CBD - A Gateway Drug To Novel Cannabinoids

By Nick Warrender, CEO of Lifted Made


Cannabis is meant to be shared; and hemp-derived “Novel Cannabinoids” is one of the best ways to do it, fueling dramatic market growth while offering patients and consumers a myriad of new options.  And options can save lives. I’m living proof. 

Like so many entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry, my journey began with illness.  At 17, I was a talented basketball player with NBA aspirations.  With division I options finally on the horizon, my family decided to celebrate years of collective dedication to my dream with a family cruise to Belize.  

Within minutes of docking our ship and exiting the cruise, I was kidnapped and locked up in one of the world’s most dangerous prisons, infested with disease, human waste, and insects I had never seen before.  I spent a week there, before a series of truly serendipitous events led to my rescue and release.  Not only was that week nothing short of existentially terrifying, but it also changed the trajectory of my life.  Upon my return home, I developed a degenerative auto-immune disease unknown to Western medicine and likely contracted while in prison. Unable to do the most basic tasks, let alone dribble a ball, I was forced to trade in my scholarship for years in and out of a hospital bed.  

At 24, my fate would once again take another dramatic and unexpected turn. I was living with caretakers, my parents, when a friend introduced me to CBD, a hemp-derived phytocannabinoid, which at the time, was still relatively unknown to the masses. I don’t think I can put into words what it is like to have exhausted modern medicine and then be literally brought back to life, Lazarus style.  I’m not a religious man per se, but my experience of rebirth was completely transformative which is why today, I have full “faith” in cannabinoid science, specifically the science around both classical cannabinoids, such as Δ9- Tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta 9 THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD), and what has recently emerged within our contemporary lexicon as “Novel Cannabinoids” (NCs), synthesized derivatives expanding the spectrum of cannabinoids to new heights and new effects. 

Like many CBD consumers, I was an early adopter of hemp-derived Novel Cannabinoids. According to the Brightfield Group, consumers who are most likely to purchase Novel Cannabinoid products have an extensive history of CBD use, which makes sense. Being comfortable and familiar with CBD through experience, we are more open to trying emerging Novel Cannabinoids and less deterred by the word, “synthesized.”  And why should we be deterred? Plant-based, synthetic and semi-synthetic compounds are nothing new, but rather innovative and disruptive staples of modern life. 

Today, more than 50% of pharmaceuticals are synthetically derived from plant-based compounds as active ingredients. Aspirin is a semi-synthetic product derived from the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum), and from willow bark. Apomorphine is a semi-synthetic morphine derivative used in Parkinson's disease; the drug Amoxycilliin is a semi-synthetic penicillin derived from P. chrysogenum and P. rubens; and then there’s Dronabinol, a synthetic derivative of the cannabis plant sativa L. (which hemp is) prescribed as an appetite stimulant and antiemetic for AIDS patients as well as those undergoing chemotherapy.  In short, plants are some of the most critical natural resources we have, and thanks to the science of plant synthetic biology and organic chemistry, we now have ways to safely and effectively produce a wealth of therapeutic phytochemicals, like Novel Cannabinoids.

One of the first NCs CP 55,940 actually developed by Pfizer in 1974 and was found to be around 45 times more potent than THC.  Another form of THC, which has gained incredible national popularity in the last couple of years is called Δ8- Tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-8 THC) and was achieved in 1965 by Raphael Mechoulam, the “father of cannabis” who first isolated CBD and THC, in 1963 and 1964, at Hebrew University.  

Like Delta-9-THC, Delta-8-THC occurs naturally in hemp in very low quantities. Mechoulam discovered that Delta-8-THC can also exist as a CBD isomer, meaning the compounds that comprise the CBD molecule can be easily rearranged to create Delta-8-THC through a process called “isomerization.” CBD isolate is combined with a solvent acid and heat, converting it to Delta-9-THC; after 72 hours, over half of the material oxidizes to then become Delta-8-THC.  Interestingly, it’s this oxidation or degradation which makes Delta-8 produce its noticeably milder and substantially different “high” than its close relative, Delta-9-THC.  

Overall, Novel Cannabinoids have more than 60 years of real research behind them, showing that they can be easily and safely produced by credible, third-party labs as well as tested for efficacy and purity.  The implication is massive:  for example, THC-V, a rare cannabinoid shown to work towards appetite and panic attack suppression, is found in higher concentrations within cannabis strains from specific parts of the world, including the south part of the continent of Africa. If we were to synthesize it as a hemp-derived Novel Cannabinoid, we could make it much more accessible to the greater populace via a more cost-effective and highly sustainable methodology. 

With the easing of legal and regulatory restrictions sweeping across the country, science is finally discovering and rediscovering the great potential that cannabinoids and their novel derivatives hold for human health and wellness… all with hemp-derived CBD as the proverbial “gateway.”  


Nick Warrender is the founder and CEO of Lifted Made, a national purveyor of sustainably sourced, third party lab tested, childproof, hemp-derived cannabinoid products.

Posted In: CBDcontributorsNovel CannabinoidsCannabisMarkets

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