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The top 3 things you should know about CBN (Cannabinol)

The top 3 things you should know about CBN (Cannabinol)

 

1 – What is CBN?

CBN is a cannabinoid produced by the cannabis plant.  Like CBG and CBC, CBN is considered a ‘minor’ cannabinoid relative to THC and CBD which get the majority of the press visibility.

CBN is produced through the breakdown of THC either in the plant or after extraction from the plant.  Post-extraction, CBN is created through the natural degradation process that takes place when THC is exposed to certain conditions like high temperatures or improper storage that extends over a long period of time.

CBN occurs in relatively small levels in the cannabis plant – typically less than 1%.  

 

2 – What does CBN do?

CBN has a lower affinity for CB1 and CB2 receptors than some other cannabinoids such as THC, having a slightly higher affinity to CB2 receptors than CB1.  In simple terms, this means CBN has some similar benefits to THC but at lower levels while CBN also has its own potential benefits.

While CBN does not have psychoactive effects, it has been shown to increase feelings of dizziness and drowsiness when combined with THC.   Alone, however, CBN does not have psychoactive or physiological effects.  Nevertheless, when consuming CBN products, it is advisable to exercise caution until the user understands how this particular cannabinoid effects them.

 

 

3 – Studied effects of CBN

As with most of the medical information available on cannabis products, the benefits of CBN demand further research.  The studies that are available are pre-clinical, and are not sufficient for users to treat, diagnose, or cure any disorder or disease.  The safety and efficacy of CBN has not yet been proven in humans. Nevertheless, the medical information that is available appears to be promising:

  • CBN may have strong antibacterial effects, like other cannabinoids including CBG, CBD, and THC.
  • CBN may have anti-inflammatory effects based on its ability to modulate the endocannabinoid system, interact directly with certain immune cells, and alter levels of some compounds that produce inflammation. 
  • CBN may have strong pain relieving effects, thanks to the release of peptides from nerves which may act to decrease pain sensations.  
  • CBN may have sedative effects, but research is inconclusive.
  • CBN may have vasorelaxation effects, meaning it may cause relaxation of blood vessel walls, leading to a drop in blood pressure.

 

While more research is needed before CBN can be considered for use as a treatment, the early evidence is encouraging.

The top 3 things you should know about CBG (Cannabigerol)

The top 3 things you should know about CBG (Cannabigerol)

 

1 – What is CBG?

 

CBG was first identified in the 1960’s, at the same time that researchers began to identify other cannabinoids including CBD, THC, and CBC.  CBG is created by the cannabis plant when it is converted from the acidic version of CBG, called CBGA. It was later discovered that CBGA is the precursor to THCA, CBDA, CBCA, and other acidic cannabinoids, which in turn are converted into THC, CBD, CBC, and other cannabinoids.   

As a result of most CBGA being converted to other acidic cannabinoids, CBG is usually not found in high concentrations in cannabis plants.  To isolate CBG for inclusion in product development, cannabis plants are harvested prior to blossoming, before the CBGA is converted to other compounds

2 – What does CBG do?


CBG is a partial agonist of both CB1 and CB2 type cannabinoid receptors, meaning it interacts broadly with the endocannabinoid system.  A study in 2011 found that CBG is effective at increasing anandamide levels.  Anandamide is one of the body’s naturally produced cannabinoids which is responsible for modulating physiological functions including sleep, appetite, and memory.  Another study, conducted in 1975, found evidence working with rats that CBG is more effective than either CBD or THC at inhibiting update of GABA.  GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) is a compound found in the brain that is important because of its role in regulating neuron activity. CBG was shown in a 2009 study to potentially block serotonin receptors. Additional research is needed to better understand the implications of these studies, but they are a promising foundation for future research.  

Most importantly, CBG is non-psychoactive, meaning it will not get you high.  In fact, like CBD, CBG is believed to counter the psychoactive effects of THC.  CBG may however interact with other cannabinoids, including THC, to alter the way they impact the body via an effect commonly referred to as the entourage effect.    

 

3 – Studied effects of CBG


As with most of the medical information available on Cannabis products, the benefits of CBG demand further research.  The studies that are available are pre-clinical, and are not sufficient for users to treat, diagnose, or cure any disorder or disease.  The safety and efficacy of CBG have not yet been proven in humans. Nevertheless, the medical information that is available appears to be promising:

  • A 2016 study  found that CBG may be effective at relieving symptoms of anxiety.

  • A 2008 study found that CBG may be a more potent analgesic than THC or CBD.

  • A 2011 study found that CBG may act similarly to some pharmaceutical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) by acting as a COX-2 inhibitor.

