Cannabinoids are natural compounds densely found in two lifeforms: mammals and the cannabis (hemp) plant. These cannabinoids are responsible for regulating the body's balance through an evolved system called the Endocannabinoid System
There are actually hundreds of cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, with science learning more all the time about how they help to maintain peak performance in a body.
In this brief article, we’ll explain what a cannabinoid is. We’ll get into some of the science of CBD, and we’ll make it easy to understand. Ultimately, we hope you’ll know more about what makes these cannabinoid compounds so special.
What are cannabinoids? A quick FAQ:
What is a cannabinoid?
- Cannabinoids are found naturally in the human body (endogenous cannabinoids, a.k.a. Endocannabinoids) and in plants like hemp and cannabis (phytocannabinoids).
- Cannabinoids interact with the receptors in the Endocannabinoid System, found throughout our nervous system and in every major organ.
- There are over 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis but the most-known are CBD and ∆-9-THC.
- Hemp extract is the concentrated raw or heated material that is extracted from the hemp or cannabis floral material. This is mixed with other natural ingredients to create quality CBD products.
- CBD Isolate or Broad-Spectrum CBD products include less of the hemp plant’s natural compounds, compared with full-spectrum products like Overcome.
- Overcome is different because we‘re formulated for full-spectrum effectiveness. We gain better effects by focusing on cannabinoids beyond CBD such as Cannabigerol (CBG), Cannabinol (CBN), and Cannabidiolic (CBDA).
What is a cannabinoid? A deeper exploration
To understand the answer to the question of what is a cannabinoid, first we must understand the difference between an endogenous cannabinoid and a phytocannabinoid.
Endogenous cannabinoids exist throughout the human body. They are substances created by the body to stimulate receptors found throughout. The endogenous cannabinoids or Endocannabinoid System can be seen as a link between body and mind.
Phytocannabinoids are compounds produced by plants. There are over 100 known phytocannabinoids in the cannabis plant including CBD, CBN, THC, CBG, CBC, and THCV.
Endogenous cannabinoids are created by the body and broken down by specialized enzymes, while phytocannabinoids originate from plants and can sometimes resist being broken down for longer than endocannabinoids.
Why and how do we use cannabinoids?
Now that you understand the differences between cannabinoids, you may be able to answer the question to what is a cannabinoid; however, it is also important to understand where these cannabinoids are derived, what cannabinoids are important, and why we should use cannabinoids.
This has to do with cannabinoid receptors in the Endocannabinoid System. Cannabinoids, like the commonly known CBD or THC, interact with different receptors in the body to create many effects. There are over 100 different cannabinoids found in cannabis, and researchers are uncovering new cannabinoids frequently.
Out of the 100 plus different cannabinoids, CBD and delta-9-THC (∆-9-THC) are the most understood. The law says that hemp products cannot contain more than 0.3 percent ∆-9-THC making the products non-intoxicating, and anything more than 0.3% is classified as high-THC cannabis (aka “marijuana”).
Overcome products contain more cannabinoids than many other “CBD” products, but we always make our products from hemp with legal levels of THC.
Extract types and the extraction process
Cannabinoids are found in hemp extract.
Hemp extract is the concentrated raw or heated material that is extracted from the hemp or cannabis floral material. During extraction, the process concentrates the plant material into a resinous material which includes cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, vitamin E, chlorophyll, and other plant nutrients.
This concentration of material also means that any contaminants like pesticides, heavy metals, microbiologics and mycotoxins will also become concentrated in the extracted material. That’s why it’s so important to ensure a clean and contaminant free supply of hemp.
During the extraction process, the material can be refined into three different spectrums of extracts including full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolate. The U.S. Hemp Authority, the leading regulatory organization regarding hemp and CBD products, defines full spectrum, broad spectrum and isolated cannabinoids as follows:
Full Spectrum - Full-spectrum extract is hemp extract including THC, CBD and other cannabinoids, terpenes, and other naturally occurring compounds, that has been processed without intentionally removing any compounds. The final product must contain THC levels that are not greater than 0.3%.
Broad Spectrum - Broad Spectrum Extract is hemp extract that has been intentionally processed to remove THC, such that the quantified THC has been deemed non-detectable by a compliant laboratory. But this processing can also strip out other beneficial compounds.
