Cannabis Questions: What Exactly Are Cannabinoids?Cannabis Questions: What Exactly Are Cannabinoids?

Around 22 percent of American adults regularly use marijuana. An even larger and ever-growing number of adults also use CBD products. Even if you don’t fall into these categories, chances are high you’ve heard the term cannabinoid.

But what exactly are cannabinoids? How do they work? Continue reading to find out.

Basic Definition of Cannabinoids

Cannabinoid is a term that applies to any chemicals that join the cannabinoid receptors of the body and brain. To qualify, these chemicals must also produce similar effects to those of the Cannabis Sativa plant. But what does that mean?

Every mammal has something called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is unique in that it offers a two-way cell response. While most cells in the body can receive or send information to the brain, the ECS can do both.

This two-way cell response is why many experts believe the ECS could help with a range of mental and physical health issues. Either way, the ECS has cannabinoid receptors that react to cannabinoids when ingested. Some believe these reactions are beneficial.

Each type of cannabinoid has the potential to bond with different receptors. These bonds create unique reactions and therefore produce different results. For example, one type of cannabinoid may help relieve pain while another may help a person with their anxiety.

Types of Cannabinoids

There are several types of cannabinoids, each of which falls under one of three categories. These categories include:

  • Recreational – produces results that haven’t been proven medicinally beneficial
  • Medical – produces results that have been proven medically beneficial
  • Synthetic – not naturally occurring but instead created by a person

Plants like cannabis and hemp produce between eighty and one hundred cannabinoids. The two primary ones include THC and CBD, while the others are considered to be minor cannabinoids.

THC and CBD are considered the primary cannabinoids for two reasons. First, they naturally occur in the highest concentrations. Second, they tend to be more potent versus the other cannabinoids one might find in cannabis or hemp. THC and CBD are also the two that most people will be familiar with.


While most people are familiar with these two cannabinoids, they often confuse them. The primary difference is that THC produces effects often associated with being high. CBD, on the other hand, doesn’t have these effects.

Another significant difference is legality. While CBD is legal in most states, THC is only permitted in states that have legalized the full use of recreational marijuana. It’s essential to know the rules in your specific state, as many products contain both cannabinoids.

More Questions About What Cannabinoids Are?

Cannabinoids are defined as chemicals that both join with specific receptors in the body and create certain effects. While THC and CBD are the two most commonly known cannabinoids, there are dozens more produced by hemp and cannabis plants.

Do you have more questions about what cannabinoids are?

Check out our other blogs. You’ll find articles on hemp, cannabis, and related topics to help you learn more on the matter.