  • A 2015 study found that CBG may be an effective neuroprotectant in animal models, specifically when tested in relation to Huntington’s Disease. 

  • A 2007 study found at CBG may be effective at interacting with cannabinoid receptors found in the skin, and may play a role in modulating symptoms of psoriasis.

While more research is needed before CBG can be considered for use as a treatment, the early evidence is encouraging.

The most important things you should know about CBD (Cannabidiol) before you try

The most important things you should know about CBD (Cannabidiol) before you try

 

What is CBD?

 

The cannabis plant contains more than 100 naturally-produced cannabinoids called phytocannabinoids (phyto for plant).  Next to THC, CBD is the most commonly found compound in the cannabis plant; it’s found at its highest levels in the hemp varietals of the cannabis plant.  CBD provides many of the therapeutic benefits of THC without producing a psychoactive “high” like THC is known to do. CBD is fat-soluble and most effectively administered through ingestion in fats like oil or butters.

 

What is the endocannabinoid system (ECS)?

 

CBD works in humans by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS).  The ECS is a neurotransmitter system that uses cannabinoid receptors to provide a chemical messaging pathway in the brain and body.  The ECS serves as a modulator of other neurotransmitter systems, helping the body reach and maintain homeostasis. By helping the body maintain homeostasis, the ECS influences mood, pain sensation, inflammation response, memory, and movement.   To read more about the ECS, see our post here.  

 

How does CBD affect your body?

 

CBD interacts with both CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system.  CBD has also been shown to interact, via endocannabinoid signalling, with serotonin receptors, opioid receptors, and receptors responsible for modulating inflammation (TPVR-1).  New research shows that CBD may interact with a receptor in the brain related to reward called GPR55. 

 

Contraindications

 

CBD has been shown to inhibit the P-450 enzyme system.  This system is responsible for breaking down drugs that are processed in the liver (hepatic drugs).  When this system is inhibited, drugs that are processed by the system may be metabolized more slowly.  Always consult a medical professional before changing or adding to your medical regimen.

 

Studied effects of CBD

 

As with most of the medical information available on Cannabis products, the benefits of CBD demand further research.  The studies that are available are pre-clinical, and are not sufficient for users to treat, diagnose, or cure any disorder or disease.  The safety and efficacy of CBD have not yet been proven in humans. Nevertheless, the medical information that is available is promising:

 

  • CBD may have anti-inflammatory effects by modulating, through the ECS, systems that lead to inflammation and pain resulting from inflammation.
  • CBD may reduce pain; a scholastic review of the results of 18 published trials revealed a “significant analgesic effect of cannabinoids as compared to placebo.”
  • CBD may reduce feelings of anxiousness; a double-blind study of 57 men participating in public speaking found that the correct dose of CBD may significantly reduce anxiety while speaking.
  • CBD has shown anti-depressant effects in mice, as measured using tests applied to other potential anti-depressants.
  • CBD may have neuroprotective properties, and has been shown to improve neurological plasticity and health.



CBD and Pets

 

Because CBD is non-psychoactive, it is generally considered safe for use with pets.  To date, there are no reports of toxic effects when using CBD with pets. The metabolism and effectiveness of CBD with pets are reported to be largely similar to humans.  There are, however, some differences in the metabolism of CBD in pets that are not yet fully understood.

Pet owners have reported using CBD to help pets suffering from symptoms of inflammation, pain, arthritis, and epiliptic seizures.  CBD has also been reported to help pets with symptoms of separation anxiety, loud noises and other anxiety-inducing environmental changes.

While research into the safety and efficacy of CBD with pets is ongoing, it is recommended that you consult your veterinarian before changing your pet’s dietary or medical regimen.

3 Types of Cannabinoids You Should Know About (it’s not just CBD)

3 Types of Cannabinoids You Should Know About (it’s not just CBD)

You work too hard but never hard enough.  You don’t drink enough water but way too much caffeine.  You don’t get enough sleep but still can’t fall asleep. Sound familiar?  It’s no wonder that we can feel less than our best even when we are “living our best lives.”  And let’s face it: prescription drugs or medication are not always the answer.

We’re looking for solutions at every turn.  Americans spent almost $43 billion on dietary supplements in 2018, often aimed at correcting an imbalance in the digestive or neurological system.  Millions turn to yoga, meditation, or mindfulness to create that mind-body connection. Others invest in the latest advancements in sleep technology to find rest — sleep trackers, ambient noise machines, high tech pillows and mattresses.

