-epileptic activity. CBDv can calm these channels, rebalancing and preventing signal bombardment.

The second important feature of CBDv is its ability to influence the production of 2-arachidonylglycerol (2-AG), one of the endocannabinoids in our body. This is also one of the attributes that distinguishes CBDv from CBD's capabilities. By preventing the formation of the enzyme diacylglycerol lipase, the body cannot synthesize 2-AG as it should. While the clinical implications of CBDv's ability to inhibit 2-AG are unknown, this does not stop CBDv from fulfilling its anti-epileptic duties.

-Cannabinol CBN

It is an organic chemical compound from the cannabinoid group found in cannabis. Its psychoactive effect is negligible. It is a product of tetrahydrocannabinol dehydrogenation.

CBN occurs naturally when THC is degraded by oxygen. However, unlike THC, CBN is non-psychotropic and does not induce intoxication. CBN affects the body by activating the cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors.

It is difficult to isolate high concentrations of CBN because the substance is only found in older cannabis plants or in degraded plant material. Despite CBN being an analog of THC, its chemical structure is much closer to that of CBD. CBN is gaining ground today due to a wide range of potential benefits.

  • CBN exists as a metabolite of THC upon exposure to oxygen;
  • the substance appears to be non-psychotropic;
  • May act as a hypnotic, pain reliever and appetite stimulant;
  • binds to both CB1 and CB2 receptors, but shows greater affinity for CB2;
  • CBN was first identified in 1940;
  • CBN has immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory properties.

-Cannabichromene CBC

While CBC may offer some medical benefits, most studies have looked at the effects of a substance in the presence of other cannabinoids such as CBD and THC. Cannabichromene shows excellent synergy with other cannabinoids, but despite the fact that it is one of the main active substances in the biological structure of Cannabis Sativa plants, it is present only in small amounts.

  • CBC appears to have a non-psychotropic effect.
  • It is one of the three main cannabinoids synthesized from CBG.
  • It can support the treatment of cancer, pain and inflammation.
  • Plays a key role in optimizing the operation of the "environment" effect.
  • Has a weak affinity for the CB1 and CB2 receptors linked to the ECS.
  • It activates TRPV1 and TRPA1 receptors located in cell membranes.

While CBD is preferred for reducing inflammation and cell proliferation associated with acne, a 2016 study highlights that CBC may have similar effects. The cannabinoid "significantly reduced arachidonic acid (AA) induced acne lipogenesis." The results suggest that both CBC, CBDv and THCv "show promise as very effective new acne treatments."

Above I have presented the most important of over a hundred phytocannabinoids. There are hundreds of studies on these compounds in the world. Every now and then a new one becomes notable. However, remember that cannabis and its compounds have been pushed back by cannabis prohibition for over eighty years. However, the era of cannabis has come and a whole host of scientists, researchers, biochemists and doctors have recently turned to cannabis.

Cannabinoid receptors

They are part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The most recognized are the CB1 and CB2 receptors located in the nervous system (CB1) and the immune system (CB2). After attaching to receptors, cannabinoids change the metabolism of cells, release hormones or release neurotransmitters.


The endocannabinoid system of the ECS

It is an important neuromodulatory, neurohormonal and neuroimmune system in humans and other mammals. It is responsible for the proper functioning of virtually all other body systems - it guards homeostasis (i.e. balance in the body). An important element of the system are the CB1, CB2 receptors and endocannabinoids. Simply put, the ECS system is responsible for proper communication in the body. A properly functioning ECS ​​system is a balance in the body called homeostasis.

You can read more about it in the article: A simple guide to the ECS, or the endocannabinoid system

Terpenes (terpenoids)

Although found in cannabis, they are not psychoactive in themselves. Terpenes are not unique to cannabis, although out of a specified amount of around 20,000 types of terpenes, over 140 are found in cannabis.

Terpenes can be found in almost all plants, including of course fruits and vegetables, and they are also present in some animal organisms, although this is extremely rare.

