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Cannabis has been cultivated for hundreds of years and used for hemp fiber, hemp seeds and their oils, hemp leaves for use as vegetables and as juice, medicinal purposes, and as a recreational drug.
Some cannabis strains have been bred to produce high concentrations of various cannabinoids, but only minimal levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal psychoactive constituent. Hundreds of products, compounds and oil, are made from the cannabis plant.
Although cannabis as a drug and industrial hemp both derive from the species Cannabis sativa, the hemp plant is grown specifically for its higher CBD concentration. Hemp has much lower concentrations of THC and higher concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD), which decreases or eliminates the psychoactive effects.
Composition: The defining characteristic between hemp and marijuana is the chemical composition contained within each plant. Both hemp and marijuana can produce high amounts of CBD, the non-intoxicating cannabis compound; however, THC is produced at very different levels. While hemp can contain no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight, marijuana can contain up to 30% THC content.
Legality: Due to the difference between their levels of THC, hemp and marijuana are regulated very differently under the law. The 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills federally legalized hemp and hemp-derived products that contain no more than 0.3% THC. Marijuana, on the other hand, is still treated as a controlled substance and is illegal under the federal Controlled Substance Act.
Cultivation: Hemp and marijuana are harvested for different purposes so where and how they are grown is also different. Marijuana is selectively bred in specific environments to produce female plants that yield budding flowers with higher concentrations of the active THC compound. In contrast, hemp is usually grown outdoors to maximize its size and yield.
Usage: Hemp and marijuana each offer a range of usages which are unique to their composition. Marijuana is commonly recognized for its recreational uses, given that it contains a powerful psychoactive agent, THC, which can directly bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the Endocannabinoid System, which induces the mind-altering, euphoric effects referred to as being “high.” Preliminary studies have revealed its potential in a wide variety of therapeutic applications. Since hemp is now not categorized as a drug, many scientists, doctors and researchers are studying hemp and CBD for its physical and psychological health benefits.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is composed of two parts:
2) Their Receptors
Endocannabinoids and their receptors are found throughout the body: in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells. In each tissue, the cannabinoid system performs different tasks, but the goal is always the same: homeostasis, or to maintain a balanced environment in the body in response to changes in the world around you. In order to maintain homeostasis, the body relies on the endocannabinoid system to regulate body processes and keep it in balance.
Endocannabinoids are naturally produced by the body and they transmit messages from one part of the body to another. Endocannabinoids “send messages” by binding to specific cannabinoid receptor sites. The type of endocannabinoid and which receptor it binds to determines what message gets sent out to the body and what the body does with that message.
Some endocannabinoids bind with receptors that send messages to the body systems that regulate sleep, pain, anxiety, mood, inflammation, and many other processes. These receptors also regulate the release of other neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and glutamate. The endocannabinoid system uses the messages passed between endocannabinoids and receptors to keep your body processes in balance.
In simple terms, the endocannabinoid system is like a post office box. Each postal box contains messages with information you need, but you can only access the box with the right key. The receptors are the lock and the endocannabinoids are the key. Once the right key (endocannabinoid) is put into the right lock (cannabinoid receptor), you can access your messages and take an action based on the information in the message.
When a person consumes cannabinoids, terpenes, or other chemicals from an herb like a cannabis plant, they add additional cannabinoids to the body that can bind with the receptors within ECS system. Phytocannabinoids are plant substances that stimulate certain cannabinoid receptors. Cannabinoids like Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN) can bind to specific cannabinoid receptors that help regulate very important processes within the body, like sleep, pain, inflammation, anxiety, mood, inflammation, etc. Endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids are essential to the endocannabinoid system and maintaining balance and overall wellness.
While it may seem that we know a lot about cannabinoids, the estimated twenty thousand scientific articles have just begun to shed light on the subject, and large gaps likely exist within the scientific and medical communities’ current understanding about the complexity of interactions between various cannabinoids and the human body. However, in recent years, there has been a dramatic increase of research and clinical studies about cannabinoids and their effect on the endocannabinoid system and the human body as a whole. It is expected that this growing interest of researchers into the healing properties of cannabinoids will result in more clinical research and provide everyone with more information about the benefits of cannabinoids and how they work.
In short, the endocannabinoid system receives messages that help it regulate different processes within the body – sleep, appetite, pain etc. – and CBD affects which messages are sent and how they are received by the endocannabinoid system.
