Good day to all of you, my precious cosmic blueberries! Penguin Pete here, your Jester of Joints, and I figure that it’s time for a cannabinoid round-up list. True, here at dab Connection we have some sort of primitive glossary with entries including cannabinoids, but here I’m focusing on something else besides an academic listing.
This guide is for you end consumers. Right about now, perhaps you are looking at the menu listing at your local dispensary or cannabis product retailer. You’re hearing now about all the latest cannabinoids coming out in the last few years, much of it derived from legal hemp by the standards of the Hemp Farm Bill.
But you don’t really care about that. You’re just asking, “Will I like this?” You want to know: will it get me high, is it really strong, is it good for anxiety? That’s what I’m trying to address, from a mostly recreational point of view. Of course, most of this applies to those who take a cannabis derivative for therapeutic reasons as well.
I’m reporting these strictly from personal experience, trying as much of isolated cannabinoid products as I can get my hands on. To get truly isolated cannabinoids, you’ll usually find these in edible products and other highly processed forms like vape cartridges. However, you can find them in any form up to dabbable diamonds and even hemp that has been treated with extract. The difference is that, while all cannabinoids have been present in cannabis strains since the dawn of time, most of the alt-cannabinoids are only present in such tiny quantities that we never had the chance to sample them individually in high concentrations before now.
Your mileage may vary. Some of the degree to which cannabinoids hit you is determined by your tolerance, which can be a factor of your current usage of cannabinoids, your weight, what other substances you use, medical conditions, and so on. All guides say this, so I won’t belabor the point. But some cannabinoids even have more variable effects than others.
So from a strictly recreational standpoint… If you are a daily weed smoker, chances are that anything less that full delta-9 THC isn’t going to make you feel much. If you take regular tolerance breaks and manage your usage carefully, you can enjoy a different cannabinoid effect for every day of the week.
I will be updating this list as time goes by, as a cannabinoid diary.
Party potential: Hell yeah!
Pure THC, AKA “delta 9 THC” is the most famous one in the list and so, very obviously, we needn’t dwell on that one too long. It’s the most prominent cannabinoid in cannabis, and the one most famous for producing the high effect. When we say “high,” we quantify that as the part that makes you euphoric and relaxed, with a tax on your immediate focus and concentration.
Generations have used cannabis (last officially dated to at least 2,700 years ago) solely for the THC effect with little concern or awareness of the other 100-odd cannabinoids involved in the plant. “THC” is the only cannabinoid you should think of when you describe the effect of being “stoned.”
Party potential: Nope.
CBD is the second-most-common cannabinoid present in regular delta-9 THC marijuana, and also the most common cannabinoid found in hemp by far. CBD most definitely does NOT get you stoned, high, or euphoric at all. Do not bother with CBD unless you are looking for the mildest of effects.
CBD is the most therapeutic cannabinoid, even going so far as to be permitted by the CDC for treatment of some diseases, and most frequently recommended for therapeutic / medical use. But that’s the main value of CBD. Even if you take a high dosage of CBD, as far as mental effects go, at the most you will feel like you took some aspirin or a mild cup of coffee. You feel CBD in the body, but not the head.
CBD and delta-9 THC can be considered polar opposites on the cannabis spectrum.
CBD has so little psychoactive effect that you will sometimes see it in combos with other alt-cannabinoids (or “altcans” for short). It tends to be gratuitously dumped into some formulas due to its popularity, perhaps with the reasoning that you might as well get some therapeutic value out of it too.
Party potential: Yes. (but milder)
Delta 8 is the part where most consumers start getting lost. What is with this delta-stuff? We also hear about delta 10, 7, and so on. I explain some molecule mechanics about this delta mystery broken down for you (and us) without chemistry degrees. But what you’re here to know is, does it get you high?
It gets you almost exactly half as high. You may have heard delta 8 described as “diet weed” or “weed lite,” both of which are very apt descriptions. Delta 8 produces near-identical effects to delta-9 THC, at half the strength. This also means that if you use twice as much, it pretty much feels like the same dosage of delta-9 THC. It still produces euphoria and relaxation, but with less brain fog.
Just to point it out, delta 8 is also found in large relative quantities, natively in both full-THC marijuana and hemp-grade cannabis. In fact, if you take any old THC and leave it sit around long enough, it degrades into delta 8 anyway. So if you’re ever had really dried-out weed from back in the fully-illegal days (picture bricks of some South American concoction smuggled into the country before finally being chipped up for the street vendor to parcel them out), and it was really weak, you probably had mostly delta 8 in it.
Party potential: Yes, a bit more!
Delta 10 was the next isomer to come out after delta 8. Like delta 8, delta 10 is another isomer of the classic THC molecule, and also has milder effects than regular (delta 9) THC. But it seems to also be slightly stronger than delta 8. So let’s say it gets you 3/4ths (5/7ths?) as high as regular THC. Most users report that it feels at least similar to delta 8, some note that it hits stronger.
