Research and Science involving Cannabis.

Is Raw Cannabis a Superfood?

A “functional food” is a food that provides benefits in excess of nutrition.1  The number of vitamins, essential oils, complete essential amino acids, and perfectly balanced fatty acids found in raw cannabis has led experts like Dr. William Courtney to call weed a “dietary essential” and definitely a functional food.2

When unheated, raw cannabis causes none of the psychoactive effects associated with smoking it or consuming “decarboxylated” (heat treated) oil.
Dr. Jeffrey C. Raber explains:

“When you consume “raw” cannabis, that is cannabis which has not been heated, you are consuming the cannabinoid acids. THCA and/or CBDA. Look up tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, or cannabidiolic acid. Those are the A forms of the molecules you are consuming.” 3

Dr. Raber received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Southern California,4 so he knows a thing or two about chemistry.

When you heat cannabis, a chemical change occurs called decarboxylation.  This big word simply means removing the carboxyl acids of the cannabinoids.5 This is a process your body naturally does with amino acids, and also one it naturally does with cannabinoid acids. Decarboxylating the cannabinoids before consuming them is similar to injecting racehorses with ATP instead of feeding them sufficient amino acids.

It is not harmful to consume decarboxylated cannabinoids, but it’s not the most natural nor the most beneficial way to consume them.

In fact, Dr. William Courtney points out that humans can consume up to 100 times more cannabinoids in their raw acid form than when they are decarbed.6
He explains that euphoria is triggered in some people after consuming 5-10mg of THC. Consuming 20mg is enough to trigger dysphoria (paranoia) in most individuals. However, no psychoactive effects are noticed in doses of THCA as high as 2,000mg.6

 

So what is the best way of consuming this “dietary essential”?Juicing.

Juicing.
That’s right: Juicing fresh, raw cannabis is the best way to consume the plant.

Again, Dr. Jeffrey C. Raber Ph.D. explains:

“Juicing is working because it provides the cannabinoid acids, which are potent compounds that help regulate the endocannabinoid system in ways not fully understood just yet.” 3

Dr. William Courtney tells us

“The cannabinoids are fat-soluble, so at this point, we are trying to encourage people to put the cannabinoids into a drink that has a lot of fat content; something that has yogurt or ice-cream, or coconut milk or hemp milk. As you increase the fat content, then the cannabinoids can dissolve into that fat, which will elevate the amount that you can have per milliliter of juice.”

Hemp milk isn’t just a good choice because it’s in the cannabis family. Dr. Courtney continues:

“Hemp seeds (used to produce hemp milk) are an excellent source of the essential amino acids in a very balanced form, and it’s also a source of the essential fatty acids uniquely balanced in the exact ratio required by the human body.”

So the seeds provide us with all the essential amino acids (protein), along with perfectly balanced Omega 3, 6, and 9. Meanwhile, the flowers and leaves provide us with unique cannabinoid acids along with an incredible array of terpenes (essential oils) and flavonoids that provide a wide range of dietary benefits.

How Cannabinoids Benefit Your Body

Science is still coming to terms with the discovery of the endocannabinoid system. That’s right, every living creature with a central nervous system has an endocannabinoid system, and we all produce cannabinoids inside our bodies (called endocannabinoids).

There was a time when science didn’t fully understand vitamins. When sailors spent too long at sea, they came down with an illness called Scurvy, what we now know to be vitamin C deficiency. There are some researchers who believe many modern illnesses may actually be symptoms of a cannabinoid deficiency.

As a medicine, cannabis has been shown to be effective in treating: multiple sclerosis, seizures, glaucoma, anorexia, nausea, neuropathic pain, ADD / ADHD, AIDS, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, asthma, several forms of cancer, the list goes on and on.7

CBD has been found to act as an antipsychotic, anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and a neuroprotectant.6

These same illnesses are treated when raw cannabis is consumed as a food.6

Unlike traditional neurotransmitters, which are pre-synthesized and stored in small “packages” called vesicles on each neuron; endocannabinoids are synthesized as needed by the lipids (fats) making up the neuronal cell wall.8
This means that consuming foods which supply the building blocks of cannabinoids is extremely beneficial for the treatment of ALL of these illnesses and their related symptoms.

There is no better source for the building blocks of cannabinoids than raw cannabis.

Cost and Availability

One of the biggest limiting factors in the ability to juice and consume raw cannabis is the cost. Most people simply could not afford what it would cost to regularly buy the amount of cannabis needed to juice and consume it every day.

