Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the most familiar ingredient in marijuana. It is the compound which has been responsible for all of the controversy surrounding cannabis use for decades. What we have learned is that cannabinoids like THC and CBD can be beneficial because it mimics endogenous substances in our bodies.

More information has become available through research in the last few years, which offers a more well-rounded understanding of the many components in marijuana and their properties. 

Let’s look at the primary compounds in the cannabis plant, their names, effects and how we use them.


This is the psychoactive component of cannabis. It gives a mood uplifting and energizing “high,” in some instances and in others, THC produces a sedative effect, commonly known as “couch-lock.” This effect is determined by the type of THC isomer and type of receptor, of which there are two; CB1 (Central Nervous System) and CB2 (Peripheral Nervous System). THC binds with the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors in the brain, which causes psychoactive effects. 

When it is properly prepared and activated, THC can be introduced to the system through a number of different means, such as smoking, vaping, edibles, lotions, oils and tinctures.


Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a non-psychoactive component found in cannabis; however, it mitigates some of the psychoactive effects of THC, acting as a balancer. CBD has many beneficial effects on the body and is used for its medicinal properties. 

CBD is also the basis on which (limited) marijuana use was legalized in the States. As a medical compound, it has been recognized as a legitimate method primarily of treating epileptic seizures. It is also used for pain, inflammation, mental conditions and a number of other health problems.


There are a number of other compounds in marijuana which also have beneficial medicinal properties and they all fall under the very general and broad description of cannabinoids. Both THC and CBD are cannabinoids and they have displayed the most prominent and easily observable effects. However, there are 540 chemical compounds in cannabis, of which CBD and THC are only two. Other chemical compounds or cannabinoids are also active and most have medicinal properties. We’ll go into more detail about these fascinating compounds in another post, so look out for it.

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