What exactly is it that makes marijuana work the way it does? THC is by far the best-known and most psychoactive of cannabis’s unique chemical compounds —called “cannabinoids”— but the plant also contains a bunch of other initials… CBD, CBN, CBG, THC-A and 80 more cannabinoids worth knowing, each with its own distinct medicinal benefits.

Fortunately, most retail cannabis shops now display THC and CBD percentages for the strains they sell, and in the very near future, a whole range of cannabis-based supplements will probably be available, with a far greater selection of cannabinoid blends, each designed to boost specific functions in the body.

For now, here’s a primer on the key compounds to keep in mind so you can seek out the herb that best suits your needs.

THC – or Tetrahydrocannabinol

If you only know one cannabinoid, it’s definitely THC, and with good reason. Other cannabinoids have medicinal/therapeutic properties, after all, but none of them make music sound better, and ice cream taste better, like THC. One of the safest therapeutic substances known to man, it’s proven to help treat and even prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s, MS, and many other serious conditions. Also, it can get you high as fuck.

Listen to the full segment from David Bienenstock, the author of The Official High Times Pot Smokers Handbook.