Isolate - CBD isolate products contain just CBD alone. There can also be other isolates for other cannabinoids, such as CBN or CBG.
Some important cannabinoids
Here are some major phytocannabinoids:
- Cannabigerol (CBG): best known to support mood*
- Cannabichromene (CBC): shares a similar molecular structure as THC and CBD*
- Cannabidiol (CBD): best known to support exercise-induced inflammation and stress relief. Supports relief from occasional discomfort.* Notably this cannabinoid has recently been approved for epilepsy. Epidiolex, which uses CBD, is the only cannabis-based approved pharmaceutical for this use, manufactured by GW Pharmaceuticals.
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): Best known to support appetite and may encourage sleep*
- Cannabinol (CBN): best known to support sleep*
- Cannabidiolic (CBDA): best known as a more potent form of CBD that may promote relief from inflammatory pressure and upset stomach*
- Others cannabinoids such as the plants raw cannabinoids include Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), Cannabichromenic acid (CBCA), and their varins like Cannabidivarin (CBDV), Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), Cannabigerovin (CBGV), Cannabichromevarin (CBCV), are also cannabinoids undergoing research. Cannabinoids like Cannabicyclol (CBL), Cannabielsoin (CBE), and Cannabitriol (CBT), Tetrahydrocannabiphorol (THCP) and Cannabidiphoral (CBDP) are more recently discovered.
Overcome: Formulated for cannabinoids beyond just CBD
What makes Overcome unlike other brands on the shelves is it’s formulated for cannabinoids beyond CBD. We also focus on Cannabigerol (CBG), Cannabinol (CBN), and Cannabidiolic (CBDA).
We formulate using these three cannabinoids, derived from full spectrum hemp extract, to create a successful outcome.
What is CBG?
CBG, and technically its raw or acidic form CBGA, is considered the mother cannabinoid. CBG is the mother cannabinoid because when cannabis first produces cannabinoids, the plant produces CBGA. From CBGA all other cannabinoids are derived either naturally through the genetics of the plant and the plant’s surrounding environment or over time or through heat and pressure. CBG works by influencing the Endocannabinoid System within our bodies that affects the CB1 and CB2 receptors and is commonly researched for its effects on mood.
What is CBDA?
Another cannabinoid found in higher concentration in Overcome formulations is CBDA. CBDA is the raw form of CBD, or the cannabinoid that you would find in the plant material. CBDA becomes CBD during the extraction process through decarboxylation. It undergoes decarboxylation when exposed to light over time or heated at a certain temperature.
CBDA and CBD work together to strengthen each other’s effects so the consumer won’t have to use as much of the product. By using less of the product, you can save money while gaining twice the reward. CBDA is also being researched for its relation to inflammatory response and supporting relief from upset stomach.
What is CBN?
Another cannabinoid often formulated in Overcome products is Cannabinol or CBN. CBN is produced from the degradation of THC being exposed to too much light, air, or heat. CBN was the very first cannabinoid ever discovered and has been used for decades as a mild counter irritant and for encouraging sleep.
What is in full spectrum hemp extract besides cannabinoids?
Overcome produces full spectrum hemp extract.
That’s important because of the nutrients such as flavonoids, terpenes, chlorophyll, and vitamin E, found in full-spectrum products. Flavonoids and terpenes are compounds found in the cannabis and hemp plants. Flavonoids are nutrients that give cannabis plants their color and flavor. Terpenes are aromatic metabolites that give cannabis its smell. As mentioned before, isolated cannabinoids contain only 1 cannabinoid. The extraction is pure, but the other components are removed through a complex process. This means all other nutrients are removed from the once nutrient dense plant.
Broad spectrum and full spectrum products contain terpenes and flavonoids that are extracted from the plant; however broad spectrum is more refined than full spectrum and is normally used to formulate 0.0% ∆-9-THC products. During this refining process, key nutrients are also refined out of the extract.
The nutrients extracted from the plant include vitamin E and chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is a green pigment in plants that reduces inflammation and pain. The presence of one of nature’s most powerful antioxidants, Vitamin E helps protect us from molecules called free radicals that can damage our cells.