On the other hand, experts like Dr. Courtney say that a “phenomenal number of people” are able to slowly wean themselves off of prescription medications within a few months of starting to consume cannabis. So that money that was going towards prescription meds could instead be used to purchase raw cannabis.

Another limiting factor is access. With current laws restricting the growth and sales of cannabis, most people wouldn’t even know where to look for fresh, raw cannabis.

With medical and scientific experts calling this plant a “dietary essential”6 – isn’t it time that we changed our laws surrounding cannabis?

The best thing you and I can do to help change these archaic laws is to first educate ourselves on the benefits, and then share that information with others.

Reading this article isn’t enough. Check our references, and try to prove this information wrong. In doing so, you may inadvertently prove it to yourself in a much deeper way.

Then, once you are confident in your knowledge, try sharing some of this information with people whom you think could benefit from it. Only when enough of us are active AND well educated can we truly make a difference.

Check out this video interview with Dr. William Courtney:

References:

1.
What are functional foods? – Mayo Clinic . Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/functional-foods/faq-20057816. Published April 15, 2015. Accessed November 22, 2016.
2.
Dr. William L. Courtney. Medical Jane. https://www.medicaljane.com/directory/professional/dr-william-l-courtney/. Published January 14, 2015. Accessed November 22, 2016.
3.
Group E. Juicing RAW Cannabis – Eating RAW Cannabis? Dr. Group’s Natural Health & Organic Living Blog. http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/juicing-raw-cannabis-eating-raw-cannabis/. Published March 1, 2012. Accessed November 22, 2016.
4.
Team Members. The Werc Shop – Analytical Testing Laboratory. http://thewercshop.com/about/team-members/. Accessed November 22, 2016.
5.
Decarboxylation. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decarboxylation. Accessed November 22, 2016.
6.
Courtney W. Raw Cannabis Advantages – William Courtney, MD. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlsBGXNxJYU. Published May 5, 2013. Accessed November 22, 2016. [Source]
7.
Category:Health Benefits of Cannabis. The Cannapedia. http://thecannapedia.org/cannawiki/index.php?title=Category:Health_Benefits. Accessed November 22, 2016. [Source]
8.
Di M, De P, Bisogno T. The biosynthesis, fate and pharmacological properties of endocannabinoids. Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2005;(168):147-185. [PubMed]

The Business of Cannabis

I’m going to talk to you about getting into some aspect of the Business of Cannabis, but first a little about why me: I’ve been pioneering new products and new segments in the soyfoods industry for 36 years, and hemp food for 22 years.

I sold tofu in the Reagan ‘80s 1, which made it easy to sell hemp foods in the go-go ‘90s. I was first-mover by years in what today is more than 90% of the Canadian hemp industry – and provided the first business model. I was on the Inc 500 list of fastest-growing companies in 1993 2 – and introduced more than 150 products to the market. I literally wrote the book on hempseed foods 3, twice 4, and spoke to 3 million viewers about hemp foods on the Roseanne Show (afternoon talk show) on CBS in 1999 5 .

After spending $2.5 million and 8 years developing a branded 22-member global hemp food supply network selling over a dozen hemp foods internationally, I walked away from it and retired in 2002 when a hemp fiber group killed the food market for years by suing DEA over food against my wishes. 6

Ten years ago I moved to Colorado, where I researched and documented the emerging CBD hemp industry. I started and run both the Hemp Food Association, started in 1998, and the Medicinal Hemp Association to advocate and educate on CBD. I’ve been advocating for Cannabis reform since 1972 and California’s first Proposition 19, to legalize.

I’m 60 years old now, and after spending the last 44 years studying and advocating Cannabis, I have to say that today is an incredibly exciting time to be alive if you are a friend of her. Just this week 7 more US states legalized, bringing to 45 (90% of the 50) states which have some form of Cannabis legalization 7 , including the population centers of California, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois. And President Obama said just last week that federal prohibition was “untenable.” 8

Notwithstanding the fact that Trump was elected President, things are about to change and change fast in the US, which means big changes for other nations will also move faster. The business of Cannabis is massive in its volume, turnover, scale, technology, potential, and most importantly, its relevance to healing, health, and well-being. 100% of the human and pet population can benefit from Cannabinoids. 9  If you are a young person looking for a career or profession, few other industries will offer you the security, creativity, upside potential, or fun.