Balance is the key to good health.  A mix of fresh fruits & vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains makes for a balanced diet.  A healthy rotation of exercises at the gym makes sure you don’t have Popeye arms and toothpick legs.  Even your skin needs balance — balanced pH levels ensure your skin is not too oily or too dry and irritated.

Finding balance in our bodies can feel elusive.  Enter: The Endocannabinoid System.

What is the Endocannabinoid System?

Graphic of the human body

The endocannabinoid system (or ECS for short) serves as the modulator of other neurotransmitter systems in your body.  It is the only bi-directional neurotransmitter system we have. This means that while your synapses (remember those from high school biology?) fire in one direction to send messages, your ECS creates and transmits compounds — called cannabinoids — that return those signals, creating a feedback loop and improving connections between your neurons.

(You might be thinking, Why didn’t I learn about the ECS in the same high school biology lesson as those synapses?  As it turns out, the ECS was not discovered until the early 1990s when scientists first began investigating why and how compounds from the cannabis plant impact our body.  More on that in “The History and Uses of Cannabis.”

What are cannabinoids?

Endocannabinoids are the natural compounds your body produces (endo = internal).  Sometimes your body doesn’t produce enough which may result in physiological or emotional effects.  To counteract this deficiency, many look to phytocannabinoids (phyto = plants) to supplement their own production and find more balance.  Cannabinoids are found in the cannabis plant, otherwise known as hemp. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the regulated production of hemp in the US, which is why you have likely started to see and hear about hemp- or cannabis-related products pop up all around you.

We still have a lot to learn about the different types of cannabinoids, but there are a few things we know for sure.  While CBD has been identified as the most important cannabinoid other than THC, there are many others (over 100+ have been identified).  Often referred to as ‘minor cannabinoids’, these other types of cannabinoids are important in their own right. Here are the 4 cannabinoids you should know about, starting with the big kahuna.

#1 CBD – the “Hero” cannabinoid

Cannabis plant

People report a variety of physiological and emotional benefits associated with the use of CBD.  

  • Reduced feelings of anxiety
  • Improved ability to navigate stressful situations
  • Improved quality of sleep
  • Reduced symptoms of inflammation from daily environmental and physical stressors
  • May help reduce localized pain symptoms, particularly when applied topically
  • Reduced discomfort in pets (yes, pets!) due to age or stress-related symptoms

Note:  If you are struggling with chronic anxiety disorder or chronic inflammation, please consult your medical professional before starting any new regiment.

#2 CBG – a “minor” cannabinoid that is gaining major interest

The studies on CBG are pre-clinical, but there is evidence that CBG has several benefits via different physiological pathways than CBD, like:

  • CBG regulates mood via ability to boost anandamide, the body’s natural ‘bliss’ molecule
  • Reduces symptoms of inflammation from daily environmental and physical stressors
  • Reduces symptoms of anxiousness by acting as a GABA reuptake inhibitor
  • Potentially acts as a neuroprotectant
  • Potentially acts as a vasodilator
  • Has anti-bacterial attributes when applied topically 

 

#3 CBN – another minor cannabinoid often called the “Sleep Cannabinoid”

custom cbd oil belnds

A minor cannabinoid, CBN Is gaining lots of attention and often called the “sleep cannabinoid.”  Studies are also pre-clinical, but there is evidence that CBN has several benefits, such as:

  • CBN may act as a sedative
  • Has anti-bacterial attributes when applied topically
  • Can reduce pain symptoms

As you can see, there is more than just knowing about CBD when it comes to understanding the power of the cannabis plant.  While more research is needed to understand the full benefits and possible side effects of the wide variety of phytocannabinoids, early indicators are promising and explain why the CBD world is accelerating so quickly.  We are not yet at the point where anyone should rely on cannabinoids to treat or cure any chronic conditions or illnesses. That said, cannabinoids can be a powerful tool in your toolbox — particularly if you are looking for non-traditional forms of relief.  If you are currently on a medical regiment, please consult with your doctor before adding to or changing your routine.

NEEDED Blends provides tailored CBD, CBG and CBN blends to meet a wide variety of needs.

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$3M In Federal Grants Awarded: Big Win For The Support Of CBD Research

$3m in Federal Grants Awarded: Big win for the support of cbd Research

$3M in Federal grants awarded to study CBD, minor cannabinoids, and terpenes for pain-relieving properties.

On September 19 2019, The Federal Government awarded $3M across nine grants to support the study of cannabinoids including CBD (but excluding THC).  The studies funded include a grant to the Children’s Hospital of Boston to study CBD-mediated analgesic effects, and a grant to University of California, San Francisco, to study the effects of minor cannabinoids on inflammatory and neuropathic pain.  The grants are funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  

What is the goal of the studies?

