The Endocannabinoid System Part 3: Non-cannabis Plants

Cannabis is a complex, intelligent plant that appears to have been designed to interact with our body via the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is present in all humans and mammals. It helps us handle mental and physiologic stress. It helps us maintain internal balance. The ECS helps us with cognition, memory, digestion, movement, balance, immune response, appetite, pain reduction, neuroprotection, blood pressure, heart rate, bone growth and well being. Our ECS is comprised of enzymes, endocannabinoids and receptors. This system is distributed throughout our bodies. We produce a baseline of endocannabinoids. This is called our “endocannabinoid tone”. Additional endocannabinoids are created as they are needed with help of enzymes. They then stimulate the receptors and enable the biologic actions described above. Once they are no longer needed, endocannabioids are broken down by more enzymes. When our ECS is not working properly, due to genetics, trauma, nutrition, or lifestyle, we are more prone to experience disease. Preliminary research confirms that many autoimmune disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, mood disorders and cancer, for example, are due to an endocannabinoid deficiency. This is why these conditions often respond to cannabis supplementation.

Cannabis contains over 700 chemical compounds. These include over 140 cannabinoids. The most famous cannabinoids are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). There are over 200 terpenes in cannabis. Terpenes give cannabis and other plants their aroma and flavor. Cannabinoids do not have an odor or flavor on their own. Terpenes give cannabis it’s aroma and affects our mood. Terpenes are the most common plant chemicals found in nature. At least 30,000 have been identified. They are present in cannabis, fruit, vegetables and spices.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

We have come to learn that there are other plants capable of stimulating our ECS besides cannabis. This helps explain why plants have been our main source of medicine and nutrition throughout human history. Black pepper, lemon balm, cloves and hops (the closest plant relative to cannabis) all affect the ECS. The terpene shared by them all is beta-caryophyllene. It’s also the most abundant terpene in cannabis. Beta-caryophyllene is a potent anti-inflammatory and works at our cannabinoid 2 receptor (CB2).

Another useful non-cannabis plant that stimulates our ECS is echinacea. Some of its chemical constituents’ structure look very similar to our endocannabinoids. It acts at our two main cannabinoid receptors (CB1, CB2). It is used to fight the common cold and as an immunity booster.

Ginger, apples and blackberries affect our ECS due to a flavonoid they contain. The flavonoid inhibits the breakdown of one our endocannabinoids. When the enzyme is prevented from doing its job, our endocannabinoid level rises and so does our well being. Flavonoids are also antioxidants and help prevent cancer. Other non-cannabis plants that boost our endocannabinoid levels by inhibiting its breakdown by the enzyme include maca (also know as the Peruvian ginseng) and chocolate. We knew there was a reason why we like dark chocolate so much!

Curcumin, a component of the spice tumeric, is a potent stimulator of our cannabinoid 2 receptors. It is anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. Lastly, black truffles have been found to have enzymes and endocannabinoids. Thes endocannabinoids activate both of our cannabinoid receptors as well.

Thus, there are many non-cannabis plants that stimulate our ECS. In addition, to eating a colorful, varied, mostly plant-based diet we need a few other things to have a healthy ECS. These include adequate sleep (8-9 hours/day), omega 3-fatty acids and stress management. Ninety-five percent of Americans are deficient in omega 3-fatty acids. These good fats are found in fish oil, hemp and walnuts. Algae-derived omega 3-fatty acids are also a good source. Omega 3-fatty acids form the backbone of our endocannabinoids. While short term stress is easily dealt with by our ECS, chronic stress hinders it.

If you are not quite ready to take the cannabis plunge, increase your intake of non-cannabis plants and spices. You can find several in easy to use tinctures here. They have been composed to help with sleep (RELAX), allergies (BREATHE), pain (RELIEF) and general well-being (FOUNDATION). The alcohol based tincture is plant-based and is placed beneath your tongue. Try them here and take care of your ECS!

The Endocannabinoid System Part 2

We discussed in The Endocannabinoid System Part 1 that our bodies have built in mechanisms to keep us balanced and in good health. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is composed of receptors (locks), endocannabinoids (keys) and enzymes (builders and terminators). Our bodies produce a baseline level of endocannabinoids. More about that later. These receptors are distributed throughout our bodies, from our brain to our skin. When we are injured, stressed, or attacked by bacteria, viruses or cancer cells, the body produces endocannabinoids with the help enzymes. The endocannabinoids, anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonylglycerol (2-AG), then insert into receptors to produce biological effects. For example, they help minimize the effects of trauma, help us to handle mental and physiologic stress and contain or kill bacteria, viruses and cancer cells. Once AEA and 2-AG are done doing their job, they are broken down more enzymes. AEA and 2-AG look very similar to and behave like the many cannabinoids in the cannabis (marijuana) plant. Cannabis occurs in two major forms: hemp and cannabis. Hemp contains tetrahydrocannabinol or THC (less than 0.3%). THC causes euphoria or the feeling of being “high“. Hemp contains large amounts of cannabidiol (CBD) which does not cause euphoria. While THC has some medicinal benefits, CBD has many more. THC and CBD also interact with our receptors. This why cannabis has so many health applications.