While you may at first consider working with another Cannabis company to gain experience (even Master Growers make $120,000 10 ), I am here to tell you that perhaps the best thing you can do for yourself is starting your own business. In America, we use a French term for that: Entrepreneurship. Your own company gives you far more freedom from bosses, creative expression, the potential to make millions, and daily fun.

What is a “Cannabis Business”?

First, let’s define what is a “Cannabis business:” although the British have popularized the word “Cannabis” to mean what Americans call “marijuana,” in fact the genus Cannabis includes hemp, long marijuana’s red-haired stepchild11 . Few understand that while marijuana is basically only good for producing Cannabinoids and Terpenes (hallelujah!), hemp also does that, and so much more:

  • superfoods like protein and omega-3
  • sprouts
  • Cannflavins
  • Cannabisin
  • CBD
  • CBG
  • terpenes
  • building materials
  • clothes
  • textiles
  • diesel
  • alcohol
  • ethanol
  • carbon fiber
  • graphene supercapacitors
  • paper
  • culinary oil
  • and much more.

Hemp may disrupt entire old school industries, which is why recreational marijuana is more legal to grow than hemp in 7 states , and strangled by “research-only by universities” regulations.12

What Kinds of Businesses are Possible with Cannabis?

In Colorado, hemp and marijuana legalization brought about 18,000 new jobs in a state of 5 million. 13 Innovations such as 26% CBD hemp, 5% terpene marijuana, the first buildings made from hemp in the country, hundreds of millions of dollars from new taxes and new millionaires. The first CBD dabs, terpene dabs, fractional distillation, terpene as a solvent, sprouting, juicing, CBN production. Hemp (0.3% max THC) bred, grown, cured, extracted, and smoked like marijuana for the first time (for CBD). That’s the leading edge, and if you are looking for a new business to start, be sure to look to Colorado. In fact, I suggest you find best practices companies everywhere and emulate them. Borrow their best ideas for your new business.

I started an Inc 500 fastest-growing international food company with $400 and a spare bedroom and sold it 15 years later for almost $4 million.14 If I can do it, SO CAN YOU. Not all new businesses require tons of start-up capital. Consider leasing your equipment. Factoring your receivables. Get long payment terms from your suppliers but cash terms from your customers. Hit up your rich uncle to be an angel investor. Think outside the box, practice guerilla marketing.

Don’t waste your precious start-up capital on University, start a business instead (this coming from a guy with 2 degrees in marketing). Learn EVERYTHING you can about your chosen craft, but also marketing and finance because you are going to need it, big time.

The art in your business will often be developing workarounds for dealing with regulations, lack of financing, banking, and marketing. Expect push-back from friends, relatives, and the government, be polite but firm when confronted with insults to your vision.

Get up early and work late, because your competitors are. Maintain integrity, but don’t be a push-over. Milk the positive Public Relations aspect of what you are doing, that’s free advertising (use non-profit trade associations as a PR division of your company, the others do).

Give back to your community, just on principle. Always remember what drives you to do this, whether your customers, patients, children, or whatever.

Create entire new industries and product segments, and when you do, totally own them as long as possible. Protect IP ruthlessly, it might be worth a ton later on. Competitors are not your “Bro,” no matter how many times they call you that. Be more Pro than Bro.

How Big Is The Cannabis Market?

Every estimate on the size of the Cannabis industry is understated, some by an order of magnitude or more. Those are all based on how Cannabis will impact EXISTING industries and companies. On that they may be right: for instance, I expect at least 15% of pharmaceuticals will be disrupted by Cannabinoid medicines.15 However, those estimates don’t include the entire new industries and industry segments that will be created, like I did with “Hemp Nut” shelled hempseed in North America 20 years ago. It is very likely that the overall Cannabis industry in 20 years will be in the many Trillions of dollars, that’s thousands of billions of dollars.16

So What is Possible For You to do as a New Business?

The obvious ones of course: growing flowers and extracting (it’s not all about THC any longer; with 144 Cannabinoids and 120 Terpenes, the range of possible blends is over 14,000). Dabs, shatter, wax, crumble, oils, tinctures, capsules, nanoparticles, Nobacco and Not-Pot CBD flowers and dabs, vape drippers and cartridges, 17 inhalers, eye drops, skin sprays, nasal sprays, transdermal patches, chewing gum, isolates, edibles (the THC “medibles” market in just Colorado is larger than all edible hemp products imported from Canada 18 ), and more. All those could either be THC products, the somewhat more legal CBD, or whatever.

