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Harnessing the Full Potential of Craft Hemp Flower

Harnessing the Full Potential of Craft Hemp Flower

You may be aware of the natural benefits of the two main substances in cannabis cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, there are hundreds of other medicinal substances in the plant. When used together, the natural compounds found in craft hemp flower produce a synergistic phenomenon called the entourage effect.

Everyone wants to use CBD, but most people don’t know the right ways. Craft CBD flower, on the other hand, unlocks all hemp compounds to the maximum extent possible. Plus, who wouldn’t want to enjoy the feeling of smoking cannabis without getting high? Learn all the reasons you should have started smoking CBD flowers.

Cannabinoid Synergy: The “Entourage Effect” of Cannabinoids
“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” This quote, which is often attributed to Aristotle, can be simplified into one word- synergy. Synergy means multiple parts are collaborating together to achieve more than the same parts could achieve acting alone. This sentiment finds its place in the world of cannabis as well. Cannabinoid synergy is commonly referred to as the “entourage effect.” This is the concept that the benefits of the whole plant are greater than the sum of its parts (individual cannabinoids) [1].

What Is The Entourage Effect?
The Entourage effect is the synergistic phenomenon that occurs when several cannabis compounds work together to produce a powerful compound effect [1]. It is believed by some that cannabinoid compounds can enhance the natural properties of other cannabinoid compounds. As a result, having a diverse range of cannabinoids may provide more benefits than having one very potent cannabinoid.

What are Cannabinoids?
Cannabis plants like craft hemp flower are made up of different chemical compounds, namely cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids [3]. Cannabinoids are naturally occurring chemical compounds that are found in cannabis as well as hemp plants.

With over 100 cannabinoids in cannabis, the two most popular cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is responsible for the typical marijuana high, and consequently it is outlawed in most states in the US. However, both THC and CBD offer a wide array of therapeutic benefits.

Both THC and CBD interact with the endocannabinoid system through endocannabinoid receptors [3]. In this way, they can promote health and healing. The being said, the two compounds have different chemical structures; hence they interact with the endocannabinoid receptors differently.

Cannabidiol (CBD)
Possible benefits of CBD been written about extensively, but there is still not any legal medical CBD product aside from the pharmaceutical Epidiolex. Craft hemp and retail CBD products are not intended for medical purposes. They can be thought of more like a natural home remedy- that is some individuals observe benefits from CBD and others do not.

Possible CBD Benefits:

  • Anticonvulsant activity
  • Antioxidant activity
  • Antibacterial and antifungal activity
  • Analgesic activity
  • Anti-inflammatory activity
  • Improving mood
  • Balancing homeostasis
  • Easing nausea

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
The medical uses of THC are slightly better known than CBD. There has been sufficient proof of medical use to convince many states to create medical marijuana programs. Each state decides on what is a medical indication for THC. However, marijuana does remain federally illegal in the US and is not a standardized pharmaceutical drug in most forms (some THC drugs do exist).

Possible Medical Marijuana Benefits:

  • Appetite improvement
  • Nausea reduction
  • Pain relief
  • Inflammation relief
  • Antispasticity
  • Insomnia relief
  • Glaucoma

Other Cannabinoids
In addition to THC and CBD, there are also acidic cannabinoids like THCa, CBGa, and CBGa, and minor cannabinoids like cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), and cannabinol (CBN). All of these minor cannabinoids are suspected to have some form of beneficial use for health, and many have shown antibacterial activity as well.

Terpenes
Terpenes are aromatic molecules that give cannabis and other plant-based products their aromas, odors, and flavors. Some of the main terpenes found in craft hemp flower include: myrcene, pinene, and limonene. These are also well known to aromatherapy and alternative medicine enthusiasts.

Common Cannabis Terpenes:

  • Limonene
  • Pinene
  • Caryophyllene
  • Myrcene
  • Humulene

It is not yet clear how terpenes interact with the endocannabinoid system. However, some believe that they contribute to the effects of cannabis and craft hemp flower. Terpenes may influence cannabinoids, but some believe it is more likely that they have their own independent routes of action. Still, choosing a variety of craft hemp flower that is rich in terpenes is a flavorful experience even if the benefits are not well known.

