What Are the Different Types of Cannabinoids? A Basic Guide

Despite being around for thousands of years, the cannabis plant still holds mysteries. Case in point: the many benefits of cannabinoids.

First things first: what are cannabinoids? Well, these are compounds that are very rare in nature but abundant in cannabis. They can produce a variety of effects in humans, from euphoria to enhanced sensory perception.

Want to learn more about the different types of cannabinoids? Here are the five most common examples and what they’re used for.


THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) is best known for its intoxicating effects. When people talk about getting “high” on cannabis, they’re talking about THC. That said, THC also has some strong medicinal effects.

For example, THC is often used for pain relief. Many cannabinoids offer pain relief, but THC brings the highest level of it. THC also helps with issues like nausea, sleep disorders, muscle spasms, and more.

For some people, of course, THC will be hard to use due to its psychotropic properties. If you need a distillate with some cannabinoid content, consider a THC-free distillate. Learn more about what is THC distillate here.


CBD (cannabidiol) is the second most popular cannabinoid in the marijuana plant. Though it’s psychoactive, it doesn’t have the disorienting effects of THC. That makes it a good choice for fighting anxiety and depression.

Speaking of the CBD vs THC debate, CBD can also relieve pain and reduce inflammation. It’s also used for treating Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, cancer, and other serious conditions.


CBG (cannabigerol) is only found in small amounts in the cannabis plant. It’s produced from CBGA, the foundational molecule of all cannabinoids. We don’t know much about CBG yet, but it seems to have medical potential.

For starters, CBG is an effective anti-inflammatory agent and pain reliever. It can also act as a neuroprotectant against degenerating conditions. Some studies show it may help fight prostate and oral cancer.


THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin) has a lot in common with THC. Like THC, it produces a relaxing and euphoric high. If used together, though, THCV helps block the anxiety-inducing effects of THC.

THCV also has some promise as a weight-loss aid that works by boosting metabolism and reducing appetite. It can also help with diabetes treatment and promote new bone cell growth.


CBN (cannabinol) also produces a psychoactive response, but a minor one. The reason for that is that CBN is a byproduct of THC degradation. That’s why cannabis loses its potency as THC decreases and CBN increases.

Click here for what is CBN. Many people consider CBN to be a sedative, but there isn’t a lot of research to support that. That said, combining CBN and THC does result in a strong sedative. CBN can also ease glaucoma and serve as an antibiotic.

The Different Types of Cannabinoids

With so many different types of cannabinoids out there, finding one that’s right for you isn’t too hard. Though there’s plenty of research on cannabis to do, what we already know is enough to get you started.

Interested in more facts about cannabis? Keep checking out our Lifestyle section to learn more about this useful plant!