Tag Archives: Cannabis Compounds

Active Compounds of Cannabis

Cannabis contains over 500 distinct compounds, which include cannabinoids, flavonoids, nitrogenous compounds, amino acids, hydrocarbons, enzymes, terpenes, and more. 

These compounds altogether contribute to the unique pharmacological function.


Responsible for the aroma of cannabis and other flowering plants. Studies have shown terpenoids to have diverse physiologic effects, and Terpenes may be contributing to the observed effects of cannabis. 


Cannabinoids are fatty compounds unique to cannabis, they are the main biological active constituents of cannabis. The most well known cannabinoid is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Cannabinoids exert their effect on the body by binding to receptors, specifically cannabinoid receptors types 1 and 2. These receptors, together with endogenous cannabinoids and the systems for synthesis, transport, and degradation, are called the Endocannabinoid System.

Nitrogenous Compounds

Display enormous structural diversity, they also have varying degrees of substitution and oxidation. The most noteworthy of these naturally occurring molecules are proteins, and most vitamins and hormones. Notably, an important nitrogenous compound is NO. NO is responsible for vasodilation, healing atherosclerotic arteries and preventing new development of arterial plaque.

Amino Acids

All with the exception of asparagine cysteine glutamine hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine are represented in various cannabis strains. 

Proteins and Enzymes

Proteins: edestin and zeatin

Enzymes: zeatin nucleoside, edeatinase glucoside, polyphenol oxidase, peroxidase and adenosine-5-phsphatase

Sugar Hydrocarbons

monosaccharide, disaccharide, polysaccharide, cyclitol and aminosugars are present and allowing for chemical reactions to take place.

Alcohols, Aldehydes, Ketones and Acids

There are seven simple aliphatic alcohols ranging from C1 to C16

12 aldehydes C2-C13

13 ketones C3-C18

12 simple acids, Aliphatic and aromatic

Fatty Acids

Polyunsaturated fatty acid

Most abundant linoleic,oleic stearic palmitic acids

Esters and Lactones

Typically found twelve esters and one lactone (2-C) in cannabis.

Due to lactone’s low molecular weight it is associated with palmitic and linoleic acids.


Eleven phytosterols were identified in cannabis belonging to sitosterol campesterol and ergosterol types. Phytosterols are steroid-like plant compound and have an hormonal effect on the body.

Noncannabinoid Nonflavonoid phenol 

Phenolic compounds have been shown to have antioxidant properties, while the flavonoids in cannabis, in particular, are anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and may help prevent and treat cancer. Phenolic compounds also determine plant quality, including flavor and colour. The type of cannabis strain and the ratio of phenolic compounds, cannabinoids, and terpenes contribute to the potency and effects of the plant when consumed.


Flavonoids are not unique to cannabis. Researchers have identified thousands of them all throughout nature, however, there are some that are found only in cannabis. These are known as cannaflavins. Similar to terpenes, flavonoids play an important role in both plant survival and serve many therapeutic effects.

Vitamins and Pigment

Vitamin k carotene and xanthophylls are reported in cannabis.

Interestingly, more than 2000 compounds are produced by pyrolysis during smoking of cannabis

 The Whole Process

Smoking raw THC distillate by itself is a limited experience. It won’t help become creative or inspired.

Aside from the aforementioned benefits, adding terpenes can reduce the viscosity of distillate or cannabis oil.

Typically, companies will use about 3%-10% terpenes in their oil or distillate mixture, so the terpenes also can help stretch out and make your product go further.

As a product manufacturer, adding terpenes to your product saves you money and enhances your product.