The two most researched cannabinoids

THC & CBD explained

The cannabis plant contains up to 545 chemical compounds including 114 different cannabinoids, many of which have been clinically demonstrated to interact with the body’s cannabinoid receptors. To date, the most widely studied cannabinoids have been Δ 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is a cannabinoid that is frequently associated with the treatment of chronic pain, inflammation, spasticity, and nausea. It also has intoxicating effects. These are also typically the most abundant cannabinoids in the cannabis plant.

CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid typically prescribed for seizures, pain, anxiety and inflammation. CBD is non-addictive and less potent than THC with very low toxicity.

THC and CBD may work synergistically, while CBD is understood to antagonise the adverse side effects associated with THC.

Cannabis formulations have different ratios of THC to CBD. Each formulation:

  • Provides different therapeutic effects.
  • Interacts differently with each person’s endocannabinoid system and biochemistry.
  • Can have a different side effect profile in patients.


Abramovici, H., ‘Information for Health Care Professionals: Cannabis (marihuana, marijuana) and the cannabinoids’, Health Canada, 2013, https://www. (accessed 17 January 2019).

Ahmed SA., et al. ‘Minor oxygenated cannabinoids from high potency Cannabis sativa L’, Phytochemistry , vol. 117, 2015, pp. 194-199.

Russo, EB, ‘Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects’, British Journal of Pharmacology, vol. 163, 2011, pp. 1344-1364.

The Endocannabinoid system

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Additional Cannabinoids

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