The studies will focus on the mechanisms of action and potential optimization of CBD and other minor cannabinoids as well as terpenes found in the cannabis plant. The goal is to “strengthen the evidence regarding cannabis components and whether they have potential roles in pain management” according to the NIH press release.

The press release makes a point of noting the limited potential use cases for THC’s demonstrated pain relieving abilities due to its “psychoactive effects and abuse potential”.  There are more than 110 cannabinoids and 120 terpenes found in the cannabis plant, the release notes, but THC is the only cannabinoid that has been studied extensively to date.

Lab tested CBD Oil

What does this mean for CBD users?

This is yet another step towards a deeper understanding of how we can treat persistent symptoms of pain through non-traditional remedies rather than chemical or pharmaceutical approaches.  “The treatment of chronic pain has relied heavily on opioids, despite their potential for addiction and overdose and the fact that they often don’t work well when used on a long-term basis,” said Helene Langevin, M.D., director of NCCIH. “There’s an urgent need for more effective and safer options.”

Want to learn more?  Scroll for a list of all of the grants.

Here is a full summary of the grants awarded to study minor cannabinoids and terpenes for potential pain-relieving properties:

  • Mechanism and Optimization of CBD-Mediated Analgesic Effects; Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston; Zhigang He, Ph.D., B.M., and Kuan Hong Wang, Ph.D. This project will investigate how the pain-relieving effects of cannabidiol (CBD) and other minor cannabinoids may be modulated by the activity of potassium-chloride cotransporter 2 (KCC2), a chloride extruder expressed in most neurons. (Grant 1R01AT010779)
  • Neuroimmune Mechanisms of Minor Cannabinoids in Inflammatory and Neuropathic Pain; University of California, San Francisco; Judith Hellman, M.D., and Mark A. Schumacher, M.D., Ph.D. This project will explore the effects of minor cannabinoids on inflammatory and neuropathic pain in vitro and in vivo, focusing on the interactions of the cannabinoids with the peripheral receptor called TRPV1 and a cannabinoid receptor, CB1R. (Grant 1R01AT010757)
  • Minor Cannabinoids and Terpenes: Preclinical Evaluation as Analgesics; Research Triangle Institute, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina; Jenny L. Wiley, Ph.D. This project will evaluate purified biosynthesized minor cannabinoids and selected terpenes alone and in planned combinations to determine their potential efficacy as pain relievers against acute thermal, inflammatory, neuropathic, and visceral pain. (Grant 1R01AT010773)
  • Identifying the Mechanisms of Action for CBD on Chronic Arthritis Pain; New York University School of Medicine, New York City; Yu-Shin Ding, Ph.D. This project will use neuroimaging studies and behavioral assessments to investigate the mechanisms of action of CBD in the modulation of chronic pain associated with osteoarthritis in a mouse model. (Grant 1R21AT010771)
  • Synthetic Biology for the Chemogenetic Manipulation of Pain Pathways; University of Texas, Austin; Andrew Ellington, Ph.D. This project will use a novel method to evolve individual variants of cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2) that interact with high affinity with minor cannabinoids and evaluate the new variants in a mouse model of pain. (Grant 1R21AT010777)
  • Exploring the Mechanisms Underlying the Analgesic Effect of Cannabidiol Using Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy; University of Utah, Salt Lake City; Deborah A. Yurgelun-Todd, Ph.D. This project will use proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) to evaluate changes in brain chemistry in critical pain-processing regions after short-term administration of a cannabis extract enriched in CBD. (Grant 1R21AT010736)
  • Mechanistic Studies of Analgesic Effects of Terpene Enriched Extracts from Hops; Emory University, Atlanta; Cassandra L. Quave, Ph.D. This project will take a multidisciplinary approach to investigate the analgesic effects of terpenes from Humulus lupulus (hops), a plant that is closely related to cannabis and has a very similar terpene profile. (Grant 1R21AT010774) 
  • Systematic Investigation of Rare Cannabinoids With Pain Receptors; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; David Sarlah, Ph.D. This project involves synthesizing several classes of rare phytocannabinoids, systematically evaluating their anti-inflammatory potential, and examining the effects of the compounds with the strongest anti-inflammatory potential on the major receptors involved in pain sensation. (Grant 1R21AT010761)

Analgesic efficacy of single and combined minor cannabinoids and terpenes; Temple University, Philadelphia; Sara J. Ward, Ph.D. This project will use rodent models of pain to evaluate the effects of four biologically active components of cannabis that may act synergistically to protect against pain development and to assess the interactions of these four substances with morphine. (Grant 1R01AT010778)

At NEEDED Blends, we are always researching the latest news and updates in the CBD industry as we seek to provide the highest quality and custom tailored CBD, CBG and CBN blends formulated to meet a wide variety of needs.