Understanding Cannabinoids in the Human Body
Cannabinoids are naturally produced in the body, and they are important for homeostasis. Their absence in the body seriously affects our health and our mood. The unique endocannabinoid system works throughout the body, and it has several receptors that bind to cannabinoids so that CBD can be introduced into our bloodstream.

What Is The Endocannabinoid System?
The endocannabinoid system (ESC) helps to regulate neurotransmitters (chemical signals) that balance the body [2, 3]. This includes: immune response, communication between cells, metabolism, sleep, appetite, digestion, hunger, mood, motor control, immune functions, reproduction and fertility, pleasure and reward, pain and heat regulation. Despite the integral role that this system takes, until the mid-1990s, it remained an unknown part of the functions of the human body. The system takes its name from the plant that inspired its discovery.

The endocannabinoid system is important for your overall health and balance. Still, its importance is only beginning to become fully understood by the medical community. It is through this system that the naturally occurring cannabinoids of craft hemp flower and other types of cannabis interact with our body. Because of the way it affects the way our bodies work, a healthy endocannabinoid system is crucial, and it is essential to learn how to maintain it.

The endocannabinoid system is made up of several integrated mechanisms:
Enzymes responsible for the creation and destruction of cannabinoids
Cannabinoid receptor sites on cells to receive cannabinoids (CB1, CB2)
Endocannabinoids (cannabinoids that are produced naturally in the human body)

Endocannabinoid system mechanisms are responsible for communication and balance within the body to regulate. Using cannabinoids from cannabis is thought to help balance the endocannabinoid system. The body’s natural levels of endocannabinoids can be unbalanced and contribute to health problems.

Endocannabinoids of the Body
One of the main questions raised in early cannabis studies was whether or not the body produces its own natural elements equivalent to the discovered components, previously called phytocannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, found in the cannabis plant. As it turns out, the body does naturally produce cannabinoids that are termed “endocannabinoids” or endogenous cannabinoids [2]. The main two endocannabinoids are anadamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG).

2-AG is considered to be a complete agonist of the CB1 and CB2 receptors. This means that it binds to them and that it enters correctly inside the two receptors to activate them, in order to stimulate a physiological response.

Anandamide is considered to be a partial agonist of the two receptors, because, while it binds and activates the receptors, it does not fit well inside the receptors, and therefore it does not trigger not such a powerful physiological response.

When the body is in homeostasis, metabolic enzymes break down endocannabinoids. The fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) degrades Anandamide, and the monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) breaks down 2-AG.

Endocannabinoid System Functions
One common feature of all endocannabinoids is to suppress pain sensitivity. Endocannabinoids are not ready on-demand for use in our bodies though. Kaur, et al (2016) explain, “They are released from the postsynaptic cell and act on the presynaptic cell. They reduce the amount of
presynaptic neurotransmitter release.”

What this means is that endocannabinoids play a protective role. They act on presynaptic cells to control the volume at which communication signals are sent. This is how endocannabinoids affect the duration and intensity of the wide range of physiological processes under their control.

While the endocannabinoid system is linked to many important processes and focuses on the brain, nervous system, and reproductive organs, it does not affect the regions of the brain that control the heart and the functions of the lungs. This characteristic is one of the main reasons why fatal cannabinoid overdoses do not occur.

How Does The Endocannabinoid System Work?
When the body takes in cannabinoids or utilizes endocannabinoids, they are taken up by specialized cannabinoid receptors [2]. These cannabinoid receptors are located on the surface of cells. These receptors are found in cells through many regions of the body, such as:

  • The immune system
  • Organs and glands
  • Connective fabrics
  • The brain (mainly)

Endocannabinoids interact with these receptors like a lock and key.
When they connect, they transmit information in the form of chemical signals about changing conditions, to initiate responses. These responses aim to help the body to achieve homeostasis, or balance, despite external influences.

CB1 Cannabinoid Receptors
The receptor sites of the endocannabinoid system include various CB1 and CB2 receptors, which respond differently to the various cannabinoids. CB1 receptors are more prominent in the central nervous system and are linked to benefits such as:

  • Modulation of stress and anxiety
  • Increased appetite
  • Decreased nausea
  • Balance of the immune system
  • Inhibition of tumors

CB2 Cannabinoid Receptors
CB2 receptors are found primarily on cells of the immune system, and appear to help in fighting inflammation and tissue damage. Some cells may even contain both types of receptors, each of which is responsible for different functions.

