Cannabinoids Horticulture

Chemovars with High “Minor” Cannabinoids: Part 2

Written by Lance Griffin

Minor cannabinoids may be the future of cannabis/hemp cultivation. In part 1 of this series, we discussed chemovars that produce desirable but the uncommon minor cannabinoids cannabigerol (CBG) and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCv). Here, we’ll look at even less commonly available cannabinoids and the unique cultivars that maximize their production. Breeders, take note: these minor cannabinoids represent budding opportunities.

Cannabinol (CBN)

Cannabinol (CBN) is a degradation metabolite of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). [1] Although estimated at 90% less psychotropic than THC [2], CBN has demonstrated analgesic [3], antibacterial (against MRSA) [4], and appetite enhancement properties [5]. Combined with THC, it has been shown to promote sedation. [6] It is therefore a minor cannabinoid of interest.

Over-ripening cultivars with high THC is one strategy to increase CBN. [7] Although genetics targeting CBN are not generally available, Leafly reports that several chemovars generate higher levels naturally, namely Animal Cookies and Ace of Spades. CBN-rich hemp oil is also available.

Cannabichromene (CBC)

Cannabichromene (CBC) has been linked to antidepressant effects [8] and may boost adult neural stem progenitor cells [9], among other benefits. In the 1970s, researchers measured relatively large quantities (up to 64%) of CBC in landrace chemovars from different geographic regions. [10] Like cannabidiol (CBD) and THC, CBC is formed from cannabigerolic acid through its own synthase. [11]

Genetics for CBC have not been fully recaptured, but some chemovars with above-average levels include William’s Wonder (1.1%), Psycho Crack (0.9%), and 3 Kings (0.461%).

Cannabidivarin (CBDv)

Cannabidivarin (CBDv) is a CBD homologue with potentially therapeutic anticonvulsant properties. [12] GW Pharmaceuticals holds a patent on its use for treatment of “epilepsy and specifically for the control of generalised or temporal lobe seizures.”

Cannabis landrace plants from India (specifically, so called “indica” phenotypes) have been found to contain notable levels of CBDv. [13] Today, Elite Seeds produces Sedativa CBDv:CBD with one of the highest ratios of CBDv on the market (7:8).

As we know, cultivators have emphasized THC for some years. But the power to dial genetics toward minor cannabinoids and convert them into major cannabinoids may define the next generation of great cannabis cultivators.


  1. Ross SA, Elsohly MA. “CBN and D9-THC Concentration Ratio as an Indicator of the Age of Stored Marijuana Samples.” Bulletin on Narcotics, vol.49, no.1, 1997, pp.139-147. Times Cited = 36 (ResearchGate).
  2. Hosking RD, Zajicek JP. “Therapeutic Potential of Cannabis in Pain Medicine.” BJA, vol. 101, no. 1, 2008, pp.59-68. Journal Impact Factor = 6.199, Times Cited = 85 (ResearchGate)
  3. Zygmunt PM, et al. “Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabinol Activate Capsaicin-Sensitive Sensory Nerves via a CB1and CB2 Cannabinoid Receptor-Independent Mechanism.” The Journal of Neuroscience, vol.22, no.11, pp.4720-4727. Journal Impact Factor = 6.074, Times Cited = 98 (ResearchGate)
  4. Appendino G, et al. “Antibacterial Cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa: A Structure-Activity Study.” Journal of Natural Products, vol.71, no.8, 2008. Journal Impact Factor = 4.257, Times Cited = 204 (ResearchGate)
  5. Farrimond JA, et al. “Cannabinol and Cannabidiol Exert Opposing Effects on Rat Feeding Patterns.” Psychopharmacology, vol.223, no.1, 2012, pp.117-29. Journal Impact Factor = 3.434, Times Cited = 24 (ResearchGate)
  6. Russo EB. “Taming THC: Potential Cannabis Synergy and Phytocannabinoid-Terpenoid Entourage Effects.” British Journal of Pharmacology, vol.163, 2011, pp.1344-1364. Journal Impact Factor = 6.583, Times Cited = 455 (ResearchGate)
  7. Clarke RC. Marijuana Botany: An Advanced Study: The Propagation and Breeding of Distinctive Cannabis, 1981, Google Books.
  8. El-Alfy AT, et al. “Antidepressant-like Effect of Delta9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and Other Cannabinoids Isolated from Cannabis sativa L.” Pharmacol Biochem Behav, vol.95, no.4, pp.434-442. Journal Impact Factor = 2.781, Times Cited = 122 (ResearchGate)
  9. Shinjyo N and V. Di Marzo. “The Effect of Cannabichromene on Adult Neural Stem Progenitor Cells.” Neurochem Int, vol.63, no.5, pp.432-7. Journal Impact Factor = 3.262, Times Cited = 29 (ResearchGate)
  10. Holley JH, et al. “Constituents of Cannabis sativa L. XI: Cannabidiol and Cannabichromene in Samples of Known Geographical Origin.” Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, vol.64, no.5, 1975, pp.892-895. Journal Impact Factor = 3.197, Times Cited = 64 (ResearchGate)
  11. De Meijer EPM, et al. “The Inheritance of Chemical Phenotype in Cannabis sativaGenetics, vol.163, 2003, pp.335-346. Journal Impact Factor = 4.075, Times Cited = 164 (ResearchGate)
  12. Hill TDM, et al. “Cannabidivarin‐Rich Cannabis Extracts Are Anticonvulsant in Mouse and Rat Via a CB1Receptor‐Independent Mechanism.” BJP, vol.170, no.3, 2013. Journal Impact Factor = 6.81, Times Cited = 96 (ResearchGate)
  13. Hillig KW and PG Mahlberg. “A Chemotaxonomic Analysis of Cannabinoid Variation in Cannabis (Cannabaceae).” American Journal of Botany, vol.91, no.6, 2004, pp.966-975. Journal Impact Factor = 2.788, Times Cited = 171 (ResearchGate)

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Lance Griffin


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