Endocannabinoid System

Understanding The Spectrum of Hemp

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With the rising popularity of hemp derived CBD products, the number of choices and options for consumers can seem overwhelming at times. This article aims to shed some light on one of the key variables to help demystify the terminology of “spectrums” surrounding these hemp products.

You may have heard the terms full-spectrum, isolate, non-isolate and broad spectrum thrown around, but many customers don’t fully understand the significance of these descriptors.

The meaning of these variations is an important factor in choosing the hemp or cannabis product that is right for you.

The spectrum being described by these terms refers to the molecules derived from the hemp plant known as cannabinoids. While there are more than 100 known cannabinoids identified in hemp and cannabis plants, the spectrum which is most often analyzed and discussed focuses on a more narrow range of typically 10 cannabinoids.

These plant molecules, also known more specifically as phytocannabinoids, interact with the human endocannabinoid system (ECS). The human endocannabinoid system is one of the most important discoveries in recent medical history and it has been found to regulate multiple critical functions in the human brain and body.

The interaction of the exogenous phytocannabinoids with receptors of the internal ECS help balance and regulate any potential deficiency or excess of naturally occurring endocannabinoids (endogenous neurotransmitters such as anandamide & 2-AG) to promote homeostasis within the human brain and body. This interaction is a key reason why so many individuals experience benefits from hemp derived products across a wide range of issues.

When it comes to hemp derived products the key molecule to discuss is Cannabidiol – commonly referred to as CBD.

CBD Isolate
CBD Isolate refers to a single molecule product where the Cannabidiol molecule is extracted from the plant to remove all of the other cannabinoids and plant material to produce a white, crystalline powder that is as high as 99.9% pure CBD. This crystallized powder is then formulated into various products including gummies, tinctures, edibles, topicals and more.

Benefits of CBD Isolate include rapid absorption, consistent and accurate dosing and shelf life stability.

Full Spectrum
Full Spectrum CBD Oil usually refers to oil that contains a wide range of cannabinoids and plant molecules. Full-spectrum CBD Oil will typically contain anywhere from 15% to as high as 80% cannabidiol with smaller percentages of other cannabinoids such as CBN (Cannabinol), CBG (Cannabigerol), CBC (Cannabichromene) and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol).

Many users find Full-Spectrum Oil to be more beneficial since there are multiple cannabinoids working together with plant molecules such as chlorophyll, vitamins and terpenes to produce synergistic effects commonly referred to as the “Entourage Effect”. Since each person’s biochemistry is unique, a wider range of cannabinoids can potentially offer a better potential outcome for a larger number of users.

To be legally defined as Hemp, the levels of delta-9 THC must be not more than 0.3% according to the 2018 Farm Bill legislation. Similar to CBD Isolate, the full-spectrum extract is formulated into various products such as tinctures, vape cartridges and topicals.

Broad Spectrum
A new terminology has emerged recently to describe a distillate oil that falls somewhere in between isolate and full spectrum, which is called Broad Spectrum CBD Oil. Broad Spectrum CBD Oil is similar to Full Spectrum, but it is further refined to remove the THC below detectable levels while keeping the other beneficial cannabinoids in the oil.

Broad Spectrum CBD oil typically contains somewhere between 70% to 90% Cannabidiol while retaining the other beneficial cannabinoids and plant molecules such as CBN, CBC, CBG and CBDv with no detectable THC.

Broad Spectrum is an excellent choice for customers who desire the benefits of the “Entourage Effect” but do not want any THC in their product. This is especially beneficial for people who may be subject to testing for THC for work or other requirements.

Broad Spectrum oil is used to formulate CBD oil tinctures, CBD vape cartridges, CBD topicals creams and other high quality products.

While there are many other factors to consider when choosing your CBD products, hopefully this explanation of the differences between isolate, full spectrum and broad spectrum will provide some insight into which option is the best fit for your individual wellness regimen!

3 Cannabinoids To Consider For Your Health

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3 Cannabinoids To Consider For Your Health

When it comes to cannabinoids, many people are familiar with the two most commonly known molecules, THC and CBD (and their respective variants).

CannabinoidsWhat many people don’t know however is that these molecules have many counterparts within the hemp and cannabis plant genealogy.

There are currently a minimum of 113 known cannabinoids that have been identified through research and independent studies.

