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Beyond THC – A Community Of Cannabinoids

Exploring the wonderful world of alternative compounds found in Cannabis.

Photo by Romolo Tavani, Adobe Stock

The new year/new you fad is in full gear, and while major lifestyle changes can be elusive, working alternative Cannabinoids into your wellness protocol can be easier than quitting your favorite vice. Although there are over 100 minor Cannabinoids that researchers have yet to study, we’ve put together a primer on the ones most commonly found in products today. Together with terpenes and THC, these lesser-known chemicals work in concert to achieve what’s known as the Entourage Effect – where the elements of the plant work in harmony to create wellness.

While none of this should be read as medical advice, our modern world offers plenty of emerging research on these Cannabinoids and surrounding topics, and we encourage everyone interested in integrating Cannabis into their health and wellness routines to explore the world of alternative Cannabinoids!


While this Cannabinoid might be the most famous in health circles, there’s a reason for the positive press that this compound receives. Originally found in THC flower as a minor Cannabinoid, this wonder drug is now extracted from hemp – making it much more accessible to the world, as it’s time-consuming to grow CBD-rich Cannabis. But if you have the chance to smoke true CBD-rich weed (not hemp flower), we recommend it for a relaxing feel-good buzz. 

Today you can find CBD in almost everything from tinctures to creams to lubes, with varying effects depending on dosage and the product. Generally speaking, CBD is fantastic for anxiety and depression, as well as for minimizing pain and inflammation, and for stopping seizure disorders. It also helps regulate mood and memory, and may be helpful in the fight against Alzheimer’s (which THC has also been shown to reduce symptoms of in studies on rats). CBD should be a part of any Cannabis user’s regular diet, and we recommend at least 25mg per serving to get your endocannabinoid system flush with this helpful compound.


CBC is an often overlooked Cannabinoid that has major potential benefits and no psychoactive effects, which is likely why the weed industry has largely ignored it. CBC is known to work synergistically with other Cannabinoids (the aforementioned Entourage Effect), helping the body as it battles ailments ranging from cancer to inflammation. CBC has been shown in mouse studies to slow tumor growth by stopping new cancer cells from generating, and could hold the key to stopping certain types of the disease altogether. CBC is also good for the brain – helping to regulate homeostasis, and could help to prevent neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s. It’s also great for acne, so look for CBC in a topical form for happy skin.


CBG is really the wonder Cannabinoid that is helpful and doesn’t get you “high” – although we always find getting a good buzz to be beneficial! CBG binds to both the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain, which are the gateways to the endocannabinoid system – delivering a wide range of benefits, including fighting cancer cells, combating inflammation, treating Inflammatory Bowel Disease, helping with nausea and even acting as a powerful anti-bacterial. While CBG is known to actually counteract the effects of heavy-THC doses (meaning it can calm a high down), we found a mild euphoria accompanied the wonderful medicinal effects that we now refer to as the CBG giggles. 

Delta 8 THC

Over the last few years, Delta 8 THC products have exploded across the country, with edibles and vapes filling head shop shelves. Delta 8 THC can be found naturally in Cannabis, although the extracted version is a hemp-derived isomer of CBD, which converts the CBD into a more playful Cannabinoid. Generally viewed as both safe and delivering a less psychoactive high, many users report happy effects when vaping or eating Delta 8 THC. As with all alternative Cannabinoid products, the brand matters when it comes to product safety and testing – so look to a trusted brand that’s already in the THC game to find your Delta 8 buzz.


With weed still illegal in many places, those with a love for science and pot are working to find new ways to get high that don’t come from traditional Delta 9 THC, and can be questionably sold at gas stations and smoke shops. THC-O is considered three times more potent than normal THC, and is made in a lab by adding Acetic Anhydride (an ingredient in Aspirin) to produce this not-found-in-nature Cannabinoid. Users report heady euphoria and a strong body high. 

HHC is a similar lab-created Cannabinoid that adds a hydrogen molecule to hemp-derived THC (which makes it technically legal), and has very similar effects to traditional THC. While these chemicals are currently legal, we recommend staying away from any products that contain them. With questionable testing and no regulation, there’s no replacing good ol’ THC from mother nature.

A Word to the Weed Wise

While we don’t recommend trying gas station synthetic weed, or any gas station energy or sexual potency pills, a world of Cannabis products does exist that you might not find at your regular weed shop. The best advice for finding quality alternative Cannabinoids is to start at your dispensary and ask the staff for a specific Cannabinoid like CBD or CBG, and inquire as to which brands that make THC products might have other options. Many have full online stores with CBD and other infused products that you can mail to your house legally. 

So as we head into the unknown of 2023 and beyond, look to Cannabis for new ways to help you and your friends and family. We all have health issues that could benefit from this amazing plant … and in that sense, it really is a wonderful new world we live in.

About Wes Abney

Wes Abney is the founder and CEO of the Leaf Nation brand family, which began in 2010 as Northwest Leaf magazine. Recognized as the first Cannabis publication in the region, Northwest Leaf defined and developed the medical and recreational Cannabis communities in Washington with free publications focused on quality content and truthful journalism. The model’s success has led to Oregon Leaf in 2014, Alaska Leaf in 2016, Maryland Leaf in 2019, California Leaf in Spring of 2020, and Northeast Leaf in Fall of 2020. Wes’s writing and publishing background began with his college newspaper, The Ebbtide, which included a love for multimedia and creating content on many platforms. The nickname “Bearded Lorax” came after years of publishing millions of free magazines, using his voice to speak for a plant and those that benefit from it. Wes is an activist not only for Cannabis but for alternative medicine treatments, ending the drug war and freeing prisoners who have been wrongfully incarcerated for non-violent crimes. His passion for reaching people with written and spoken words led to the concept of Leaf Life Podcast in partnership with Mike Ricker, which began development in 2018 and launched in January 2019. With the combined passions of Cannabis and a love for broadcasting, the creation of Leaf Life was a natural progression for Leaf Nation as it spread roots across the United States. With over 100 shows recorded, and printing over 100,000 monthly copies, Leaf Nation has become the world’s largest Cannabis media company, while still celebrating the humble roots and truthful journalism that the model was founded upon. Beyond leading a team of 40+ passionate Cannabis creatives, Wes is the father to two beautiful daughters and two furry cats. He lives in Seattle, drinks coffee, and enjoys Cannabis daily, and hopes to eventually transition from a successful Cannabis journalist to a classic coffee shop author as the Leaf continues to grow in the coming decades. In true Lorax fashion, he enjoys hikes in the forest, communing with nature, and reminding people that “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.”

This article was originally published in the January 2023 issue of All Magazines.

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