A cannabis leaf outline with the text 'What are cannabinoids?

Since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, cannabinoids, particularly CBD and a few others, have garnered significant attention. While many try to profit by selling cannabinoid-infused products as miracle cures, the science behind cannabinoids is much more nuanced and complex.

In this post, we will delve into:

  • What cannabinoids are
  • How they interact with our body
  • The role of external cannabinoids like CBD in our system

What Are Cannabinoids: The Basics

Cannabinoids are a class of chemical compounds produced by flowering cannabis plants, specifically Cannabis Sativa L., which includes both hemp and THC-dominant cannabis varieties. What sets cannabinoids apart is their unique ability to interact with the endocannabinoid systems (ECS) found in mammals, including humans.

As of today, researchers have identified over 100 different cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant, and the discovery of more is expected as research progresses.

The Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system, discovered in the 1980s and early 1990s, revealed the significant role of cannabinoids in the human body. The ECS comprises three main components: endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes.


Endocannabinoids act as neurotransmitters, carrying messages between cells and helping maintain homeostasis. They function similarly to bike messengers delivering important signals to receptors throughout the body. These messages can include:

  • Producing and releasing growth hormone
  • Releasing dopamine
  • Signaling the release of melatonin

The first endocannabinoid, 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), was discovered in 1992 in the lab of Israeli chemist Raphael Mechoulam. Since then, researchers have cataloged over a hundred more cannabinoids that interact with the ECS.


Researchers have identified two main types of cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are primarily located in the brain and central nervous system, while CB2 receptors are found throughout the immune system and internal organs.

These receptors were discovered and cloned in the early 1990s—CB1 in 1990 and CB2 in 1993. The discovery of these receptors led researchers to hypothesize and subsequently find endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) produced within the body.


Once cannabinoids complete their messaging tasks, enzymes break them down, allowing the body to safely dispose of them. The primary enzymes responsible for endocannabinoid system cleanup are fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL).

What Are Phytocannabinoids?

Endocannabinoids are produced naturally within the body, but cannabinoids produced by cannabis plants are called phytocannabinoids.

Phytocannabinoids mimic our body’s endocannabinoids and interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors in various ways. There are many different phytocannabinoids, but some of the most popular include:

Cannabidiol (CBD)

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is non-psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t cause intoxication or a “high.” Instead, CBD interacts with both CB1 and CB2 receptors, aiding the uptake of beneficial endocannabinoids.

Using our bike messenger analogy: if endocannabinoids are messengers carrying important directions to different body parts, CBD acts like the traffic cop stopping traffic to let those messengers through. This can be particularly helpful when endocannabinoids are sending anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and anti-anxiety signals.

Cannabinol (CBN)

Cannabinol, or CBN, is mildly psychoactive. It is an oxidated form of THC and interacts with the ECS and CB1 receptors similarly. Although we don’t yet know the isolated effects of CBN on humans for certain, it is believed to help facilitate better sleep.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

THC is the most well-known phytocannabinoid, recognized for its psychoactive properties. THC is a strong CB1 agonist. When THC binds to CB1 receptors, it can induce euphoria, time dilation, and alterations in mood and cognitive functions.

The Entourage Effect

While over 100 cannabinoids have been identified to date, it’s crucial to note that cannabinoids, both endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids, don’t function effectively in isolation. Research suggests that the interaction between the full spectrum of cannabinoids is vital to experiencing their benefits. This phenomenon is known as the “entourage effect.”

Comparing Cannabinoids with Competitors’ Products

Cannabinoid research and product development have expanded significantly, driven by increased consumer interest and scientific inquiry. To provide a comprehensive comparison, we will look at how our understanding of cannabinoids and their applications differ from those offered by competitors.

Competitor Analysis: Cannabinoid Spectrum and Purity

Many competitors emphasize the purity of their cannabinoid products, often highlighting the isolated form of cannabinoids such as CBD or THC. However, recent studies suggest that full-spectrum products, which include a range of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds, may offer more significant benefits due to the entourage effect.

Our approach favors full-spectrum cannabinoid products, leveraging the synergistic effects to provide a more holistic benefit profile. This contrasts with competitors who may focus on single-compound purity, potentially missing out on the broader therapeutic potential.

Extraction Methods and Quality Control

The extraction method used to obtain cannabinoids from cannabis plants significantly impacts the quality and efficacy of the final product. Common methods include CO2 extraction, ethanol extraction, and solvent-based extraction. Each method has its advantages and limitations in terms of purity, safety, and environmental impact.

Competitors may use varying methods, but our commitment to CO2 extraction ensures a clean, solvent-free product, maintaining the integrity of the cannabinoids and other beneficial compounds. This method aligns with our goal to provide high-quality, safe, and effective products.

Regulatory Compliance and Transparency

The regulatory landscape for cannabinoid products is complex and constantly evolving. Compliance with local, state, and federal regulations is crucial for ensuring product safety and consumer trust.

Our competitors may have different levels of compliance and transparency in their practices. We prioritize adherence to all relevant regulations and strive for complete transparency in our sourcing, manufacturing, and labeling processes. This commitment helps build consumer confidence and sets us apart in the market.

What Are Cannabinoids: Summarized

While the discovery of endocannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system is truly exciting, it’s essential to recognize that this area of biology is still relatively uncharted, and much remains to be understood about how the system works.

Moreover, our knowledge of phytocannabinoids is even less developed, which is why we refrain from making medical claims about our handcrafted hemp products. We believe cannabinoids can be beneficial, but it is crucial for each individual to determine their needs and find the right product for them.


What are cannabinoids?

  • Cannabinoids are chemical compounds produced by cannabis plants that interact with the endocannabinoid system in mammals, including humans.

How do cannabinoids interact with the human body?

  • Cannabinoids interact with the human body by binding to cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) in the endocannabinoid system, influencing various physiological processes.

What is the difference between endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids?

  • Endocannabinoids are produced naturally within the body, while phytocannabinoids are plant-based cannabinoids produced by cannabis plants.

What are some common phytocannabinoids and their effects?

  • Common phytocannabinoids include CBD (non-psychoactive, anti-inflammatory), CBN (mildly psychoactive, potential sleep aid), and THC (psychoactive, euphoria-inducing).

What is the entourage effect?

  • The entourage effect refers to the synergistic interaction of multiple cannabinoids, both endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids, enhancing their overall therapeutic benefits.