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The Importance of Product Testing

The Importance of Product Testing

The Importance of Cannabinoid Lab Testing

Responsible cannabis product manufacturers provide the public with test results that validate both the contents of the product, and the safety and purity of the product.  Cannabinoid concentration (i.e., 850mg/30ml) is very important in helping patients understand how to control the dosage of a product in order to use cannabis products safely. These tests can also help customers ensure they are getting what they pay for. If a product is marketing as a 750mg CBD product, it’s important that the manufacturer of the product support that claim with test results.

In addition to cannabinoid content testing, manufacturers must provide contaminant testing results as well. Cannabis is susceptible to anything from pests and pesticides to mold and mildew. Frequent testing is not required by the FDA, but it is critical that cannabis products are regularly tested for contaminants to ensure the safety of the products for consumers.

Potential Cannabis Contaminants:

⦁ Pathogenic fungi can grow on the plant during the harvest and curing phase, and are toxic and carcinogenic when ingested.
⦁ As there are no regulatory guidelines for the use of pesticides, there is no way to determine what a ‘safe’ pesticide concentration level is. Further, because the cannabis plant is often concentrated (for oils and other delivery mechanisms), there is a risk of high levels of pesticide contamination
⦁ Solvents are used in the extraction process of oil from cannabis plant matter. They should not be present in the final product, regardless of what extraction process is used.
⦁ The cannabis plant is extremely efficient at absorbing heavy metals from the soil it’s grown in. In fact, the cannabis plant has been researched as a tool for cleaning up environmental sites with excessive heavy metal soil content. Cannabis products should be tested for heavy metals that might be absorbed by the plant as it grows.

Having sufficient lab testing results for all these areas is critical in maintaining the health of the cannabis industry as well as the health of the consumers it serves.

General Safety

People who are relying on cannabis products as part of their daily routine should be able to depend that they can safely take the product with a high degree of certainty.  Regardless of a persons reason for taking a cannabis product, there is a reasonable expectation that the products you are using will be free from carcinogens, pesticides and other harmful toxins. When independent scientific lab testing is done, there is a higher guarantee that the product you are receiving is safe, correctly labeled, and containing the right dosage.

Independent Lab Testing

As there are no regulations that require frequent testings, it is the responsibility of the cannabis industry to ensure that the products are safe for consumers. The testing and results conducted by professionals at independent labs are crucial in the ongoing health and success of the cannabis industry. With cannabis products emerging as a highly competitive market, making sure that the products you receive are quality tested is essential.

Testing helps to analyze the safety, effectiveness and quality of the cannabis products. Some areas that are analyzed are:
⦁ The potency of the cannabis product to determine the exact amount of cannabinoids present
⦁ That the product is free of residual solvents or chemicals used in the extraction process
⦁ That the product is free of pesticides sometimes used in the growing process

We guarantee that all of our products are free from harmful contaminants and undergo frequent testing to ensure that you are receiving the best quality product available. Want to see the lab results of your product?

Click on our TEST RESULTS page above to find the test result for the batch number listed on your product.

How Medical Hemp Works

How Cannabis and Cannabinoids Work

The cannabis plant produces a variety of compounds known as cannabinoids. These cannabinoids are chemical compounds that are able to activate cannabinoid receptors throughout the body of all complex living organisms, including humans.

Cannabinoids can be produced in one of two ways, either internally by the body, or externally by plants. Endocannabinoids, and the endocannabinoid system (ECS) are cannabinoids and receptors that are naturally produced by the body. Phytocannabinoids are cannabinoids that are produced by plants.

Researchers have identified over 120 cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant. Of these, less than 50 are produced by the plant in significant amounts. Most of them are present at very low levels, making it difficult for scientists to accurately detect them.

It is a mistake to assume that a single cannabinoid, like THC, is the ‘best’ or ‘most beneficial’ medically. The varying effects of cannabis-based medicinal products, including those that contain THC and those that do not, is due to the varying levels of different cannabinoids and other chemicals produced by the cannabis plant.

The Relationship between Cannabinoids and Terpenes

Terpenes are another set of compounds naturally found in the cannabis plant. These compounds are among the most common plant chemicals found in nature and are considered safe as food additives by the FDA. They are also what is responsible for the different smells of plants and their oils. There are over 100 different terpenes identified in the cannabis plant, and when working synergistically with cannabinoids, produce different effects.