Then there’s the seed: shelled or pressed for oil, with the very high-quality protein and omega-3 in the nut you can make medical and nutritional drinks like Ensure, an energy blast like 5-hour energy shot, medical and special-diet foods, or functional foods. Extract cancer-fighting Cannabisin from the shells.19 Sprouts taste great and contain CBG and Cannaflavins. From the nut make burgers, breads, milk, cheese, yogurt, drinks, bars, bake mixes, cookies, ice cream, and more. Perhaps even with 25 mg of CBD per serving. Seed, sprouts, and fresh or dried tops can be powdered without heat. Juice fresh tops like wheatgrass. Seed oil can be used in cosmetics or cooking – and is high in omega-3 and GLA. Or in body care products, like lotions. It can even be used to make a hot oil hair pack, soap or diesel fuel.

Use Cannabis essential oil for its medicinal properties, or to scent a perfume or room freshener. It can also be used as a flavoring for candies and energy drinks to taste like a grow room in flower.

On the fiber side, you could do clothes, woven and nonwoven textiles, cordage, even replace fiberglass insulation with hempcrete. Someday your car and home may be powered by hemp: graphene supercapacitors made from hemp fiber are cheaper and perform better.20 Single-atom-thick carbon-fiber from hemp is totally possible, too.21 Ethanol and moonshine can be made from the stalk, which can be petrified to be harder than drumsticks. Plastics can be made with hemp22 , also paper and cardboard boxes, toilet paper. Zeoform furniture, and surfboards. Cars even contain hemp fiber in the interior panels and for sound-deadening.23 Then there’s phytoremediation, healing contaminated soil,24 as well as breaking up compacted soil, as a rotation crop, or stabilizing erosion.

Consider the ancillary industries: open an analytical lab, or a clinic for patients, or produce clones, or breed and multiply new cultivars.

Or in finance: do credit card processing, or lease equipment, perhaps a roll-up of a handful of Cannabis businesses, go public and float stock. If you have experience in other industries, pivot to Cannabis. The world of Cannabis is huge, and getting bigger by the day. Be part of it, it needs you and your talents, vision and good energy.

What About Prohibition?

If you live in a state or country with Prohibition and are afraid of trouble, know this: the most repressive laws and cruelest law enforcement on the planet couldn’t even make a tiny dent in the Cannabis industry in the US. As of now, 45 of the 50 states, 90%, have listened to a majority of the people and legalized some form of Cannabis.7 If it can happen there under very difficult conditions, it can happen anywhere. Including your country too, but you can’t wait for someone else to do it. You have to be the change you want to see. Write letters, make phone calls, see your politicians face-to-face, make them feel safe legalizing, that the people are on their side. Build coalitions with others, get active. If the laws can change in the US, they can change where you live too. Make it so.

In the meantime, do a Canna-business that won’t get you in trouble. Publish a magazine, write a book, educate in town halls, teach your friends and neighbors. Change is in the air, everywhere. Not only the US; the Police Union in Italy recently came out for legalization. There will very soon be a tipping point at which time massive change will happen fast. Like with the Hundredth Monkey phenomenon, YOU be the 100th monkey. You owe it to yourself, your brethren, and the world.
– Richard Rose
11/11/16
Cannafest, Prague

References:

