Endocannabinoid System

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is a vast biological system, expressed throughout the vertebrate central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, and peripheral organs. The ECS influences the activity of multiple receptor types and neurotransmitters involved in a wide variety of physiological and psychological functions. [1, 3]

Decades of scientific research reveal the ECS plays a major homeostatic role in:

  • Neurological function
  • Sleep
  • Inflammation
  • Sensation
  • Pain
  • Appetite
  • Digestion
  • Immune function
  • Psychological function
  • Cellular growth & proliferation
  • Metabolism
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • and others…
    [1, 3]

Some organs and systems with CB Receptors [1]

The ECS is a complex interplay between:

  1. Endogenous neurotransmitter “endocannabinoids”, mainly N-arachidonoyl ethanolamide (AEA, “anandamide”) and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG). [1, 3]

  2. Two G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), named Cannabinoid Receptor 1 (CB1) and 2 (CB2), found across the body, as well as various receptor types like 5-HT, GABA, Glutamate, and others, TRP ion channels, plus CB receptor heterodimers with Opioid, Dopamine, and other major receptor types – all modulated by the endocannabinoids. [1-3]

  3. Endogenous enzymes that synthesize and degrade the endocannabinoids (FAAH, MAGL,…). [1, 3]

Additional science and history of the ECS can be discovered here in the Cannacea-verse.

Phytocannabinoid Supplementation

The phytocannabinoids produced by cannabis have been proven to supplement the endocannabinoids through their interaction with the ECS [12]. The phytocannabinoids demonstrate:

  • Unique affinities and activities at CB1 and CB2 receptors, at TRP ion channels, and at various receptor types: 5-HT, GABA, Glutamate, Opioid, Dopamine, and others. [1-3, 12]

  • Unique abilities to inhibit the reuptake of the endocannabinoids and the enzymes that degrade the endocannabinoids. [13]

Click these prevalent phytocannabinoids in Cannacea hemp oils to uncover added information and structure/function effects for each:

“Physicians assist Nature.”
– Galen

Original image by Bernard Gagnon (Creative Commons)

Growing peer-reviewed scientific research from human, animal, and in vitro studies evidences significant health benefits from supplementing the ECS with phytocannabinoids. [4-8, 14, 15, 21, 22]

While added randomized, controlled clinical studies are needed to give a more detailed picture of the health benefits provided by phytocannabinoid supplementation, there is already ample scientific evidence to support this reality. For example, these 3 prospective studies:

  • One prospective study of 901 subjects over age 65 undergoing phytocannabinoid therapy resulted in 93.7% of respondents reporting improvement in their wellness, with 41.9% reporting significant improvement. For example, prior to treatment 66.8% of respondents reported high pain intensity (“8 – 10” on scale of 10), while after 6 months of treatment only 7.6% reported high pain intensity. [7]

  • One 8-week prospective study gave oral CBD-rich full spectrum hemp extract to 97 subjects aged 39 – 70 suffering from chronic pain and taking opioids for at least 1 year. Nearly all subjects (94%) took 30 mgCBD/day. 94% of subjects reported improved quality of life and 53% significantly reduced or eliminated opioid use. Significant reductions in pain intensity and interference were reported, along with significant improvements in sleep quality. [14]

  • One prospective study analyzed 2,431 subjects experiencing at least one of the six most common Palliative Care issues, who were vaporizing cannabis varieties across a wide range of CBD:THC ratios. On an 11-point scale of issue severity (0 – 10), there was at least a 3-point improvement from pre-use to post-use severity for the following percentage of subjects experiencing such issues:
    • PTSD-related flashbacks: 78%
    • Anorexia: 77%
    • Insomnia: 71%
    • Anxiety: 66%
    • Depression: 61%
    • Neuropathic pain: 42%

Full Spectrum Synergy

Superior therapeutic efficacy of whole plant extracts over single compounds is frequently reported in the scientific literature. [16-18]

Studies also demonstrate a broader range of efficacies and reduced adverse effects if using cannabis preparations containing multiple phytocannabinoids and other natural compounds produced in cannabis versus only using isolated or purified cannabinoids. [13, 19-24]

Such synergistic effects of a natural complete cannabis phytochemical profile are evidenced by the research examples below, and have been famously named the “Entourage Effect”. [19]

The mature Cannabis flower – a phytochemical powerhouse.

Multiple peer-reviewed scientific studies confirm the therapeutic superiority of full spectrum hemp oil phytochemical profiles over purified CBD or CBD isolates:

  • A meta-analysis with 670 subjects showed intakes of full spectrum CBD-rich preparations resulted in significantly increased benefits compared with intakes of isolated or purified CBD, also reducing CBD intake by 75%, reducing mild adverse effect rates by 50%, and reducing severe adverse effects rates by over 65%. [21]

  • One study with 10 pediatric subjects also showed the use of full spectrum CBD-rich preparations resulted in significantly increased benefits and reduction in adverse side effects compared with using isolated or purified CBD. [22]

  • One study in mice showed CBD isolate oral intake was limited by a “bell-shaped” intake response for anti-nociception and anti-inflammation. In contrast, oral intake of full spectrum CBD-rich preparation did not have such dose limitation, and demonstrated continuously increasing effects upon increasing intakes that required ~2.5x less CBD for equivalent therapeutic effect (see Figure A, below). [23]
Figure A: Comparing therapeutic effect of oral intakes by mice of CBD isolate vs. CBD in a full spectrum. (a) & (b) – Prevention of zymosan-induced swelling of hind paw. (c) & (d) – Anti-nociception in a von Frey nociceptive filament assay.
Adapted from Gallily et al. (2015). [23]
  • One human study found a panel of 30 subjects was consistently experiencing specific subjective effects in relation to specific phytocannabinoid and phytoterpene chemotypes they were using. [24]

  • Several human studies demonstrate that CBD suppresses various side effects of THC when the two are taken together, particularly when more CBD than THC is taken. [25-27]

  • One in vitro study compared phytocannabinoid isolates to full spectrum preparations having those same phytocannabinoids at 40% – 70% with the remainder a complex mixture of other phytocannabinoids and non-cannabinoid natural compounds.  Various assays showed the full spectrum preparations almost always displayed significantly higher potency and efficacy in inhibiting the enzymes responsible for degrading the main endocannabinoids (AEA and 2-AG), and in inhibiting the cellular reuptake of AEA. [13]

A holistic scientific approach to plant therapy.

Complete harnessing of hemp’s unique powers.

Genuine Full Spectrum Hemp Oils.








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