Until now, more than 500 compounds in cannabis have been identified. There are three main classes of compounds: phytocannabinoids, terpenoids, and flavonoids
Terpenoids are the largest group of compounds in cannabis.
“Terpenoids encompass more than 40 000 structures and form the largest class of all known plant metabolites. Some terpenoids have well-characterized physiological functions that are common to most plant species. In addition, many of the structurally diverse plant terpenoids may function in taxonomically more discrete, specialized interactions with other organisms.”
They are found in other plants also and are responsible for the flavour and fragrance of the plant. Over 200 different terpenoids have been found in cannabis. Terpenoids are thought to show more effect when they interact with another group of compounds called the phytocannabinoids in the treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer and fungal or bacterial infections.
Flavonoids are responsible for the non-green colors in plants. “Flavonoids, a group of natural substances with variable phenolic structures, are found in fruits, vegetables, grains, bark, roots, stems, flowers, tea and wine. These natural products are well known for their beneficial effects on health and efforts are being made to isolate the ingredients so called flavonoids. Flavonoids are now considered as an indispensable component in a variety of nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, medicinal and cosmetic applications. This is attributed to their anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic and anti-carcinogenic properties coupled with their capacity to modulate key cellular enzyme function.”
Twenty three flavonoids have been identified in cannabis. Cannflavin A, and Cannflavin B are unique to Cannabis. Flavonoids have a diversity of biological effects, including properties shared by terpenes, and cannabinoids. They present anti- inflammatory, anti-cancer, and neuro-protective properties.
Phytocannabinoids are the naturally occurring cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. They have been classified into 11 subclasses according to their chemical structures. CBG, Delta 9-THC, CBD, CBC, CBN, Delta 8-THC, CBL, CBND, CBE, CBT, and other miscellaneous types. They act on cannabinoid receptors.
They aid the treatment of many diseases and disorders such as anorexia, pain, inflammation, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, glaucoma, osteoporosis, cancer, obesity, parkinson, and others.
They are synthesized as acids, like HTCA and CBDA. Via the process called decarboxylation, products such as THC and CBD are produced. Most common compounds are Delta 9-THCA, CBDA, and CBN-Acid.