1.
Stewart C. Santa Rosa Man Sells Food Derived from the Plant. San Francisco Chronicle. http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Hemp-Hemp-Hooray-Santa-Rosa-man-sells-food-2949011.php. Published February 23, 2001. Accessed November 18, 2016.
2.
Sharon’s Finest (281) – America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies. Inc.com. http://www.inc.com/magazine/19931001/6089.html. Published September 30, 1993. Accessed November 18, 2016.
3.
Rose R, Mars B. The Hemp Nut Health and Cookbook. HempNut Inc.; 2000.
4.
Rose R, Mars B. The Hempnut Cookbook. Book Publishing Company (TN); 2004.
5.
Barr R. Roseanne and Richard Make HempNut Potato Salad (1999). YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxnJxrWg9ys&t=36s. Published December 29, 2015. Accessed November 18, 2016. [Source]
6.
Information: Legal Cases: DEA Hemp Food Rules. Vote Hemp. http://www.votehemp.com/legal_cases_DEA.html. Accessed November 18, 2016.
7.
State Marijuana Laws in 2016 Map. Governing. http://www.governing.com/gov-data/state-marijuana-laws-map-medical-recreational.html. Accessed November 18, 2016.
8.
Maher B. President Obama: FULL INTERVIEW | Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO). YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXH5agV7skw. Published November 4, 2016. Accessed November 18, 2016. [Source]
9.
Endocannabinoid system. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endocannabinoid_system. Accessed November 18, 2016.
10.
Master Grower. THC JOBS. https://www.thcjobs.com/job/master-grower-9/. Published July 7, 2015. Accessed November 18, 2016.
11.
Cannabis. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabis. Accessed November 18, 2016.
12.
Marijuana research will remain restricted with DEA decision. STAT. https://www.statnews.com/2016/08/10/marijuana-medical-research-dea/. Published August 11, 2016. Accessed November 18, 2016.
13.
Ingraham C. The marijuana industry created more than 18,000 new jobs in Colorado last year. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/10/27/the-marijuana-industry-created-over-18000-new-jobs-in-colorado-last-year/. Published October 27, 2016. Accessed November 18, 2016.
14.
Times SA. Tree of Life acquires soy cheese company. St. Augustine Times. http://staugustine.com/stories/042501/bus_0425010039.shtml#.WC8b6hIrISQ. Published April 25, 2001. Accessed November 18, 2016.
15.
ASX Company to Disrupt $916BN Big Pharma Industry? The Next Biotech. http://www.nextbiotech.com.au/asx-company-to-disrupt-916bn-big-pharma-industry/. Published July 20, 2015. Accessed November 21, 2016.
16.
L. Is Cannabis the World’s Next Disruptive Innovator? Harmony. http://meetharmony.com/2016/10/14/cannabis-industry-new-disruptor-market/. Published October 14, 2016. Accessed November 21, 2016.
17.
Product. CannaKorp. http://www.cannakorp.com/product/. Accessed November 21, 2016.
18.
Huddleston, Jr. T, Huddleston, Jr.                      Tom. The Legal Pot Market Could Hit $22 Billion in Sales By 2020. Fortune. http://fortune.com/2016/02/01/marijuana-sales-legal/. Published February 1, 2016. Accessed November 18, 2016.
19.
Cannabisin B induces autophagic cell death by inhibiting the AKT/mTOR pathway and S phase cell cycle arrest in HepG2 cells . Science Direct. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814612018468. Published June 1, 2013. Accessed November 18, 2016.
20.
Hemp fibres “better than graphene” – BBC News. BBC News. http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-28770876. Published August 13, 2014. Accessed November 18, 2016.
21.
Scientists mix carbon fibre & hemp for lighter auto parts – The Economic Times. The Economic Times. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/auto/news/auto-components/scientists-mix-carbon-fibre-hemp-for-lighter-auto-parts/articleshow/45822335.cms. Accessed November 21, 2016.
22.
Chemurgy – The Hemp Body or Soybean Car. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemurgy#The_Hemp_Body_or_Soybean_Car. Accessed November 18, 2016.
23.
Teague C. These Luxury Cars Are Made From Hemp. HERB. http://herb.co/2016/06/11/luxury-cars-hemp/. Published June 11, 2016. Accessed November 21, 2016.
24.
              MintPress News Desk                    . How Hemp Can Clean Up Radiation From Fukushima Nuclear Disaster. MintPress News. http://www.mintpressnews.com/how-hemp-can-can-clean-up-radiation-from-fukushima-nuclear-disaster/210098/. Published October 6, 2015. Accessed November 18, 2016.
Marijuana inside your Brain

Marijuana Your Body Makes – Endocannabinoids

Inside your body are millions of cannabinoid receptors. They have one purpose: to receive and process neurotransmitters known as cannabinoids – substances your body naturally produces (called endocannabinoids), and named for the fact that they are found in the cannabis plant, or marijuana.1, 2

In fact, cannabinoid receptor type 1 (referred to simply as CB1) is one of the most abundant G-protein coupled receptors in the human brain.3

CB1 receptors operate in a way that scientists used to believe was impossible: retrograde signaling. That means cannabinoids are the only known brain signals that travel BACKWARDS across the synapse to regulate the signaling neuron.4

Typically, neurotransmitters flow in one direction: from the signaling neuron to the receptor neuron. Messages can travel in both directions during the growth and development of the nervous system, but adult neurons can only fire in one direction. Recently scientists have discovered that cannabinoids actually travel the opposite way – called retrograde signaling.4

When a receptor neuron is being over-stimulated, it can actually send a message backwards – to the signaling neuron, telling it to calm down, and stop signaling so much. The only neurotransmitters that have been found to do this in adult neurons are cannabinoids.4

Why Is There No Lethal Dose For Cannabis?

