If THC and CBD are the salt and pepper of weed, rare cannabinoids are everything else. LEVEL's Chris Emerson, Ph.D. explains why you should try them all.
THCA, CBG, Delta-8, CBD. This is not a chemistry quiz answer but an ingredient list. With the exception of CBD, they’re all little-known, often-ignored cannabinoids that didn’t mean much to me when I tried LEVEL’s Hangover ProTabs for the first time. Sure, I’d read up on the pain-relieving properties of CBG and anti-anxiety benefits of THCA because being informed is part of my job. But even I could not have expected this cannabinoid cocktail to fundamentally alter my view of the plant—and rock my body in the process.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Like most fans of the herb, I’d only ever come across trace amounts of rare cannabinoids. They all showed up in fractions of a percent and tended to disappear behind the one cannabinoid we typically show up for, Delta-9 THC. Which is why, when LEVEL came out with concentrated amounts of rare compounds in pill format a couple years ago, I had to step back and ask myself: What was I missing by focusing on THC and CBD? I’d only recently figured out a balanced ratio of THC and CBD resulted in a far more relaxing high than I could get from consuming only one or the other. Little did I know, I was just scratching the surface.
“We wouldn’t be able to get to unique or different effects... if we were playing with the same cannabinoids.”
As LEVEL’s Chief Scientist and co-founder with a doctorate in small molecule chemistry, Chris Emerson, Ph.D. tends to take the small stuff seriously. “Most individuals who get the same training I do either go work for big pharma and do research for drug discovery,” Emerson told me over the phone, “or they manufacture drugs on a commercial scale.” And then there’s the third option in which they stay in the academic world and teach the next generation of chemists. As you can probably guess, Emerson chose a different route altogether. Between his training in chemistry and fascination with plants, he felt primed to do something unique with cannabis.