Deep Dive into Alternative Cannabinoids
The term “cannabinoids” is often associated with cannabis and its associated psychoactive effects. Cannabinoids are an entire group of chemical compounds that bind to cannabinoid receptors. Various cell types in your body have cannabinoid receptors. When cannabinoids interact with these receptors, they alter the release of neurotransmitters.
The cannabinoid most people associate with weed-induced intoxication is THC, which is responsible for those effects. THC is contained naturally in various levels, in many different cannabis plants.
There are several cannabinoids, all of which have different effects. But cannabis plants have more to offer apart from the high. Like THC, other cannabinoids are also used medicinally, but with different purposes and with different effects.
Let’s go over the most common alternative cannabinoids and what they can offer us.
Cannabidiol, or “CBD,” is perhaps the second most well-known cannabinoid. It is found in high levels in several kinds of cannabis plants, some of which have negligible THC concentrations.
CBD helps fight anxiety. It’s also used as an anti-inflammatory and as a treatment for nausea. It is not psychoactive itself, and when a cannabis plant that’s high in CBD and low in THC is used, it produces far less of the psychoactive effects. CBD’s medicinal utility has led to its increasing popularity and subsequent demand. Big business is already cashing in on it and expects much more growth in the near future. The CBD-infused products market is expected to reach $216.8 billion in 2028. Products include cannabis flower, oils, ointments, creams, vegan capsules, edibles, teas, lemonades, and more.
Unlike many forms of cannabis and cannabinoids, hemp-derived CBD is already legal in most countries around the world, including many that maintain draconian laws on most types of cannabis.
CBC (cannabichromene) is one of the most-researched cannabinoids. It gets less attention than most cannabinoids. However, it has some unique medical potential.
Like CBG and CBD, CBC doesn’t produce any significant high. That’s in part because it doesn’t bind as well with the cannabinoid receptors in your brain. However, it seems to react well to cannabinoid receptors in other parts of your body, some of which have serious implications.
First, CBC may be good at fighting cancer. It has a unique interaction with the endocannabinoid receptor, anandamide, releasing it. Studies in tumour growth in mice showed CBC might block both inflammation and tumour growth.
CBC may also offer positive effects on fighting pain and maintaining brain cells. Like other cannabinoids, it may work together with multiple cannabinoids to reduce depression.
Despite being the third most abundant cannabinoid, cannabichromene has not been extracted for consumers to the extent of CBD and THC. However, some CBC products have entered the consumer market in the form of oil tinctures. You can find it on some sites, with prices starting at $20 per gram. Some extracts cost far more.
CBG (cannabigerol) is a cannabinoid with a diverse range of potential medical applications. It only appears in small quantities in most cannabis strains. However, it’s an interesting compound deserving of further research for its uses.
Unlike CBD and THC, CBG has not yet been produced en masse via plants with high levels of it. It is present in many cannabis plants but in very small amounts (normally less than 1%). However, breeders are attempting genetic manipulation and cross-breeding to produce cannabis plants with higher CBG yields. However, scientists already have the knowledge to extract the cannabinoid by choosing the best extraction time. At about 6 to 8 weeks in the planting cycle, CBG reaches its peak levels.
So far, scientists have discovered several physiological effects of CBG with potential medical applications. CBG is potentially useful in treating glaucoma, as it interacts with the eyes’ endocannabinoid receptors differently than other cannabinoids. Like other cannabinoids, it has various anti-inflammatory applications. Even more promising, it has been shown to block receptors where cancer cells grow. In particular, there are hopes it can effectively fight or even cure colorectal cancer.
CBN (cannabinol) is a cannabinoid with no intoxicating effects. It has several potential medical applications, including as a strong anti-bacterial. It may also have uses in treating glaucoma, inflammation, and in stimulating appetites.
There are speculations on CBN’s “sedative” effects, but there hasn’t been much research on those. In combination with THC, CBN can make you sleepy.
When it comes to market demand, edible CBN drives a lot of the cannabinoid’s demand. It’s a commodity that has piqued the interest of researchers and entrepreneurs alike. Edible CBN is often marketed as a sleep aid and as medicine for aches, pains, and stress.
Market Demand for Alternative Cannabinoids
Unfortunately, it may be too premature to predict future market demand for alternative cannabinoids. Relative to other cannabinoids, these alternatives are less researched and have had less exposure to the markets. However, the cannabis market is young overall, as it was only recently reborn after a long hiatus due to the drug war. According to Nasdaq, CBG is such a versatile and inexpensive ingredient that it will likely supplant CBD in the future. For now, it’s an exciting time in cannabinoid research.
That being said we have seen a lot of recent interest for alternative cannabinoids on our trading platform and it seems to be a growing trend and a space to watch closely.
Across the board, consumer demand for cannabis is up. CBD has one of the more promising forecasts when it comes to growth. But there are new ways that cannabis is being applied, and consumer demand, while shifting to different types of products, only seems to be going up. Companies are looking for news ways to innovate with products and this area could be highly profitable and in the near future.