Unfortunately, the scientific community has historically shied away from clinical research of CBD, due to regulations classifying cannabidiol as part of the cannabis plant. However, the 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp-derived products from classification as a Schedule I controlled substance and the goal of 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills were to allow and encourage research into hemp. It is expected that these regulatory changes will inspire many in the scientific and medical community to begin clinical research into the health benefits of CBD and the hemp plant.
Tinctures / Oils - Tinctures are probably the most popular form of CBD. CBD oils are taken orally by dispensing a dropper of CBD oil on or under your tongue and wait 30-90 seconds before swallowing. CBD Tinctures and oils come in different strengths; the strength of a tincture is determined by the milligram amount of active cannabinoids in the bottle or in the single serving. The benefit to tinctures is that you are in control of the amount you take. You can start with a lower strength and take a small dose and then work your way up to find the perfect amount of CBD that works for you. While many people enjoy the natural, earthy taste of CBD oil, many tinctures also come with flavors which either mask or enhance the flavor the oil.
Capsules / Gelcaps – CBD Capsules and Gelcaps provide a simple, convenient way to take CBD. Capsules and gelcaps are pre-measured so you can take a consistent dose of CBD that’s fast and easy. CBD capsule and gelcaps are also easy to travel with.
Topical CBD – Topical CBD products are absorbed through the skin and can be applied directly to the affected area. Topical CBD products come in the form of creams, lotions, gels, roll-ons, patches, ext. Topicals work best when warmed but body heat also improves efficacy. Topicals are a good choice for those who do not want to ingest CBD, but want relief from aches and pains.
Edibles – Edibles are any ingestible form of CBD that you eat. Edibles come in a multitude of forms – from chocolates, coffees, granolas, sodas, snacks, candies, energy bars and many more. Edibles provide an easy, delicious way to enjoy CBD and its benefits all throughout the day.
Gummies – Gummies are a very popular form of CBD edibles. Gummies are offered in different CBD strengths and flavors. CBD gummies provide a simple, tasty way to take CBD and the gummy packs usually come with multiple pieces so you can take the amount of CBD that works for you. Gummies come in many varieties including sugar free, gluten-free, and vegan.
Quality – The best products are made from hemp (specific species of the cannabis plant) and the cannabidiol oil should be extracted using supercritical CO2 extraction process, rather than using chemicals and solvents to ensure the highest quality oil without impurities.
Compliance – To be compliant with Federal regulations, all CBD products must have a THC content below 0.3%. Reputable CBD companies complete analytical testing of all products with an independent 3rd party laboratory. The testing laboratories should be completing a variety of tests for potency, purity, and cannabinoid content.
Efficacy – Consumers purchasing CBD products are looking for products that provide specific benefits and health effects that they can feel. CBD products that contain high-quality hemp oil with high concentrations of active cannabinoids will be more effective than cheap, generic “CBD” oils. In addition, many reputable CBD companies include supportive ingredients in the CBD formulas to increase the effects, such as terpenes, vitamins, nutrients, herbs and botanicals. Products that contain varied cannabinoids (CBD, CBN, CBDA, CBG, CBC) may offer greater experiential benefits, which is called the “entourage effect.”
CBD Isolate refers to an oil where only 1 compound is extracted, and it is isolated from other components. In the case of CBD isolate that means only cannabidiol is extracted and all other cannabinoids, terpenes, and oils are separated out. Isolate was the most often used form of CBD until a few years ago when scientists discovered that other cannabinoids and compounds may add additional benefits to CBD oil.
Full Spectrum is currently the most common type of CBD oil. Full spectrum CBD is an extract that contains all compounds found in the hemp plant, including multiple cannabinoids, terpenes, and natural oils. Full Spectrum is used commonly in CBD products because it contains various cannabinoids and compounds which work together to provide an enhanced effect, often referred to as the “entourage effect.” While Full Spectrum does contain other cannabinoids, the THC level must be below 0.3%.
Broad Spectrum is like full spectrum because it contains multiple cannabinoids in addition to CBD, but it does NOT contain any THC. Because Broad spectrum has a full cannabinoid profile like full spectrum, it can also provide the enhanced benefits of the “entourage effect.”
Therefore, CO2 extraction guarantees that your concentrates will not only be cleaner, but significantly healthier for your consumption. CO2 extracted CBD oil is also much better tasting and contains more robust cannabinoid and terpene profiles.
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