Cannabis appears to work completely differently in our brains and neurons than any other known substance.

Imagine you have two people talking: a speaker and a listener. Now let’s simulate a drug like morphine on this conversation. Unknown to the speaker, someone has put ear plugs in the ears of the listener. The speaker keeps talking, but the listener doesn’t hear a word.5

Maybe the speaker would start to speak louder, trying to be heard. Maybe they would scream, shout, and wear themselves out trying to be heard by the listener – but all to no effect, since the listener has ear plugs in.

Instead, let’s simulate cannabis on this conversation: Rather than blocking the listener from hearing, we go directly to the speaker and tell them to stop speaking for a bit.67

Now there is no miscommunication, and there is no wasted effort. The speaker simply knows that the listener doesn’t want to listen right now, and so stops trying. This is why cannabis is so effective at treating pain and inflammation. It doesn’t block the pain signal from being “heard”, but rather it can tell pain neurons to quiet down and stop passing on their message.6

The endocannabinoid system allows receiving neurons to regulate their own incoming signals. Unlike conventional neurotransmitters, cannabinoids are neither excitatory (causing more stimulation) nor inhibitory (causing less stimulation) – yet at the same time they are both, since they modulate the incoming signal.8 Cannabinoids simply turn on or off other neurotransmitters, so if they act on an excitatory signal, they function as inhibitors. This is how they treat symptoms like chronic pain, post traumatic stress, and seizures. If they act on an inhibitory signal they function as stimulants, and this is how they treat symptoms like depression or lack of hunger.

Since this is a natural process in our neurons, cannabis based medicines are proving to be extremely effective. There is no lethal dose for any known cannabinoid. This is also due to another key feature of cannabinoids as neurotransmitters, as we will see in the next section.

Water Soluble Vs Fat Soluble

Structure of a typical chemical synapse

Structure of a typical chemical synapse

Conventional neurotransmitters are water-soluble, meaning they dissolve in water and have polarity (they have positive and negative poles).6

Neurotransmitters are usually stored in concentrated packets waiting to be released by the neuron. These vesicles are positioned to release their neurotransmitters very close to their receptors. As already mentioned, they travel only in one direction: from the presynaptic neuron to the postsynaptic neuron.9

When a neuron fires, it sends an electrical signal down its axon to its tips (presynaptic terminals). This causes those packets of neurotransmitters to be released across the gap (synapse) to the recipient (postsynaptic neuron).9

However, cannabinoids are fat-soluble, meaning they DON’T dissolve in water, and they lack conventional polarity. They also are not pre-made or stored anywhere in your neurons.10

When needed, endocannabinoids are rapidly synthesized from components (mostly fats, or lipids) that make up the postsynaptic cell membrane. Then they are released from all over the cell and make their way back to CB1 receptors on the presynaptic neuron.11

Oil and water don’t mix, and the space around your neurons (the extracellular environment) is mostly water. This means that endocannabinoids released from one neuron don’t travel very far, and tend to travel perfectly backwards across the synapse to the signaling neuron (known as retrograde signaling).12

For this reason, cannabinoids and endocannabinoids cannot diffuse or spread throughout the watery extracellular environment of your brain and nervous system. Hence the lack of toxicity with no known lethal dose.1213

Cannabis is an Effective Treatment

Rather than stopping the receiver (postsynaptic neuron) from receiving and passing on the message, cannabinoids regulate the sender of the message (the presynaptic neuron).67

This is why cannabinoids are so effective at treating all kinds of neurological issues; from chronic pain 14, to post traumatic stress (PTSD) 15, to phobias – cannabinoids effectively “turn down the volume” of these undesirable signals.6

In addition, your body only produces and releases endocannabinoids when neurons fire repeatedly – five or even ten times in a row.6 This means it allows you to “get the message” but it stops the message from becoming redundant. This also helps calm the kind of neuronal storms that are associated with epileptic seizures and hyperactivity.16

Yet at the same time, there are little to no side-effects because of the method of action. The signaling neuron won’t exhaust its neurotransmitters in a vain attempt to be heard, and those un-received signals won’t dissolve into the intracellular water – spreading throughout your nervous system. Remember, oil and water don’t mix. Unlike other neurotransmitters which are water soluble, cannabinoids are fat-soluble.