Research has revealed that the human endocannabinoid system (ECS) regulates homeostasis within the human body and these plant based molecules (phyto-cannabinoids) interact with the ECS and endogenous cannabinoids to deliver the myriad health benefits that have been reported by users and confirmed in numerous studies.

Below you will find a brief summary of 3 cannabinoids getting more attention recently for their potential holistic properties and health benefits.

CBN – Cannabinol

Cannabinol, or CBN may sound very similar to it’s relative Cannabidiol (CBD) but CBN displays its own unique array of medical benefits and effects that have researchers anxious to continue investigating this molecule.

Some of the benefits already discovered include:

  • Pain relief [1]
  • Anti-insomnia [2]
  • Promotes growth of bone cells
  • Antibacterial [3]
  • Anti-inflammatory [4]
  • Anti-convulsive
  • Appetite stimulant [5]

One of CBN’s most interesting and noteworthy attributes is the sedative effect it has on users. According to a study by Steep Hill Labs, 5mg of CBN is as effective as a 10mg dose of the pharmaceutical sedative diazepam.

CBN does not induce a psychoactive effect and has shown no negative side effects.

CBC – Cannabichromene

Cannabichromene is another lesser known cannabinoid that has some amazing potential medical benefits for users.

Recent studies have suggested that CBC may contribute to the overall analgesic effects of medical cannabis.

Here of some of the most noteworthy findings so far about CBC:

  • Promotes Neurogenesis (Brain Growth) [6]
  • Antidepressant [7]
  • Anti-inflammatory [8]
  • Pain relief [9]
  • Antibacterial and antifungal [10]

CBC has been found to interact with many receptors in the brain. While it is common for most cannabinoids to interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, CBD interacts with other receptors as well.

CBC in particular is known to interact with the TRPV1 and TRPA1 receptors as well, which may result in some of its medicinal properties.[6]

CBG – Cannabigerol

CBG is a cannabinoid that is known as the building block for many compounds in cannabis, including THC and CBD.

CBG is non-psychoactive and can be thought of as the “stem cell” or “parent” of other cannabinoids. However, CBG is not found in high concentrations in most strains. Certain strains of hemp may have higher CBG content.

CBG is important because of its numerous health benefits, especially for people with disorders affecting the central nervous system, including neurological diseases, skin disorders, chronic pain, and others.

The medical benefits of CBG are still under investigation, but the list thus far is impressive and growing.

  • Stimulates bone formation and healing [11]
  • Slows tumor growth [12]
  • Antifungal and antibacterial treatment. [13]
  • Relieves pain [14]
  • Reduces inflammation [15]
  • Overactive bladder treatment  [16]
  • Psoriasis and skin treatment.  [17]
  • Glaucoma treatment. [18]
  • Depression and anxiety treatment [19]
  • Neuroprotective effects. [20]

CBG can also affect the body by increasing anandamide levels. Anandamide is a naturally-occurring cannabinoid that helps regulate many biological functions, including appetite, sleep and memory.

The effect of CBG on GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid – a brain chemical that regulates the activity of neurons) uptake was found to be greater than both THC and CBD in one study.

CBG has been shown to block serotonin receptors as well, which suggests a role for CBG in treating depression.

It’s important to note that much of the evidence comes from pre-clinical studies, meaning that the safety and efficacy of most cannabinoids has yet to be proven in humans. That being said, studies on CBN, CBC and CBG have revealed a wide range of possible benefits.

HealthSmart CBD offers full-spectrum hemp oil CBD products that include all three of the amazing cannabinoids and a more comprehensive array of medical cannabinoids than you can find anywhere in any other product.

The CBD Entourage Effect & Pain Management

By | CBD Oil, Endocannabinoid System, Hemp Oil, Medical Cannabis, Pain Relief | No Comments


Chronic pain is a public health issue of massive proportions, with more than 100 million Americans and more than 1.5 billion people globally suffering from pain lasting more than 24 hours.

In fact, chronic pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined.

The Cost Of Pain In America

As a society, the cost of pain is estimated in recent studies published by the Institute of Medicine to be “at least $560-$635 billion annually, an amount equal to about $2,000.00 for everyone living in the U.S.

Prescription painkillers have only made the problem much worse.