Benefits of the Entourage Effect
It’s unclear whether the entourage effect truly exists, but it’s still reasonable to speculate on the potential implications of such a phenomenon [1]. Based on the evidence that CBD modifies THC, it’s also possible to conclude that CBN, CBG, or THCV might, in turn, modify CBD. Adding small concentrations of other cannabinoids to your CBD intake by using craft hemp flower could provide a much different experience than using a CBD isolate product.

Entourage Effect in CBD Products
When you buy CBD, there are several types of CBD to choose from, including CBD Isolate, Broad Spectrum CBD, and Full-Spectrum CBD. Depending on the type of CBD used, the impact of the entourage effect can vary considerably. To understand which CBD products can maximize the entourage effect, let’s look at the different chemical profiles of each type.

CBD Isolate
The CBD isolate is produced by isolating the CBD and removing all other compounds and substances from the extract. The result is a pure CBD extract. CBD isolate products do not contain any other cannabinoids or terpenes and therefore do not provide an entourage effect.

Full-Spectrum CBD
Full-spectrum CBD is produced by extracting all the cannabinoids and terpenes contained in craft hemp flower, including THC. Smoking craft hemp flower also provides a full-spectrum experience. Since full-spectrum CBD contains a full range of cannabinoids and terpenes, it is thought to produce the full entourage effect. Where CBD isolate is thought to be biphasic (most active at low or high levels), full-spectrum CBD is thought to have good activity in moderate doses. The downside of full-spectrum CBD is that the small amounts of THC can accumulate in body fat and create positive drug test results.

Broad-Spectrum CBD
Broad-spectrum CBD is a blend of CBD isolate, minor cannabinoid isolate, and terpenes (but no THC). As with full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD is produced by extracting all cannabinoids and terpenes from craft hemp flower. However, it then undergoes an additional process to completely remove THC from the extract. By removing THC from the extract, broad-spectrum CBD can deliver some of the benefits of the entourage effect without the strict legal requirements

Holistic Views on Craft Hemp Flower and the Body
Although cannabis has long been used for therapeutic purposes, both in traditional and western medicine, its use was abandoned almost a century ago when it was replaced by new synthetic drugs that were more stable, reliable, and effective. The isolation and synthesis of pure cannabinoids, including more potent synthetic derivatives, and the discovery of cannabinoid receptors and their endogenous ligands have rekindled interest in healing with cannabis- especially with hemp. This interest has also been stimulated by the many cannabis users claiming to smoke marijuana for therapeutic rather than recreation.

If you use craft hemp flower, you have already taken one step in the direction of holistic healing. Science has discovered the amazing relationship cannabis has with our body’s endocannabinoid system. But did you know that each plant has the unique ability to draw nutrients from the Earth and transform them into bioactive constituents that create a corresponding biological response in the human body?

Holistic healing, like cannabis, has come a long way to gain its place in the health and wellness realm. Scientists have said the data is not there. This is true, but many would argue that health has measures that science can’t quantify. Craft hemp flower is not a medicine or intended for medical use. However, there are those who feel it is useful. As always, when employing a holistic health regimen, don’t forget to check in with your doctor and use your discretion. Fine-tuning the balance of your approach to holistic wellness and hemp is key.

References

  1. Chen, A (2017) Some of the Parts: Is Marijuana’s “Entourage Effect” Scientifically Valid? Scientific American https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/some-of-the-parts-is-marijuana-rsquo-s-ldquo-entourage-effect-rdquo-scientifically-valid/ 
  2. Kaur, R., R Ambwani, S., & Singh, S. (2016). Endocannabinoid system: a multi-facet therapeutic target. Current clinical pharmacology, 11(2), 110-117. https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ben/ccp/2016/00000011/00000002/art00007 
  3. Russo, EB (2011). Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid ‐ terpenoid entourage effects. British journal of pharmacology, 163 (7), 1344-1364. https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01238.x