Cannabis is Required For Health

PTSD

Cannabis has proven effective in treating PTSD

Experiments suggest that insufficient release of endocannabinoids is perhaps the root cause of chronic anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.17

Large concentrations of cannabinoid receptors have been observed in several of the brains pain centers, indicating that cannabinoids are integral to your body’s own management of pain.18

Cannabinoid receptors (specifically CB1) are the most abundant G-protein coupled receptors in the human brain. Areas responsible for complex motor functions, cognition, learning, memory – are all dense with CB1 cannabinoid receptors.6

Clearly cannabinoids are an important neurotransmitter. However, unlike typical neurotransmitters, they are not pre-synthesized nor are they stored in the neurons. They must be synthesized by components within the cell membrane when they are needed.

So if your diet and lifestyle, environmental factors, or genetics have left your neurons deficient in healthy fats and other components – they cannot produce enough endocannabinoids to modulate signals for pain, fear, desire, learning, cognition, and so on.

This is why cannabis, as a health supplement, is so important for optimal human health. Not only does the cannabis plant contain cannabinoids (phytocannabinoids) that exactly match our own, but the plant also contains the nutrition our bodies need to produce our own endocannabinoids.

This article has only focused on the effects of the CB1 receptors in your brain and nervous system. Yet scientists have also identified cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2 receptors) which exist in your immune system, reproductive system, gastrointestinal system, peripheral nervous system, and even in your brain as well.

Our next article will focus on modern research and findings into the functions and benefits of this second major discovery.

References:


1.
Devane W, Dysarz F, Johnson M, Melvin L, Howlett A. Determination and characterization of a cannabinoid receptor in rat brain. Mol Pharmacol. 1988;34(5):605-613. [PubMed]
2.
Pacher P, Bátkai S, Kunos G. The endocannabinoid system as an emerging target of pharmacotherapy. Pharmacol Rev. 2006;58(3):389-462. [PubMed]
3.
Callén                L, Moreno        E, Barroso-Chinea P, et al. Cannabinoid Receptors CB1 and CB2 Form Functional Heteromers in Brain*. Journal of Biological Chemistry. http://www.jbc.org/content/287/25/20851.full. Published April 24, 2012. Accessed November 5, 2016.
4.
AC and Regehr WG K. Retrograde signaling by endocannabinoids. – PubMed – NCBI . PubMed. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12049940. Published June 12, 2002. Accessed November 5, 2016.
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Harkany T, Mackie K, Doherty P. Wiring and firing neuronal networks: endocannabinoids take center stage. Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2008;18(3):338-345. [PubMed]
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Cannabinoid – Endocannabinoids – Function – Retrograde signal. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabinoid#Function. Accessed November 6, 2016.
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Pharmacology and effects of cannabis: a brief review | The British Journal of Psychiatry. The British Journal of Psychiatry. http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/178/2/101.full. Published February 2001. Accessed November 5, 2016.
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Biology of endocannabinoid synthesis system . Science Direct. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1098882308000890. Published September 2009. Accessed November 5, 2016.
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Cannabinoid – Endocannabinoids – Function – Range. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabinoid#Function. Published November 1, 2016. Accessed November 5, 2016.
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Clauw DJ, Litinas E, Boehnke KF. Medical Cannabis Use Is Associated With Decreased Opiate Medication Use in a Retrospective Cross-Sectional Survey of Patients With Chronic Pain. jpain. 2016;17(6):739-744. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1526590016005678.
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Akirav I, Segev A, Mizrachi Zer-Aviv T. Cannabinoids and post-traumatic stress disorder: clinical and preclinical evidence for treatment and prevention. Behavioral Pharmacology. 2016;27(7):561-569. doi: 10.1097/FBP.0000000000000253 [Source]
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The Endocannabinoid System and Pain. PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2834283/. Published December 8, 2009. Accessed November 6, 2016.
Hemp Oil and seeds

Hemp, Cannabis, Marijuana, what’s the difference?

If you’re like me, you’re probably confused by the unofficial and conversational use of words like hemp, marijuana, cannabis, weed, pot, and on and on…

What’s worse, these words are often used interchangeably. Now, we even have products coming out that use variations of these words purely for marketing and branding purposes.

In fact, we’re even guilty of that – using the name “The Cannapedia” for our foundation.

So which is what?

