Medicinal cannabis plant


The cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant

Phytocannabinoids are cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant. The phytocannabinoids are most concentrated in the glandular trichomes (hairy outgrowths) of the flowering heads of the female plant. 

What are phytocannabinoids?

The most abundant phytocannabinoids found in the cannabis plant are ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is responsible for the psychoactive effects of street cannabis, whereas CBD is non-psychoactive.

In addition to THC and CBD, our research includes the study of other cannabinoids. These include:

  • THC-acid (THCA)
  • CBD-acid (CBDA)
  • Cannabigerol (CBG)
  • Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA)
  • Cannabichromene (CBC)
  • Cannabichromenolic acid (CBCA)
  • Cannabichromevarin (CBCV)
  • Cannabichromevarinolic acid (CBCVA)
  • Cannabidivarin (CBDV)
  • Cannabidivarinolic acid (CBDVA), and
  • Cannabinol (CBN)

Most street cannabis has high THC content, with a low CBD content, whereas some strains of industrial hemp have high CBD content, but negligible THC content. Different strains of cannabis have varying concentrations of all the different types of cannabinoids. Although many are in trace quantities, these cannabinoids should not be ignored. Many therapeutic drugs have been discovered in plants even though they were only present in trace quantities, for example the anti-cancer drug vinblastine was discovered in trace quantities in the Madagascan periwinkle.

For more detail on the THC and CBD content of street cannabis, read the Analysis of Cannabis Seizures in NSW, Australia: Cannabis Potency and Cannabinoid Profile.