Cannabinoids in the cannabis flower

The cannabinoids in cannabis has many uses and benefits for mental health, pain management, cancer treatment and epilepsy. The cannabinoid compounds found within cannabis, are the active ingredients that offer the effects many people swear by. 

The one most talked about and studied is tetrahydrocannabinol, aka THC. It is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that produces that “high”, but also has been proven to have medicinal effects such as anxiety relief, pain management, anti-epileptic and anti-nausea. 

Picture of Cannabis flower representative of cannabinoids
The cannabinoids’ compounds found within cannabis are the active ingredients that offer the effects many people swear by.

Another popular cannabinoid is cannabidiol, or CBD, a non-psychoactive compound that produces calming effects and is even proven to be anti-inflammatory and anticancer. 

A Marine veteran discovered the THC’s cannabinoid benefits that transformed his life from eight Vicodin a day to none.

Within the human body, there is an endo cannabinoid system that contains receptors, the two main receptors currently known are called CB1 and CB2, these are “the two cannabinoid receptors which are activated by most of the cannabinoids” (Chakravarti et al 2014). 

Currently, they are the most common medical use is for the treatment of chemo-induced pain and nausea in cancer patients. However, it is also popular among people with anxiety, epilepsy, and other mental and neurological disorders. 

Health Benefits of Cannabinoids

A 2015 study found THC and CBD had a more significant positive impact on anxiety and PTSD among a variety of mental health disorders which also included depression, tourettes, and ADHD (Black et al). 

One 2019 study delved into the benefits and adverse effects on CBD and THC in PTSD patients. The most beneficial effect of the cannabinoids in marijuana was in mitigating nightmares brought on by PTSD and in aiding sleep. 

Despite its apparent benefits in mitigating anxiety and mood disorders, cannabinoids such as CBD have shown the most promise as anti-cancer treatments. According to a 2014 study on the effects of different cannabinoids on cancer cells, “Cannabinoids exert a direct anti-proliferative effect on tumors of different origin,” (Chakravarti et al) meaning they help prevent cancer cells from replicating and prevent from metastasizing across the body. 

The study suggests that the implementation of a variety of cannabinoids along with anti-cancer treatments could offer a huge breakthrough in cancer treatment. 

While there is still a lot of testing to turn them into viable treatment options, the effect of cannabinoids on tumorous cell growth is promising. 

New studies have even shown that cannabinoids can offer relief in other areas of medicine. A recent 2014 study has examined the role of cannabinoids in the treatment of various central nervous system disorders. 

The ability to synthesize cannabinoids from the cannabis plant has offered new methods of treatment for Central Nervous system (CNS) disorders. The study (2014) notes that “there is growing evidence from experimental studies that Δ9-THC and other cannabinoids, notably CBD, have neuroprotective effects as a result of their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticytotoxic properties,” (Giacoppo et al) a promising treatment for CNS diseases. 

While the study of cannabinoids is still relatively new, what has been discovered so far shows that the vast array of cannabinoids in cannabis could offer many different treatment possibilities for a variety of diseases. 

Other Cannabinoids

While THC and CBD are the most popularly used cannabinoids, there are a multitude of others found in cannabis. Other known cannabinoids are “cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarin (Δ9-THCV) and cannabidivarin (CBDV),” (Giacoppo et al 2014) each of which have been shown to possess similar benefits as THC and CBD. 

According to a 2017 study, there are “in total, more than 100 cannabinoids in 11 subclasses [that] have been characterized in cannabis,” (Mudge et al) any of which could offer these medicinal benefits. 

It is clear that cannabis and its many cannabinoids are still relatively unstudied, but the potential therapeutic benefits make cannabinoids a very important area of study. 

So far cannabinoids have proven to have excellent pain benefits as well as nausea treatments, they are frequently used to help mitigate anxiety and offer hope for future cancer treatment. 

People have been using cannabis for its therapeutic benefits for hundreds of years and its unknown potential at this point is seemingly limitless.


Giacoppo, S., Mandolino, G., Galuppo, M., Bramanti, P., & Mazzon, E. (2014). Cannabinoids: new promising agents in the treatment of neurological diseases. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 19(11), 18781–18816.

Black, N., Stockings, E., Campbell, G., Tran, L. T., Zagic, D., Hall, W. D., Farrell, M., & Degenhardt, L. (2019). Cannabinoids for the treatment of mental disorders and symptoms of mental disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The lancet. Psychiatry, 6(12), 995–1010.

Dariš, B., Tancer Verboten, M., Knez, Ž., & Ferk, P. (2019). Cannabinoids in cancer treatment: Therapeutic potential and legislation. Bosnian journal of basic medical sciences, 19(1), 14–23.

Mudge, E. M., Murch, S. J., & Brown, P. N. (2017). Leaner and greener analysis of cannabinoids. Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry, 409(12), 3153–3163.

Chakravarti, B., Ravi, J., & Ganju, R. K. (2014). Cannabinoids as therapeutic agents in cancer: current status and future implications. Oncotarget, 5(15), 5852–5872.

Śledziński, P., Zeyland, J., Słomski, R., & Nowak, A. (2018). The current state and future perspectives of cannabinoids in cancer biology. Cancer medicine, 7(3), 765–775.