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What Are Phytocannabinoids?

When it comes to full spectrum hemp CBD oil, phytocannabinoid is a word you’ll see a lot of. But what are phytocannabinoids, exactly?  How are they different from cannabinoids? And what are those endocannabinoids you may have heard about? In this article, we’ll break all three down—and explore the phytocannabinoids in Rational Hemp’s full spectrum CBD oil.


First, let’s start with cannabinoids. These are a certain type of compound that can be found in both cannabis and in the human body. You’ll likely hear cannabinoid used as a blanket term for both, but if you want to distinguish between them, phyto- refers to the compounds found in the cannabis plant while endo- refers to the compounds found in the human body.

In the cannabis plant, phytocannabinoids are most concentrated in the flowering heads of the female plant. While tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is certainly the most well-known phytocannabinoid, more than 120 phytocannabinoids have been identified and structurally characterized—including cannabidiol (CBD).

The human body has what’s called the endogenous cannabinoid system, or endocannabinoid system for short. This system was named after the plant that led to its discovery… cannabis! Endocannabinoids and their receptors can be found all throughout the human body (particularly in our immune system, nervous system, and organs) and are responsible for regulating the body’s natural homeostasis. While the body’s system is designed to interact with its own endocannabinoids, it can also interact with phytocannabinoids.


Which phytocannabinoids are present in a particular cannabis plant depends on the plant’s specific strain—and it’s believed there are nearly 800 total strains! Two of the most important characteristics of any cannabis strain are the CBD content and the THC content.

The basic difference between marijuana and hemp is the balance of those two compounds. Recreational and medicinal marijuana contain higher levels of THC and lower levels of CBD, while hemp contains the opposite—high levels of CBD and negligible levels of THC. While marijuana produces a “high” due to high THC content, CBD products derived from hemp do not.

The CBD you’ll find in hemp plants is the same as the CBD in marijuana plants—the difference is in the concentration. If you are looking for the wellness benefits CBD offers, a hemp-based CBD product will likely be your best bet since it contains a higher concentration of that phytocannabinoid.


While some brands of CBD oil are isolate or broad spectrum, Rational Hemp products are full spectrum. CBD isolate contains only CBD, while broad spectrum CBD contains all naturally occurring compounds except THC. Also known as phytocannabinoid rich (PCR) hemp oil, full spectrum hemp CBD oil like Rational Hemp’s contains all the naturally occurring compounds found in the cannabis plant. Leaving the compounds intact produces what is commonly known as the “entourage effect.” Simply put, this means CBD works better in conjunction with other cannabinoids and terpenes (including some THC) rather than isolated, resulting in improved effectiveness and benefits.


Like terpenes, phytocannabinoids are unique and varied in their benefits. Research on their effectiveness is ongoing but it appears that individual phytocannabinoids can help support the body’s endocannabinoid system in specific ways.

Here are the phytocannabinoids in our most recent Certificate of Analysis (COA) from Kaycha Labs:

  • Cannabidiol (CBD) – A multitude of long-term medical and scientific studies are underway on the most recognizable phytocannabinoid, CBD. Anecdotal evidence points strongly to CBD helping with sleep, anxiety, chronic pain, skin conditions, inflammation and more.
  • CBD has been found to be effective in treating epilepsy syndromes and is the basis for the first FDA-approved CBD drug, Epidiolex.
  • Cannabigerol (CBG) – This phytocannabinoid is a strong vasodilator, has neuroprotective properties, and is believed to be effective in the treatment of glaucoma. It appears to be the most potent cannabinoid for inhibiting tumor growth, and studies suggest it may also have anti-inflammatory properties and act as a neuroprotectant against nerve cell degeneration.
  • Cannabichromene (CBC) – This phytocannabinoid binds with receptors in the body linked to pain perception. Studies suggest CBC is the second-most effective cannabinoid at inhibiting cancer cell growth as well as having anti-pain and anti-inflammatory properties (especially when used in combination with THC). Its effect on brain cells, acne, and depression is also being studied.
  • Cannabidvarin (CBDV) – CBDV has been found in some studies to reduce or prevent seizures in individuals with epilepsy and similar conditions. Studies are underway on CBDV’s effectiveness in treating other syndromes related to muscular spacticity and as an anti-nausea agent.
  • Cannabinol (CBN) – Human studies on this phytocannabinoid are limited to date, but initial findings suggest that CBN may have anti-bacterial, neuroprotectant, anti-inflammatory, and appetite stimulation properties. It is also being studied for its effectiveness in treating glaucoma.
  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – This phytocannabinoid is psychoactive and limited to 0.3% in CBD products legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill. Studies have shown THC to be an effective treatment for chronic pain, nausea and vomiting, and MS-related spasticity. Research into other potential benefits of THC is ongoing.

Phytocannabinoids, like terpenes, are most effective when allowed to produce an entourage effect—and that’s why we only sell full-spectrum CBD oil products. Give Rational Hemp’s Full Spectrum Hemp Extract a try today and benefit from all the naturally occurring compounds the hemp plant has to offer.

Rational Hemp is regulatory-compliant and contains trace levels of THC under 0.3%.  While we know of no instance where a drug test came back positive after using our Hemp Extract, we cannot guarantee this result. Speak to a physician before using CBD if you are pregnant, nursing, or taking prescription medications.

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