It is less common to find delta 10 isolated. More common with what we’re seeing, products like distillates and edibles will boast a “cannabis spectrum” effect by combining deltas 8, 9, and 10. Again, this is nothing but the chemicals found in the cannabis plant to begin with; isomers of all kinds of chemicals appear in nature all the time.
Since delta 10 is almost “second verse same as the first” as delta 8, we won’t dwell on it longer here.
From here on down, effects start to get far more subjective!
Party potential: Nah! (but maybe?)
Here we reach a controversial cannabinoid. HHC is this year’s poster-child for the fad cannabinoid of the year. Reports of its effects vary more widely than we’ve seen with any other cannabinoid. There seems to be a variable, with some speculation that the purity of HHC matters between individual samples. Some users report a delta-8 level “stoned” effect, other report mildly psychedelic effects, and still many more report feeling not much of anything at all.
Your humble author hates to be a spoilsport, but I have taken a ton of HHC from multiple sources, and I’m in the “almost nothing” club. I’ve dosed up 100mg of HHC in edible form before, and not felt as much of a psychoactive effect as I would on 10mg THC. The effect that I have felt is what I would describe almost as a stimulant or antidepressant, such as Adderall or Lexapro. It is not a party drug to me at all. But I do think it could have nootropic potential; I feel focused and more concentrated on a high dose of HHC. Even at that low effect, I also find – and many other report this as well – that you build up tolerance to HHC really fast. So if I take 100mg HHC one day, the same dosage has no effects the next day. Waiting a week restores the magic.
HHC is one of the newest isolated cannabinoids. Par for the course, it is also currently hyped a lot. So I’m also taking reports of party potential with a grain of salt. The placebo effect can still happen with cannabinoids too. It is also one of the least-tested cannabinoids currently, so stay tuned.
THCv / CBDv
Party potential: Mostly not.
I have seen this one rarely come along. The widest consensus I can track down says that THCv / CBDv has no noticeable effects that we can find. This is concurrent with my own attempts. I’ve taken gaggles of THCv / CBDv and never felt more sober in my life.
As I have read so far, THCv may even be an antagonist against regular delta-9 THC, blocking the endocannabinoid receptors to prevent a buzz effect of any kind from getting through. I have also seen some claims that, as you increase the dosage of THCv, you expect to feel some mild sensation, but at this point if 100mg isn’t a high enough dose then I don’t want to know how much it takes when there’s other cannabinoids waiting in line to be tried yet. Some also claim effects similar to HHC and the Adderall effect I report.
I also see claims where THCv does more in conjunction with THC already in your system.
I’m only concerned with isolated cannabinoids though. It’s also interesting to experiment with combos later, so I’m not going to spoil anybody’s fun there. But we need a record of isolated effects first.
Party potential: Not much.
By itself isolated, CBG is yet another cannabinoid which does not produce anything like a high associated with being “stoned.” However, CBG is a special case: CBG is the “stem cell” of cannabinoids, by which they mean that CBG can degrade into all the other cannabinoids. Like with delta 9 THC degrading into delta 8, CBG left to sit will chaotically break down into THC, CBD, HHC, deltas 8 and 10, and so on.
So, logically CBG in higher doses should feel like a round shot of a cannabinoid cocktail. In practice, it produces very slight effects by itself, in the lower cannabinoids intensity range, perhaps like a good dose of vitamins. But cannabis or hemp with high CBG produces a different affect. It’s a uniquely clear-headed stoniness, like a wake and bake in one stop. Of course again, we are only concerned with isolated effects.
Party potential: No. (but good naps!)
CBN has no psychoactive affects directly that anyone has found yet. Instead, CBN is used therapeutically, primarily as a sedative-like sleep aid. CBN is the part of cannabis that gives you couch-lock and sleepiness, or at least makes it easy to go to sleep.
When trying CBN, I do indeed feel like it hits me about like a melatonin capsule. Like CBD, you feel CBN more in your body and not in your mind, although anxiety sufferers report that CBN likewise helps them to calm down. Whatever its effects, CBN is not a party drug at all, but makes a great mood-mellower. It really does relax you more deeply than any other cannabinoid, so maybe that still counts as a psychoactive effect.
CBN is also another cannabinoid that is derived from other cannabinoids degrading, so if you smoked old brick weed than only made you feel a little high but very lazy, that might have had high CBN concentrations.
We’re knee-deep in the era of what is becoming known as “alt-cannabinoids,” perhaps to be shortened to “altcans” by some hip blogger who’s hankering to coin a word. Special shout-out to Reddit’s /r/altcannabinoids forum, filled with the nerdiest nerds who ever nerded about organic chemistry applied to cannabis compounds.
Therein, here is another alt-cannabinoid diary which is much more extensive. Take a consensus, because again, everybody is different when it comes to drug effects in general. Readers, feel free to visit our forum and start your own alt-cannabinoids diary! The more documentation we can find on this stuff, the more you help out a fellow Ent.