The cannabis industry’s next big thing - minor cannabinoids
Since first being identified and isolated in 1964, cannabis’ primary constituent, delta-9-THC, has remained the most discussed and demanded cannabinoid in the marketplace. As cannabis research has continued to grow at an exponential rate, scientists have identified and isolated other cannabinoids that are now considered by many as mainstream. One example is the second most popular cannabinoid, CBD, which led to the advent of Epidiolex, the first FDA approved cannabis-derived product. With over 100 cannabinoids having been identified and no projections of the cannabis markets slowing down, many are posing the question, what is the cannabis industry’s next big thing?
Even though the industry has almost exclusively focused on major cannabinoids like THC and CBD in the past, recent research and evolving plant genetics have helped shed light on some of the less dominant cannabinoids as the industry’s next trend. Let’s explore the rapidly growing world of minor cannabinoids.
What are minor cannabinoids?
Don’t be fooled by the nomenclature — minor cannabinoids are minor in that they are not naturally produced in as high of a concentration when compared to major cannabinoids. When it comes to their effects and potential medical value, there’s nothing minor about them. Minor cannabinoids like THCV, CBC, CBG, and CBDV are named similarly to more well-known cannabinoids and their chemical structure is often similar to major cannabinoids. Their difference, however, lies within the cannabinoid receptor binding properties, which can result in significantly different — or sometimes similar — effects that are produced in the user.
Are minor cannabinoids medically valuable?
Given that scientists have identified over 100 cannabinoids produced by cannabis, it should come as no surprise that researchers have countless questions and hypotheses about their potential medical value. Much like well-known major cannabinoids like THC and CBD, clinical research remains to be conducted before we can definitively determine the full potential of minor cannabinoids. That said, current data suggests that minor cannabinoids may pack a punch regarding potential medical benefits. That’s why we’ve decided to highlight some of the early findings surrounding minor cannabinoids.
What are the potential benefits of THCV?
Chemically speaking, tetrahydrocannabivarin or THCV is structurally similar to delta-9-THC, only differing in the length of its side chain. This structural difference, while minor, can significantly impact the cannabinoid receptor binding properties, thus producing different effects for the end-user. THCV is often touted as one of the most promising cannabinoids since CBD, maintaining both recreational and potential medical applications.
Current research data suggests that THCV may maintain numerous medical benefits, including but not limited to:
A non-exhaustive list of published research surrounding THCV:
From a recreational or adult-use perspective, anecdotal reports suggest that THCV may provide the user with effects that differ from delta-9-THC. Although more observational studies are needed, many users report that THCV produces clear, focused, and energized effects in comparison to products dominant in delta-9-THC.
What are the potential benefits of CBC?
Cannabichromene or CBC is another minor cannabinoid that is receiving lots of attention within the research community. Like CBD, CBC does not produce any intoxicating effects, so while its recreational value may be limited, data suggests that CBC may possess some impressive medical benefits. Although much of the existing research around CBC is based on rodent models, the data is encouraging enough to justify future clinical trials in human models.
A non-exhaustive list of published research surrounding CBC:
What are the potential benefits of CBG?
Cannabigerol (CBG) has become another frequently discussed minor cannabinoid within the science world. CBG is the chemical precursor to all other cannabinoids and while it does not produce intoxicating effects, research data suggests that it may provide a litany of medical benefits. Mounting data around CBG’s potential medical impact has laid the groundwork for the justification of future clinical trials.
A non-exhaustive list of published research surrounding CBG:
What’s next for minor cannabinoids?
As the name suggests, minor cannabinoids are referred to as minor given the low concentration in which they are produced by the cannabis plant. However, thanks to advanced breeding techniques and data science, companies like Phylos are on the cusp of delivering production-ready genetics capable of producing cannabis plants that maintain higher concentrations of targeted minor cannabinoids — a new and exciting accomplishment for the cannabis industry.
Regarding their work pioneering minor cannabinoid genetics, Phylos Chief Scientific Officer and data scientist, Alisha Holloway says, “in light of the promising early work, our breeding R&D team has developed genetic markers to select for high THCV plants and we’ve developed several plants with 14%+ THCV that include other cannabinoids and 4%+ terpenes. We’re ready to see how our plants can help people!”
Market demand for the development of production-ready, minor cannabinoid-targeted plants is only expected to grow as future research and clinical trials continue to unravel the potential behind less-dominant cannabinoids.
If you are interested in more information about Phylos’ product development and their production-ready genetics, they can be contacted here and a member of the team will help answer any questions.