The way that different cannabinoids and terpenes, at various concentration levels, interact with the ECS and result in different effects on the body is called the entourage effect. The entourage effect suggests that the various cannabinoids and terpenes ingested when taking medicinal cannabis products modulate one another, changing the way the ECS responds to the medicinal cannabis product in question.

It naturally follows that it’s critically important for medicinal users of cannabis to understand what they are ingesting if they wish to receive the best benefits possible. A high percentage CBD product may offer some benefits to the user, but those benefits will likely fall short of the full medicinal potential. Depending on the ratio of cannabinoids and terpenes, cannabis products can be made to target specific and desired medicinal effects.

How to Ingest Medicinal Cannabis Products

The method by which patients ingest medicinal cannabis products results in different medical benefit onset times.

⦁ Vaporizing
When cannabis products are vaporized or burned and inhaled, the inhaled medicinal compounds reach peak blood-level concentrations within six to seven minutes of inhalation.

⦁ Under the Tongue
Sublingual (under the tongue) administration of cannabis products results in peak blood-level concentration in approximately 4 hours, although the initial onset of the medicines’ effects may occur 5 to 15 minutes after administration.

⦁ Swallowed
Gastrointestinal administration, which occurs when cannabis products are swallowed, has been shown to be somewhat slow and inconsistent. Maximum blood-level concentrations are generally observed within two hours, but have been observed to take as long as 7 hours.

Critically, a portion of the cannabinoids and terpenes are destroyed by stomach acid and digestive enzymes. This is unavoidable when swallowing cannabis medicine, and new patients should start with low doses to understand how their body responds over time as the medicine is digested.

When Not to take Medicinal Cannabis

Lack of formal clinical research (due to the long-standing global restrictions on cannabis research) gives us limited evidence-based data to follow when it comes to determining restrictions of use of medicinal cannabis products. For that reason, it is wise to always proceed with caution.
⦁ If the patient is on any medication, prescription or otherwise, a medical practitioner should be consulted.
⦁ Similarly, patients who are pregnant, suspect they are pregnant or trying to become pregnant should consult their physician.
⦁ Lastly, patients should consult a physician if they have concerns or are unsure about any unexpected response or reaction to medicinal cannabis products.

Dosing

When using medicinal cannabis, patients should strive to achieve a consistent level of medicinal compounds in the body over time. Tinctures offer an exceptional delivery mechanism when administered sublingually and then swallowed to be further absorbed in the gastrointestinal system.

New patients should begin dosing at the lower end of the suggested serving size. Studies have shown that high doses delivered consistently over time result in a reduced density of cannabinoid receptors in the body. In other words, if you use too much, too often, your body may develop a tolerance for the beneficial effects of the congested compounds. Therefore, as a general guideline when using medicinal cannabis products: use the least amount of medicine necessary to treat symptoms. Following this guideline will help reduce the chance of developing a tolerance for medicine.

With cannabis, less is often more. Of course, that does not mean patients should be afraid to medicate, or should use too little – but awareness of the impact of excessive use is critical to the long term performance of medicinal cannabis products.

Everybody responds differently to cannabis medicine and patients should feel comfortable experimenting with dosing size of non-THC cannabis products to determine what works best for them. For patients using THC-based products, a different set of guidelines should be followed that we do not address appropriately here.

Cannabinoids, Terpenes, and the Entourage Effect

Cannabinoids, Terpenes, and the Entourage Effect

Cannabis has long been a banned and regulated substance in the United States. A global prohibition on medicinal and recreational use halted product sales and related medical research for many years. Somewhat shockingly, the US Government filed for a cannabis-related patent on “cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants” in 1999 which was subsequently issued in 2001. By 2012, we saw the first states legalize the recreational use of cannabis, and in 2016 several of the states had legalized medical cannabis.

This is all largely due to the fact that cannabis has been at the center of one of the most exciting developments in modern science with the discovery of the endocannabinoid system, a previously unknown communication system in the human body.

While the scientific community still has much to learn about cannabinoids, the endocannabinoid system, and how the two interact, our understanding of what happens when our bodies use and ingest cannabinoids is appropriately advanced.

The Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is found in all complex animals and is crucial for regulating our everyday experience. It is responsible for regulating a variety of functions including appetite, blood pressure, bone growth, digestion, immune response, inflammation, memory, motor function, pain, and the protection of neural tissues.