Botanically, the genus Cannabis is the only plant that contains unique compounds called cannabinoids. To date, 144 unique cannabinoids have been identified, but the most publicized (and litigated) cannabinoids are THC and CBD. As we will see, THC is used to define the legal status of cannabis, and the other cannabinoids are used to differentiate between colloquial “hemp” and “cannabis”.

THC is the psychoactive substance, and what is considered to be an illegal substance. The word “marijuana” (originally marihuana) is actually a slang term that was codified into law by the United States with the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act.1 It was further codified in 1970 with the Controlled Substances Act which legally defined marihuana as the flowering tops (buds), the leaves, and the resin of the cannabis plant.2 Today we would consider this to mean the parts of the plant with high concentrations of THC.

CBD is actually anti-psychoactive 3, and it negates the intoxicating “high” effects of THC. In addition, CBD is being studied for a myriad of healthful and beneficial effects.

Is it Hemp or Cannabis?

In colloquial terms, marijuana is any form of cannabis that naturally produces high levels of THC and low levels of CBD – marijuana is grown to be used as a drug that gets you high.

Conversely, hemp is any form of cannabis that naturally produces low levels of THC – hemp is grown for industrial applications like food, clothing, soaps, building materials, plastics, paper, soaps, and more.

So a quick generalization is:

  • Hemp = legal cannabis
  • Marijuana = illegal cannabis

So when you see products like hemp clothing, hemp soap, or even hemp oil – this is an industrial or consumer product produced from industrial (low THC) strains of the Cannabis plant.

What About Cannabis Oil?

Now we enter truly murky waters. There is no scientific distinction between the names cannabis and hemp. In fact, they are both thought to be derived from the same root word.4 However groups like HIA (the Hemp Industries Association) have fought long and costly battles to keep hemp foods legal in the United States.5 To keep the lines between legal and illegal clearly established, HIA have pushed for items branded and marketed as “hemp” to be made from industrial hemp, and intended to be food or industrial products.6 With this in mind products labelled “hemp oil” are completely different than products labeled “cannabis oil”.

Hemp oil is actually hemp seed oil – and is pressed out of the seeds of the plant. It is meant to be used for cooking, as a salad dressing, or as an Omega 3 supplement.

Cannabis oil is a product manufactured from the plant itself, not the seeds, and it is intended to be a source of cannabinoids – for their beneficial and healthful properties.
Sometimes cannabis oil is mistakenly labeled as CBD oil – which should mean oil with refined or isolated CBD and no other cannabinoids.
This has lead to the phrase “full spectrum cannabis oil” which refers to cannabis oil with all legal cannabinoids in their natural ratios. It is still made from industrial hemp (low THC – below 0.3%), however it is processed to favor the beneficial cannabinoids.

So more and more, cannabis is associated with CBD and the unique cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, while hemp is associated with the fiber, cellulose, and seeds of the plant.

If you read about the health benefits of CBD and other cannabinoids online, then the product you read about is cannabis oil. However if you’re looking to make a salad, then you’re probably looking for hemp oil.

1.
The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 – Full Text of the Act. Schaffer Library of Drug Policy. http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/hemp/taxact/mjtaxact.htm. Published August 2, 1937. Accessed November 2, 2016.
2.
Title 21 United States Code (USC) Controlled Substances Act – Section 802(16). Department of Justice. https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/21cfr/21usc/802.htm. Published October 27, 1970. Accessed November 2, 2016.
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Leweke F, Mueller J, Lange B, Rohleder C. Therapeutic Potential of Cannabinoids in Psychosis. Biol Psychiatry. 2016;79(7):604-612. [PubMed]
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Hemp – Etymology. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemp#Etymology. Accessed November 2, 2016.
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HEMP INDUSTRIES ASSOC. v. DEA. Vote Hemp. http://www.votehemp.com/PDF/HIAvDEA_9th_final_decision.pdf. Published September 17, 2003. Accessed November 2, 2016.
6.
Hemp Industries Association Position on CBD Extracts Misbranded and Marketed as “Hemp Oil.” http://www.thehia.org/. http://www.thehia.org/Resources/PressReleases/HIA-position-CBD-FINAL.pdf. Published June 26, 2014. Accessed November 2, 2016.

Cannabis Construction with Hemp Concrete

Current construction methods use materials that are not sustainable, add to the CO2 crisis, and also require toxic chemicals to produce.

What if there was a material that grew from a renewable resource that was grown without chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides? What if it could be produced without using any toxic chemicals, and actually absorbed CO2 out of the atmosphere? Read more