Basic Cannabinoid Chemistry

Essentially: CBD (cannabidiol),CBG (cannabigerol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are all phyto-cannabinoids.
That is to say they are cannabinoids produced in the cannabis plant.


Cannabis flowers are rich with specialized crystals called trichomes. To the naked eye trichomes look like sugar granules, sprinkled bountifully onto the flower buds. The trichomes contain cannabinoids, terpenes and as well as other phytonutrients.

There are several different types of trichomes:

  • bulbous trichomes – low and much smaller in appearance
  • sessile trichomes – consist of a globular head poised on a short stalk
  • stalked trichomes – possess a larger globular head sitting on a long stalk

It is worthy of note that, different cultivated varieties (AKA cultivars), of the cannabis plant, contain different concentrations of cannabinoids. At the present time scientists have identified at least 113 different cannabinoids in different cannabis plants.

New London Gold Trichomes

Close-Up Flower Bud

Look at the trichomes. Pay attention to the 'stalks' with 'globes' on them. Observe diligently, you'll also see some trichomes without globes, that resemble hairs..

Chemical Structure of CBD, CBG and THC


(Above) The Chemical Structure of Three Frequently Referenced Cannabinoids

Federal and State Cannabinoid Complexities:

While multiple cannabinoids can co-exist in one cannabis plant, governmental adopted nomenclature to describe the classification of cannabinoids is a little more complex.

Federally compliant hemp contains CBD, or CBG or other cannabinoids, however, THC can only make up 0.03% or less of the cannabinoid total.

At the state-level government (here in NY), adult-use cannabis contains THC at much higher levels than hemp. This is not to say that adult-use cannabis only contains THC. To clarify, many cultivars of the adult-use cannabis may contain other cannabinoids too, i.e. that can also include CBD, CBG, CBN etc…

Adult-use cannabis AKA THC is not legal in many states.

At the time of writing: States where adult-use cannabis is legal for recreational purposes include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

At the time of writing: States that include legal medical THC use of varying degrees include: Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.