The ECS is made up of three components; endocannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids, and the enzymes that synthesize or metabolize endocannabinoids.

One of the roles that endocannabinoids play is as a modulator, or messenger between neurons. Cannabinoids are the chemical messengers for the ECS. They are produced and transmitted by neurons and are responsible for effectively moderating and controlling the release of neurotransmitters across the synapse. Because neurotransmitter synapses are a 1-way communication path on their own, cannabinoids play the critical role in communicating information backward, creating a 2-way communication path and modulating homeostasis, a key element in the biology of all living things.

Ingesting phytocannabinoids, or any chemical that interacts with the ECS, allows patients to support their ECS in the same manner that patients use dietary supplements and prescription medications. A deficiency in the ECS, stress, injury or illness are all instances that may benefit from supplementation. By supplementing the ECS, the goal is to support physiological balance and homeostasis.

Endocannabinoid Receptors

There are two primary types of endocannabinoids receptors; CB1 and CB2. There are also further CB-type and related receptors that appear to play an important role in overall ECS function and health, which you can read more about here. The research on these CB-type and related receptors is just emerging, but if the history of medicinal cannabis research is any guide, we have much to learn and much good will hopefully come of it.

CB1 Receptors

CB1 receptors are found primarily in the brain and are responsible for influencing behaviors in this region. These receptors, with their cannabinoid partners, function as a modulator of inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitters across the synapse. THC is able to bind to and activate these receptors, resulting in the psychoactive effects of cannabis products that include THC.

While CB1 receptors are found primarily in the brain, CB2 receptors are found throughout the body – as well as in the brain. Brain functions that are affected by the CB1 and CB2 receptors are extensive, including; anxiety, appetite, blood-brain permeability, body temperature, cognition, decision making, emotions, fear, learning, memory, motor control, pain, regulation of bodily movement, sense of reinforcement or reward, and stress.

CB2 Receptors

CB2 receptors are primarily found in the gastrointestinal system, immune and blood cells, microglia brain tissues, peripheral nervous system, spleen, and tonsils. In fact, the CB2 receptors in the brain were only recently identified – and it may be that we have yet to learn of additional CB2 receptor locations in the body. CB2 receptors may even regulate activity and information flow between brain networks. If proven, this suggests that CB2 receptors modulate the inputs that various brain functions receive from other neural networks which may ultimately guide complex behavior.

Cannabis plant

Terpenes

Throughout recent history of scientific understanding of the cannabis plant, it had been thought that a relatively small number of cannabinoids were pharmacologically active. As the scientific community learns more about the endocannabinoid system and its complexities, other questions about the cannabis plant beg answers. Specifically, researchers have begun to try to understand why users of medical cannabis claim that different cannabis varieties lead to different medicinal or psychoactive effects.

Research has revealed a likely answer. Instead of looking at the cannabis plant as a source of single ‘hero’ compound like THC or CBD, we should instead look at all of the compounds produced by the plant and seek to better understand how and why different combinations of compounds result in differing medicinal benefits. For this, we must look to the other major set of compounds produced by the cannabis plant called terpenes.

What are Terpenes and What Do They Do?

Terpenes are the aromatic elements of plant-based essential oils. They are found in all vegetables, fruits, and spices, and are recognized by the FDA as safe food additives. Terpenes produced by the cannabis plant are the same as terpenes produced by other non-cannabis related plants. It is now believed that terpenes are an integral part of determining how cannabinoids interact with the ECS.

Terpenes interact with a variety of receptors in the body, not just the ECS. They are pharmacologically active and work synergistically with cannabinoids when ingested, even at concentrations as low as .05% by weight. The mechanism by which terpenes interact with and alter the effects of cannabinoids is not yet well understood, and is undergoing extensive research around the world.

The Entourage Effect

The benefits of cannabinoids and terpenes, which are both pharmacologically active, combine to affect the ECS in ways that appear to go beyond the action of either molecule on its own. Their interaction is commonly referred to as the entourage effect – a critical concept to understanding how to best take advantage of the natural benefits the Cannabis plant offers.

History of Cannabis

The History and Uses of Cannabis

In June 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration approved a drug derived from the Cannabis plant for the treatment of a rare form of Epilepsy in humans. It was the first FDA-approved drug ever derived from cannabis, and a celebratory moment for those of us who believe and respect the history of the plant’s various uses, particularly as a medicinal therapy.

Throughout much of human history, Cannabis has been treated very differently than how it is now in modernity. Cannabis has played a medicinal role in many cultures going as far back as 10,000 years, when the ancient Chinese began using it in pottery, clothing and medicine.

