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Understanding Hemp

Hemp is legally and technically differentiated from cannabis in North America, and is dependent on the volume of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the product, which is the infamous psychoactive component found in the plant. To be defined as hemp, the plant species cannabis sativa must contain no more than 0.3% THC. Over this limit and the plant is categorized as marijuana, not hemp.

Some estimate that the average human experiences no observable psychoactive effect at THC levels below 1%. Thus, legal hemp products—which necessarily contain less than one-third that level of THC—deliver no undesired psychoactivity. This fact allows hemp to be consumed by children and the elderly. It also allows for use during the day at work or whenever you need to be at your best. Additionally, using a hemp product over a marijuana product could prevent one from getting too much THC while still receiving enough other beneficial cannabinoids to help their condition. High doses of THC can definitely cause increased anxiety, disorientation, confusion, dizziness and even panic attacks (most notably for novice users who lack a tolerance to the molecule). Such adverse reactions are not commonly reported for CBD; however, Dr. Ethan Russo was quoted during a 2019 interview to say "Cannabidiol is frequently mischaracterized as being non-psychoactive. Rather, it is psychoactive. It is an anti-anxiety agent, and anti-psychotic agent," 

The origin of the North American hemp standard is the 1971 book The Species Problem in Cannabis by Canadian researcher Dr. Ernest Small. It should be noted that other regions of the world and countries may use slightly different standards to define hemp. The European Union, for example, defines hemp as cannabis sativa plants containing under 0.2% THC.

Hemp offers a large variety of efficacies for consumers in addition to its anti-anxiety properties. First and foremost are its ability to reduce systemic inflammation and to act as an analgesic (pain killer)..  

Isolate vs. Broad-Spectrum vs. Full-Spectrum

There are three primary categories of hemp extract products. These are classified by the cannabinoids they each contain.

An isolate, which is often in the form of a powder or crystal (but can also be a liquid or infused into a beverage) is a single molecule. Thus, a CBD isolate product would feature none of the other cannabinoids or terpenes produced by the hemp plant. In terms of what it includes from the plant, an isolate is the most limited and restricted of all extraction types. An isolate cannot deliver synergy and the entourage effect because it is alone.

Broad-spectrum extracts usually have the THC removed which requires further processing with chemicals and loss of other beneficial terpenes and cannabinoids in the process. This is usually reserved for companies ensuring their products are on the safe side of the legal issues currently facing the industry today.

Full-spectrum extracts that have no beneficial molecules extracted are considered full-spectrum, thus, sometimes referred to as “whole plant”. A product that contains multiple cannabinoids (including THC) as well as terpenes can create a synergy has the ability to synergize and create what is called the entourage effect. The dynamic observed is that the interaction of these molecules results in an efficacy that is greater than the sum of its parts (the individual cannabinoids and terpenes).

 

Metabolic Pathways: Sublingual vs. Ingestion vs. Inhalation

A variety of consumption avenues offer distinct pros and cons in terms of onset, potency, duration and overall bioavailability of cannabinoids and terpenes.

Those who smoke or vaporize cannabis for inhalation experience an onset of effects within approximately 2.5 minutes. However, many patients cannot consider the inhalation of smoke or vapor in their treatment regimen for a variety of reasons. Vaporized cannabinoids can have very high bioavailability of 50-80%, while traditionally smoked cannabis is 2-60% bioavailable and average is around 30%.

Sublingual administration requires roughly 10 to 20 minutes for effect onset and involves active molecules being directly absorbed into the bloodstream. Medical professionals may suggest administering tinctures sublingually to achieve a faster onset than ingestion. This is especially pertinent to patients suffering seizures, pain, and severe anxiety who are seeking relief as quickly as possible. Bioavailability is around 40-50%. 

Ingestion, on the other hand, adds an additional path for these molecules. They must first pass through the stomach and liver before entering the bloodstream. Because of this longer metabolic pathway, ingestion requires between 20 minutes and 2 hours for effect onset. It sometimes results in greater potency and longer duration. Pharmacodynamic effects may last 5-8 hours which means it would be easier to keep an even level of cannabinoids in the bloodstream with fewer doses. The bioavailability of ingesting cannabis is low at 5-20%. However, we can increase this number by consuming cannabis along with medium-chain triglycerides (MCT oil). This can help the cannabinoids through the first pass metabolism, meaning there is less degradation before reaching the small intestine where they are absorbed. Certain cannabinoids as well as terpenes have the ability to help one another, often times leading not only to increased efficacy but also bioavailablity. It becomes easy to see why using a product with a full-spectrum is important in many facets.

History

The benefits of tinctures are as true today as they were 150 years ago when homesteaders crossing the American prairie purchased them from local apothecaries, where a compounding pharmacist mixed a custom blend of herbs that often involved "cannabis sativa," "hemp cannabis" or "hemp extract." Alongside these elixirs were products from the pharmaceutical companies of the day, including Eli Lilly and Company, Parke, Davis & Co. and The Upjohn Company. 

Sir John Russel Reynolds, a physician to the British royal household from 1878 until his death in 1896, recommended cannabis tinctures for conditions such as asthma, epilepsy, depression and migraine to the royal family.  

 

Benefits

Benefits of tinctures include convenience and ease-of-use. Unlike smoking or vaping, patients and consumers can safely and discreetly use tinctures at work, during travel, or while in public. Tinctures also allow much more precise dosing and the ability to more easily administer to pets and children.


Efficacy for Conditions

Hemp delivers no psychoactivity other than a reduction in anxiety. A wide variety of in vivo and in vitro studies conducted since the 1960s reveal that hemp may play a role in improving the quality of life for people with the following:  

Hemp and the Endocannabinoid System

Given the significant efficacy of cannabinoids such as CBD, what is the mechanism behind their interaction with the human body that results in health benefits and improvements in overall wellness?

Beyond humans, all mammals feature a complex network of cellular receptors and neurotransmitters called the endocannabinoid system, or ECS. This system, features specialized receptors throughout the brain, central nervous system and the organs and tissues of the immune system (found throughout the body).

The ECS is significant because it has been found to directly manage critical physiological and psychological functions, including mood (most notably anxiety and depression), appetite, sleep, energy level (including metabolism and body fat index), various aspects of cognition and attention (like focus and problem-solving capabilities), and even libido.

Cannabinoids, such as CBD and THC, fit into the ECS almost perfectly (strong binding affinity). Although there is still much unknown about the ECS and its control over critical bodily functions, it is believed to be responsible for the overall state of homeostasis that is necessary to maintain health and prevent or ward off disease and illness.  

 

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration for safety or efficacy. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.