According to an article on CNN Health, “every day, 91 Americans die from an opioid overdose.”

“Drug overdoses overall — most of them from opioid painkillers and heroin — are the leading cause of accidental death in the US, killing more people than guns or car accidents.

In fact, while Americans represent only about 5% of the global population, they consume about 80% of the world’s opioid painkillers.<

New Discoveries With Ancient Roots

Cannabis has been used for more than twelve thousand years and for many different purposes (i.e. fiber, medicinal, recreational).

“The ability of extracts of the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa) to cause a variety of medicinal effects unrelated to its psychoactive properties had been recognized as early as the third millennium BC, when Chinese texts described its usefulness in the relief of pain and cramps (Mechoulam, 1986).”

“In ancient India, the anxiety-relieving effect of bhang (the Indian term for marijuana ingested as food) had been recorded more than 3000 years ago.”


During the 19th Century “cannabis extracts gained widespread use for medicinal purposes until 1937” when marijuana was banned by the US Federal Government.

With overwhelming public support and more states legalizing recreational and/or medical marijuana, cannabis has once again “recently been the focus of medical research and considered a potential therapeutic target [13].“

Endocannabinoids Regulate Analgesia & Inflammation

Groundbreaking discoveries about the “endocannabinoid system” or ECS and the potential implications of the “Entourage Effect” for pain mitigation without side effects are one of the most significant developments in medical neuroscience as it relates to human homeostasis and pain management.

According to the U.S. Department Of Health & Human Services (HHS), “the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids has been the topic of extensive investigation following the discovery of cannabinoid receptors and their endogenous ligands which are present at supraspinal, spinal and peripheral levels.

More significantly for the purposes of the present review, they are found at central and peripheral levels of the pain pathways [2832].”

Endocannabinoid receptors are in fact the most abundant receptors in the mammalian brain and are also found throughout the peripheral central nervous system and in muscles, bones, tissues and organs.

According to HHS, these receptors or “endocannabinoids” are “the brain’s own cannabis-like substances which serve as synaptic circuit breakers and regulate multiple physiological and pathological conditions including food intake regulation, immunomodulation, inflammation, analgesia (pain), cancer, addictive behavior, epilepsy and others.

Since the relatively recent discovery of endocannabinoids through the study of medical cannabis, the entire natural complex came to be called the “endogenous cannabinoid system,” or “endocannabinoid system” (ECS).

Topical Application of Cannabidiol (CBD)

Considering the fact that there are cannabinoid receptors throughout the peripheral CNS, it only makes sense that applying cannabinoids directly to the affected area with a salve, gel or balm would have therapeutic benefits.

This therapeutic benefit has been confirmed by clinical research published by the NIH National Library of Medicine: “These studies demonstrate transdermal administration of CBD has long-lasting therapeutic effects without psychoactive side-effects.”

Topical application of CBD has even shown great potential in these same studies as a treatment for chronic pain issues such as arthritis: “Topical CBD application has therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain-related behaviours and inflammation without evident side-effects.”

“Thus, use of topical CBD has potential as effective treatment of arthritic symptomatology. At present, one in five (21%) adults worldwide are diagnosed with some form of arthritis by their physicians (Helmick et al., 2008). The data presented suggest transdermal CBD is a good candidate for developing improved therapies for these debilitating disease.”

“Transdermal CBD gel significantly reduced joint swelling, limb posture scores as a rating of spontaneous pain, immune cell infiltration and thickening of the synovial membrane in a dose-dependent manner. “

“These studies suggest that manipulation of peripheral endocannabinoids may be promising strategy for the management of pain.”

Normalized Sleep With CBD Helps Pain

According to the US Department of Health & Human Services, National Institute of Health “Cannabinoids may have another therapeutic benefit in managing chronic pain, with regard to sleep. –  It has been reported that cannabinoids suppress sleep-related apnea.”

Opioid painkillers can also lead to more serious problems when taken in conjunction with other medications, especially benzodiazepines like Xanax.

Not only does normalized sleep improve pain relief and mood disorders associated with both poor pain control and poor sleep patterns, but there is significant risk of sleep-disordered breathing associated with central nervous system (CNS) drugs used to treat chronic pain.111

“Opioid analgesics are most problematic, especially if combined with other CNS depressants such as benzodiazepines. “

Improving Efficacy With Adjunctive Therapies

These studies also indicate that when intractable pain requires the use of opioid painkillers, cannabinoid treatment can be effectively used as an adjunctive treatment to improve the efficacy of the opioids while limiting the negative side effects.