Terpenes are not only responsible for the smell and taste of a given variety of cannabis, they play a much more important role - they act as a natural defense system that protects the plant against pests, bacteria and virtually all other invaders who try to harm the plant. They are also, to simplify, a primary sunscreen, offering to protect the buds from harmful UV rays.

As we have already mentioned, terpenes are also present in other plants, for this reason, some cannabis varieties have the taste and smell of fruits such as berries and lemons, and even trees such as pine. An interesting fact is that myrcene - a terpene responsible for the characteristic smell of all cannabis varieties, the one we all know only occurs in cannabis and cannot be found in any other plant.

The terpene profile is exactly what we should consider when choosing a cannabis strain, as some terpenes are ideal for pain, others for inflammation, and linalool, for example, is fantastic at dealing with the symptoms of arthritis.
Although terpenes are not therapeutic by themselves, they enhance the effects of cannabinoids such as CBD, CBG and THC, a phenomenon known as the "entourage" effect (French Entourage Effect).

Simply put, it can be said that terpenes accelerate the penetration of cannabinoids into our bloodstream. Linalool alters the way our neurotransmitters respond to cannabinoids, creating anxiolytic and calming sensations. Another example of how the entourage effect works is that CBD, with the help of specific terpenes, reduces THC-related long-term memory loss and reduces the psychoactivity of tetrahydrocannabinol.

You can read more about terpenes HERE


The flavonoids are not unique to the cannabis plant.

Scientists have identified thousands of them all over nature, from flowers to fruits and vegetables. However, there are some that are known to be found only in hemp. These are known as cannaflavins. Like terpenes, flavonoids contribute to the perception of marijuana through the senses.

But the flavonoids are so much more than what goes into our noses and taste buds. In fact, flavonoids are one of the least-studied compounds found in cannabis.

The word "flavonoid" actually comes from the Latin term flavus, referring to the yellow colour that occurs in nature. This makes sense given that the primary function of flavonoids is to impart coloured pigmentation to plants, especially flowers, to attract pollinators.

Many plants, including the vast majority of edible fruits and vegetables, which do not contain green pigmentation, owe their bright colours in part to flavonoids. Flavonoids are also partly responsible for protecting plants from elements such as potentially harmful UV rays, pests and diseases.

We often attribute the flavours and aromas of cannabis to terpenes. However, flavonoids also play an important role in providing the distinguishing traits we use to distinguish between strain varieties. Both smell and taste are possible in cannabis thanks to the synergistic properties that terpenes and flavonoids have in common. Moreover, the flavonoids also influence the pigmentation of the cannabis plant, just like they do with other flowers. These beautiful, deep purple cannabis strains owe their colour to flavonoids known as anthoxanthins or anthocyanins. In other plants, such as blueberries, anthocyanins can cause a red, purple, or even blue colour, depending on the pH level.

Flavonoids are pharmacologically active compounds. If the provision of pigmentation of colour, smell, taste and protection was not sufficient, studies have shown that the flavonoids are also highly pharmacologically active, including preliminary studies showing the therapeutic benefits of cannaflavins found only in cannabis.

"Ambient effect" is a widely used term to describe the synergistic nature of many of the pharmacologically active compounds in cannabis. Our bodies are equipped with the endocannabinoid system, an extensive network of receptors. Cannabinoids bind to these receptors to trigger a variety of effects that are further influenced by terpenes and cannabinoids.

The reason why some combinations of these biomolecules make us feel different is because of the synergistic properties of these different compounds. For example, cannabidiol (CBD) modulates the effects of THC on the blood-brain barrier. Flavonoids are believed to have similar synergistic abilities. Whether they improve the properties of cannabinoids or modulate their effectiveness is not fully understood and will require further research.

You can read more about Flavonoids HERE


It is the ability of cells to multiply. It occurs in healthy and cancer cells. Neoplastic cell proliferation is uncontrolled by the cell life cycle mechanism. According to research, cannabinoids - including CBD - prevent abnormal cell proliferation.


It is a controlled cell death process. According to research, cannabinoids lead to the apoptosis of cancer cells.

Thank you for reading this article.

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