Cannabinoids, Phenolics, Terpenes and the rest: How many compounds now?

    November 30, 2022 2 min read

    Cannabinoids, Phenolics, Terpenes and the rest: How many compounds now?

    Cannabis sativa is a complex mixture of secondary metabolites, consisting, as research continues, of ever-more cannabinoid and non-cannabinoid constituents. More than 500 compounds have been reported so far, of which 125 are cannabinoids – the C21 terpeno-phenolic compounds specific toCannabis– and the others are mostly phenols, flavonoids, terpenes, and alkaloids. In the last five years 12 new compounds had been isolated (five cannabinoids, one cannabispiran, three flavonoids, and three terpenes). 

    Because this constantly updated catalog of molecules is complicated, and because our blog posts at PureForm use this molecular vocabulary quite a lot, it would seem reasonable to lay it out in its present state, for the benefit of clarity in future posts. 

    Cannabinoids are a group of 125 compounds (so far) with the characteristic C21 terpenophenolic backbone. This nomenclature applies to parent cannabinoids, cannabinoid derivatives, and transformation products. These all divide into 11 cannabinoid sub-classes, of numerous compounds each, namely cannabichromene (CBC), cannabidiol (CBD), cannabielsoin (CBE), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabicyclol (CBL), cannabinol (CBN), cannabinodiol (CBND), cannabitriol (CBT), (−)-Δ8-trans-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ8-THC), (−)-Δ9-trans-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), and miscellaneous-type cannabinoids. Note, that when we speak of ‘CBD’ or ‘CBG’, or any of these, we refer to a subclass, of which there is actually a number of sub-sub-variants. There are 10 forms of CBD currently known, and 16 CBG’s. There are 29 Δ9-THC’s. 

    More than 400 non-cannabinoid constituents have been identified in the cannabis plant. Most of these classify as phenols, flavonoids, terpenes, or alkaloids.The phenols, of which there are 42, are mostlyspiro-indans, dihydrostilbenes, dihydrophenathrenes, or simple phenols.The flavonoids, numbering 34 at the moment, organize into seven basic chemical skeletons, that are methylated, glycosylated, prenylated, or geranylated. The seven aglycone flavonid structures are orientin, vitexin, isovitexin, apigenin, luteolin, kaempferol and quercetin.There are at least 120 terpenes, or ‘isoprenoids’, in cannabis. These compounds give the plant its smell. There are 61 structural monoterpenes, 51 sesquiterpenes, 2 diterpenes, and 2 triterpenes, and 4 others, unclassified yet.Only 2 alkaloids have been identified in cannabis sativa yet. 

    PureForm CBD™ is bioidentical to CBD extracted from hemp and cannabis but without residual cannabinoids like THC or any of the impurities or chemicals associated with plant-derived production processes. Our molecular assembly technique, that synthesizes CBD from aromatic terpenes instead of cannabis, assures you the food and pharmaceutical-grade quality that you need for quality-conscious customers. If you are interested in PureForm CBD™ or want to partner on any other of the 140+ known cannabinoids, please contact Damian Peters at310-666-4869, or email 

    The foregoing is a report on trends and developments in the cannabinoid industry. No product described herein is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or syndrome.