Whether you’re a well seasoned veteran of cannabis or just starting your journey, you’ve probably heard of THC before. Of course we hear more about THC associated with the “high” from cannabis but what is THC? 

THC is just one of the many compounds produced by the Cannabis plant. These compounds are also referred to as “cannabinoids” and understanding these compounds will help you to better understand the cannabis plant.  

So, let’s explore cannabinoids, how they interact with our body and the possible benefits. 

Cannabinoids interact with our CB-1 and CB-2 receptors.

CB-1: receptors, located in our brain

CB-2: receptors, located throughout our body and immune system.

To make things easier, think of these receptors as locks and cannabinoids as the key.

These receptors help make up our “endocannabinoid system” (ECS) 

The Endocannabinoid System, what is it? Well, if you’re not too proficient in cannabis education, you may not be too familiar with this system. In simple terms, this is our biological system that interacts with cannabis’ active cannabinoids like THC and CBD. The most important and crucial role this structure plays within us is the regulation of our body. Meaning, this system is basically maintaining the right conditions for our cells’ ideal performance. 

Cannabinoids are a key component that makes the lovely Mary Jane extra fascinating by certain cannabinoids interacting with certain receptors and providing different effects.

These compounds are especially important to cannabis, by interacting with certain receptors and providing different effects, Medical patients can benefit highly from the plant and really harness the full effect by exploring different cannabinoids for their qualifying condition.


This legendary line up features the major Cannabinoids found in cannabis, let’s take a closer look at each one and its benefits. 


Delta9-Tetrahydracannabidol, this mouth full of words is otherwise known as THC, the most popular cannabinoid found in Cannabis and responsible for giving us that euphoric high. Although THC is still federally illegal here in the United States, research is unfortunately limited. In many other countries like Israel, marijuana is federally legal and is able to be researched and tested. Thanks to pioneers at places like The Hebreew University of Jerusalem’s multidisciplinary center, medical research on THC is becoming more abundant. THC has shown effectiveness in treating pain and inflammation through the activation of CB2 receptors on immune cells. This weakens the body’s pain-inducing response to injury.  


Funny enough, Cannabis doesn’t actually produce THC. It produces its close relative, THCA. THCA which when heat activated will convert into the known and loved THC. This process is known as “decarboxylation.”

To make a long story short, if you ate a bud of your favorite strain of cannabis, you wouldn’t get high. THCA, is the compound inside the bud you just ate. Now, if you were to roll that same bud into a joint and smoke it, you would feel psychoactive effects because the THCA has been heat activated and converted to THC while you were smoking it.

The decarboxylation process can also happen by baking your flower at the correct fahrenheit and activating the THC in the oven so you can make your own edibles. 


Cannabichromene, or CBC as that is much easier to remember, is another non-psychoactive compound within cannabis. This lesser known compound may be more medicinal than you thought. In 2013 a study done on mice concluded that CBC has had a “positive effect on neural stem progenitor cells (NSPCs). NSPCs, which are a cell that is essential to the brain’s healthy function. When in the presence of CBC neural stem progenitor cells became more viable. A research study conducted in 2016 showed the CBC could show promise in fighting acne.

David G. Balter MD
Medical Marijuana Doctor