Used for thousands of years as a health supplement, there’s a solid foundation for the plant’s use in medicinal functions. There are many chemicals in the Cannabis plant that can’t be found elsewhere, which interact beneficially with human and most animal bodies in ways that are only now being rediscovered.

What is Hemp?

Hemp is a variety of the Cannabis plant that is legally cultivated for a wide range of uses in the United States. Unlike common varietals, hemp is different than those cannabis-derived products cultivated for their high THC content and sold as medicinal or recreational marijuana. Hemp, on the otherhand, has negligible THC content and high CBD content.

What Makes Hemp Products Medicinal?

We’ll do our best to provide you with a high-level introduction to how hemp products work, but it’s worth doing your own research – clicking through the links provided here will give you a good starting point.

Here’s how it works: inside all mammals is a system of neurotransmitters called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). As described by Cerebrum Magazine in November 2013;

Endocannabinoids and their receptors are found throughout the body: in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells. With its complex actions in our immune system, nervous system, and virtually all of the body’s organs, the endocannabinoids are literally a bridge between body and mind. By understanding this system, we begin to see a mechanism that could connect brain activity and states of physical health and disease.

The cannabinoids that our bodies create participate in a wide variety of physiological and cognitive processes from pain sensations and mood modulation, to the body’s response to exercise, and motivation related to reward stimulus. This system may be the only neurotransmitter system in the body with a bi-directional communication path. In other words, the ECS may act as a two-way communication pathway between various organs and the brain – in a way that no other bodily system can. As such, the ECS is believed to act as “a key modulator of homeostasis, a natural balance in the body” according to Dr. Ethan Russo, neurologist and psychopharmacology researcher.

Internal and External Cannabinoids

Phytocannabinoids (phyto meaning ‘of a plant’, as opposed to endo meaning ‘internal, or within’) are cannabinoids found in plants. When ingested, phytocannabinoids interact with our ECS in a variety of ways. Scientists have identified as many as 113 phytocannabinoids from the hemp plant, as well as phytocannabinoids found other plants including those found in echinacea.

THC and CBD (both from the cannabis plant) garner the most attention in media and research, and have been identified to mimic critical endocannabinoids naturally produced in the body. “When someone uses cannabis medicinally, they are keying in to [the ECS’s] mechanisms which are sometimes deficient,” says Dr. Ethan Russo.

The endocannabinoid system was first identified in 1992. Within the ECS are two kinds of cannabinoid receptors; CB1 and CB2 (similarly found in both humans, our pets, and most other complex organism).

CB1 receptors are found primarily in the central nervous system with the highest concentration of receptors found in the brain. CB1 therapies are believed to predominantly affect anxiety, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and motor control functions.

CB2 receptors are found primarily in the immune and nervous system. They are believed to be the source of cannabinoids’ ability to provide anti-inflammatory and other pain-related therapeutic effects.

The Entourage Effect: What It Is And Why It Matters

As the cultural perception and legal framework around cannabis and hemp changes in the US and around the world, scientific research into the ECS, cannabinoids and hemp is increasing. For this reason, we are just now starting to learn some of the details of how the ECS works, and how endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids interact to affect us (and our pets).

Adding to the complexity of understanding cannabinoids, there is reason to believe that the way various cannabinoids interact with the ECS is modulated and changed by the presence of other compounds. These are called terpenes and flavonoids, which are also naturally occurring in the hemp plant.

This interplay is called the entourage effect. The entourage effect causes different cannabinoids to interact with the body in different ways. For example, one cannabinoid or terpene might primarily reduce pain while another profile might primarily induce drowsiness.

Benefits of Hemp

 

Cannabis Plant

Although formal scientific investigation of cannabis, phytocannabinoids and the ECS has historically been difficult due to various legal policies, laws and perceptions are changing thanks to the support of doctors, politicians, and activists whose lives have been improved by the plant’s medicinal benefits.

Knowledge and education of the Cannabis plant and its applications continue to grow. Israel was for years at the forefront of research in the space, with scientists investigating cannabis and hemp products as a palliative and possibly curative tool when addressing a variety of debilitating human conditions.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, an American Neurosurgeon and Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN came out in support of medical cannabis, stating, “we have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that.”

Cannabidiol (CBD)

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most important cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, and has no psychoactive effects. In other words, it doesn’t get the user ‘high’. CBD’s visibility is growing globally. The demand for CBD products derived from cannabis, which clash with the laws of many countries, led the World Health Organization to issue a report in which they found no public health risks or abuse potential for cannabidiol in humans.

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All Products Contain .3% THC or Less These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.