As stated earlier, all humans have a baseline production level of endocannabinoids or “endocannabinoid tone”. In 2004, Dr. Ethan Russo hypothesized that many diseases are due to an endocannabinoid deficiency. This could be due to genetics, trauma, diet or lifestyle. He named this condition Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Syndrome. Subsequent research confirmed his hypothesis. For example, a study was done with people suffering from migraine headaches. The study show that people with migraines have lower levels of endocannabinoids in their body than people who do not get headaches. Some other conditions that are thought to be due to a deficiency of endocannabinoids in our body are as follows:

*Autoimmune Disease (irritable bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis)

*PMS, painful and/or heavy periods, endometriosis

*Neurodegenerative Disorders (Alzheimer’s , Parkinson’s, ALS)

*Mood Disorders (anxiety, depression, PTSD)





*Chronic Pain

Thus, people with the above challenges have seen improvement by supplementing with cannabis or CBD. In addition to supplementing with cannabis, there are a few other things you can do to keep your ECS functioning optimally:

1) Consume at least 1000 mg daily of omega-3 fatty acids in the form of fish oil or an algae-derived product. Ninety-five percent of Americans are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids. Your body needs them to make endocannabinoids. They also play a major role in the health of your brain, eyes, heart and help fight inflammation. If you have an autoimmune disease, you should consume 3000 mg daily.

2) Eat at least five servings of vegetables daily.

3) Sleep 7-9 hrs daily.

4) Exercise 150 minutes per week. Exercise makes your body produce more endocannabinoids. Think “runner’s high”.

5) Stress management; Chronic stress inhibits your ECS.

6) Limit alcohol and caffeine. Excess intake of either can inhibit your ECS.

Thus, with the right diet, lifestyle and supplementation with cannabis or CBD, you can reverse many diseases that conventional medicine struggles with. Wishing you optimal health!

Cannabis 101: Charlotte's Web vs. Hemp Seed Oil vs. Marijuana

I am happy to announce that we will soon have access to a clean, safe and effective source of hemp-derived CBD.

Until that time you may order other high quality supplements here:

Use access code: HEAL

I am reprinting their original blog to help explain the difference between CW CBD vs. hemp seed oil vs. marijuana.

Cannabis 101: Charlotte’s Web vs. Hemp Seed Oil vs. Marijuana

February 7, 2017

The questions we get asked most often revolve around the confusion between Charlotte’s Web hemp extract oil, hemp seed oil, and marijuana. It’s natural. Unless you’re a botanist, marijuana and hemp look very similar, and people use the word "cannabis" interchangeably between the two. Also, people see hemp seed oil in the grocery store and assume that it’s the same thing as our Charlotte's Web hemp extract. We want to clear up some of the confusion and arm you with powerful health and wellness knowlege that will ultimately help you experience the benefits of Charlotte’s Web whole-plant phytocannabinoid hemp oil extract.

Before diving in, a key component of this conversation is a crucial vocabulary word you'll see when researching hemp: phytocannabinoid. Phytocannabinoids are the primary chemical compounds produced by the cannabis plant. The two most well known phytocannabinoids are THC and CBD.

To get started, let's clarify some common points of confusion between hemp and marijuana.

Some common questions about hemp vs. marijuana:

Hemp is psychoactive, right? No.

Hemp and marijuana are in the cannabis family, so that makes them the same? No.

Do I need a medical marijuana card to buy hemp extract with CBD? No.

Are the plant chemicals identical in marijuana and hemp? No.

Does Charlotte’s Web hemp extract contain more phytocannabinoids than just CBD? Yes.

Hemp vs. Marijuana Breakdown

Let’s shed some light on these incredible and controversial plants:

  • Hemp and marijuana are both cannabis and contain phytocannabinoids. Phyto means “plant.” Humans and all mammals produce what are known as endocannabinoids. Endo means “within.” These compounds are key players in normal immune and central nervous system function. Hemp’s phytocannabinoids work with our Endocannabinoid System (ECS), a vast receptor system that helps support homeostasis and health.*

  • Marijuana has > 0.3% THC (the only phytocannabinoid that gets you "high").

  • Hemp has < 0.3% THC and is not psychoactive.

  • Marijuana is most often associated with THC and hemp extract is often associated with CBD, a health & wellness phytocannabinoid.

  • Charlotte's Web proprietary, non-GMO hemp genetics contain a unique combination of phytocannbinoids; it’s more than just CBD. Charlotte's Web also includes naturally occurring terpenes, flavonoids, and other valuable hemp compounds that work synergistically to heighten positive effects, sometimes referred to as the “Entourage Effect,” making it more complete than single-compound CBD alternatives.


Hemp Extract Oil vs. Hemp Seed Oil

Some common questions:

Are hemp seed oil and CW hemp extract oil the same thing? No.
Does hemp seed oil and hemp extract oil contain similar amounts of phytocannabinoids? No.
Are both made from the same parts of the hemp plant? No.
Is Charlotte’s Web hemp extract oil made from the whole plant? Yes.

Key takeaways:

  • Hemp extract like Charlotte’s Web is rich in phytocannabinoids and used to help support calm, focus, recovery from exercise-induced inflammation, and more.

  • Hemp seed oil is rich in omega fatty acids, but contains low levels of CBD or none at all.

  • Hemp seed oil is used in cooking, beauty products, and as a bio-fuel source.

  • Charlotte's Web hemp extract is made from the whole plant, while hemp seed oil is made from the seeds.

In Conclusion

Now that you know the differences between our hemp extract oil, hemp seed oil, and marijuana, we recommend that you always seek quality and consistent whole-plant phytocannabinoids for your optimal wellbeing. While world-class genetics are the foundation of Charlotte’s Web, quality is in the details.

The production and quality of care that goes into Charlotte's Web products are unmatched. The process is overseen entirely by the founders of Charlotte's Web -- the Stanley Brothers-- beginning with cloning and hand-planting non-GMO plants on family farms, to manufacturing in an FDA-certified facility with 3rd party-verified Good Manufacturing Practices. It's this dedication that makes us The World's Most Trusted Hemp ExtractTM. 

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