Did you know the hemp plant comprises some 120 different cannabinoids? While CBD and Delta-9 THC are two of the most commonly-known and dominant ones, more and more consumers are turning their attention to minor cannabinoids like CBG, CBN and more.
Read on and learn the lesser-known cannabinoids gaining traction in the market today.
Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol or Delta-9 THC is a psychoactive compound naturally found in the Cannabis sativa plant and is responsible for the “high” experienced in marijuana. However, as hemp plants and products contain less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC only (as prescribed by the 2018 Farm Bill), they are not intoxicating.
Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol or Delta-8 THC is another psychoactive compound naturally found in the Cannabis sativa plant but at very small amounts. As such, it is not economically viable to produce through traditional biomass extraction techniques.
Through a process called isomerization, pure CBD isolate can be converted into Delta-8 THC using various solvents, acids or reagents. The process can be achieved at a relatively low cost, which makes the production of Delta-8 THC appealing.
Learn more about Delta-8 THC and its legal status here.
Cannabidiol or CBD is a prevalent compound, comprising some 40% of the Cannabis sativa plant, and is one of the most popular cannabinoids, along with Delta-9 THC.
CBD is not intoxicating and with so many purported benefits, it has found its way in a variety of wellness products, ranging from edibles to skincare.
However, the only FDA-approved prescription form of CBD available is Epidiolex, a drug used to treat epilepsy.
Cannabigerol or CBG is a minor cannabinoid, as it exists at much lower levels comparatively—roughly 1%. Like CBD, CBG is not intoxicating.
CBG is most abundant during the early stages of growth, around the sixth to eighth week mark, before going on to form other cannabinoids. As it is a precursor to other cannabinoids, it is often referred to as “the mother of all cannabinoids”.
CBG is on its way to becoming the hemp industry’s next big thing. In a 2021 study of 520 CBD companies in the US by industry watchdog CBD Oracle, about 20% (100 companies) offer CBG products, making it the most dominant minor cannabinoid sold.
THC that is exposed to heat and light for a prolonged period breaks down and gives birth to cannabinol or CBN. This minor cannabinoid is mildly psychoactive in large doses.
CBN is not as well studied compared to other cannabinoids, but it is slowly gaining popularity among consumers due to its purported sedative effects.
CBD Oracle’s 2021 study of 520 CBD companies in the US found about 12% (63 companies) offering CBN products.
Cannabichromene or CBC is the third most abundant cannabinoid in the Cannabis sativa plant, after THC and CBD.
CBC is non-intoxicating and is best known for playing an important role in the “entourage effect”. When used in combination with other cannabinoids like CBD, CBC is said to improve a product’s overall effectiveness.
As the cannabinoid has largely flown under the radar, CBC-rich products are currently few and far between. Out of 520 CBD companies in the US, only about 4% (10 companies) offer CBC products, according to the same study.
 Cornwell, A.M., “We Analyzed 520 CBD Companies—Here’s What We Found Out,” CBD Oracle, https://cbdoracle.com/cbd/cbd-companies-list/