Phytocannabinoids - Intro

What is a Phytocannabinoid?

Science has discovered nearly 150 phytocannabinoids (“plant-cannabinoids”) naturally produced in Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.). While phytocannabinoids are biochemically classified as phenolic meroterpenes structured around a resorcinyl core, functionally they are the only set of natural compounds that potently influence the human Endocannabinoid System – a major regulatory system acting across the human brain and body, which we deep-dive into on the Cannacea webpage covering the Endocannabinoid System. [1]


Hemp trichomes where Phytocannabinoids are biosynthesized.

Close-up image of hemp flower showing trichomes where Phytocannabinoids are biosynthesized.

Types of Phytocannabinoids

The unique production of phytocannabinoids takes place in the hemp plant’s trichomes, mushroom-shaped resin glands spread all over the plant’s aerial parts.  The hemp plant first enzymatically synthesizes the “mother phytocannabinoid” CBGA.  Special enzymes only found in hemp transform CBGA onwards into a mixture of CBDA, THCA, or CBCA, at ratios based on every hemp plant’s genetics.  By heat, light, or oxidation these carboxylic acid cannabinoids (hence the “A” at end of their acronyms) “decarboxylate” into the famous CBD, THC, and CBC cannabis is known for. [1]

Nature doesn’t stop there, however, but multiplies her fractal of phytonutrient compassion through naturally occurring reactions transforming some CBD, THC and CBC into the “secondary cannabinoids” CBE, CBN, and CBL, respectively.  Going further still, each of these primary and secondary cannabinoids has multiple naturally-occurring variant homologs with sidechain “tails” of differing lengths – like CBDV is the 3 carbon-tailed homolog of 5 carbon-tailed CBD.  Alongside all of these are numerous other specially produced phytocannabinoids like Cannabicitran (CBT), Cannabifuran (CBF), and many more. [1]

Finally, many of these primary, secondary, homolog, and other cannabinoids have naturally present isomer forms with the same chemical formula, but with differing arrangements of chemical bond geometries, like low-level delta-8 THC is an isomer of delta-9 THC.  A veritable phytocannabinoid factory within one wondrous plant! [1]

Here’s a partial listing of cannabinoids found in hemp - Check out the impressive polypharmacy in this plant superstar!:


CBD Types

Cannabidiol (CBD)
Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA)
Cannabidivarin (CBDV)
Cannabidivarinic Acid (CBDVA)
Cannabidiorcol (CBDO)
Cannabidiorcolic Acid (CBDOA)
Cannabidibutol (CBDB)
Cannabidibutolic Acid (CBDBA)
Cannabidiphorol (CBDP)
Cannabidiphorolic Acid (CBDPA)
Cannabidihexol (CBDH)


THC Types

delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA)
delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)
delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabivarinic Acid (THCVA)
delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabiorcol (THCC)
delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabiorcolic Acid (THCCA)
delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabutol (THCB)
delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabutolic Acid (THCBA)
delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabiphorol (THCP)
delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabiphorolic Acid (THCPA)
delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabihexol (THCH)
delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinol (d8THC)
delta-8 Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (d8THCA)
Cannabicitran (CBT)*
Cannabitriol (CBT)*

(* Both Cannabicitran and Cannabitriol can be confusingly given the acronym “CBT”.)


CBG Types

Cannabigerol (CBG)
Cannabigerolic Acid (CBGA)
Cannabigerovarin (CBGV)
Cannabigerovarinic Acid (CBGVA)
Cannabigerolic Acid Monomethyl Ether (CBGAM)


CBC Types

Cannabichromene (CBC)
Cannabichromenic Acid (CBCA)
Cannabichromevarin (CBCV)
Cannabichromevarinic Acid (CBCVA)
Cannabiorcichromene (CBCO)
Cannabiorcichromenic Acid (CBCOA)


CBN Types

Cannabinol (CBN)
Cannabinolic Acid (CBNA)
Cannabivarin (CBV)
Cannabivarinic Acid (CBVA)
Cannabiorcol (CBN-C1)


CBE Types

Cannabielsoin (CBE)
Cannabielsoic Acid A (CBEA-A)
Cannabielsoic Acid B (CBEA-B)


CBL Types

Cannabicyclol (CBL)
Cannabicyclolic Acid (CBLA)
Cannabicyclovarin (CBLV)
Cannabicyclovarinic Acid (CBLVA)
Cannabiorcicyclolic Acid


Thymyl Types

Cannabinodiol (CBND)
Cannabinodivarin (CBVD)
Cannabifuran (CBF)

CBD (Cannabidiol) 3D molecular structure.

3-D representation of CBD's molecular structure.

How do Phytocannabinoids affect our bodies? 

Over 140 phytocannabinoids have been identified, but besides CBD, THC, and the other prevalent primary and secondary phytocannabinoids, many are found at extremely low levels in hemp plants.  However, because each phytocannabinoid uniquely modulates the receptors of our Endocannabinoid System as well as multiple other receptor types (serotonin, opioid, dopamine, TRP-types, and others!), even in small amounts these phytocannabinoids contribute to the "entourage effect" in full spectrum CBD oils and products. [1]

Cannacea ensures the most prevalent detectable phytocannabinoids are present in our clinical hemp oil formulas, like CBD, CBG, CBC, CBN, CBDV, THC (low levels below 0.3%), and others, to provide one of the most powerful Full Spectrum therapies possible.

Please visit the in-depth Phytocannabinoids page on our website to learn more about these very special bioactive phytonutrients made specially within hemp.


1. All peer-reviewed scientific references are at the end of our Phytocannabinoid science webpage at

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