“Adjunctive approaches show strong promise for improving the efficacy of existing pharmacotherapies for pain and limiting unwanted side-effect profiles.”

A Mountain Of Evidence

The scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of cannabinoids to regulate pain is overwhelming and backed by more than a decade of research.

Reports published by the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine find thatEndocannabinoids modulate pain under physiological conditions. and “Cannabidiol (CBD) attenuates inflammation and pain without side-effects.”

CBD and other plant derived cannabinoids have unlimited potential for new treatment options to help people with neuropathic and chronic pain conditions.

The phytocannabinoids have efficacy in the treatment of various chronic pain conditions with greatest promise as a therapeutic adjunct in treating peripheral and central neuropathic pain and inflammation-mediated chronic pain.

In addition to chronic pain relief, cannabinoids have also shown efficacy in treatment of acute pain as well.

“Exogenous administration of endocannabinoids or their modulation via inhibition of endocannabinoid deactivation or uptake can produce antinociception in acute pain models.”

The Entourage Effect – Cannabinoid/Terpene Synergy

Research has revealed that the holistic benefit and therapeutic results of cannabinoid related treatments can be greatly improved by “Entourage Effect” derived from nature’s divine integration of unique blends of terpenes and cannabinoids in cannabis plants.

According to the US National Institute of Health “A chemical class known as the terpenes shares a precursor molecule with phytocannabinoids; they are all flavor and fragrance components common to human diets.

Terpenes have been designated “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) by the US Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory agencies.

The entourage effect is the term used to describe enhancement of efficacy, with related improvement in overall therapeutic effectiveness, derived from combining phytocannabinoids and other plant-derived molecules.

Common cannabis-derived terpenes include limonene, myrcene, α-pinene, linalool, β-caryophyllene, caryophyllene oxide, nerolidol, and phytol.105 These terpenes are also found in many other plants.

Terpenes are quite potent and affect animal and even human behavior when inhaled in very low concentrations.

They display unique therapeutic effects that may contribute meaningfully to the entourage effects of Cannabis-based medicinal extracts.

Of particular interest are the phytocannabinoid–terpene interactions that could produce synergy with respect to treatment of pain and inflammation.

Phytocannabinoid–terpene synergy increases the likelihood that an extensive pipeline of new therapeutic products is possible from this age-old plant.

The terpene β-caryophyllene is found in a number of commonly available plants, including black pepper, cinnamon, clove, and other spices.  It selectively binds to the CB2 receptor at nanomolar concentrations and acts as a full agonist.

“β-Caryophyllene and cannabidiol occur abundantly in Cannabis sativa.

“So this plant species produces at least two entirely different chemical substances able to target CB2 receptors differentially.”

“While studies on the pharmacokinetics of β-caryophyllene are still on-going, it is already clear that this terpene is readily bioavailable.“

“Orally administered β-caryophyllene (<5 mg·kg−1) produces strong anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects”107

“On-going studies show that β-caryophyllene is effective at reducing neuropathic pain in a CB2 receptor-dependent manner.”108

Like other CB2 ligands β-caryophyllene inhibits the pathways – of pro-inflammatory cytokines and promotes a Th1 immune response that plays a critical role in neuroinflammation, sensitization, and pain.109

Therefore, the FDA-approved food additive β-caryophyllene seems an attractive candidate for clinical trials targeting the CB2 receptor.

The NIH Studies also state that if using an opioid pain-killer for intractable pain, the use of non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD may offset some of of the undesirable side-effects of the opioids, while obtaining far greater analgesic results.

Indeed, in cases of intractable or difficult-to-control pain, combination therapy with small doses of opioid and non-psychoactive cannabinoid receptor agonists may be an alternative way to circumvent the undesirable side effects of opioids yet obtain far greater analgesic efficacy than achieved with cannabinoids alone.56,110

Conclusion – A Powerful Entourage For Pain Management

Nature’s divine synergy of plant Terpenes and Cannabinoids have worked together for thousands of years to form a powerful entourage of holistic healing and now science has backed it up with real data.

Putting these pharmacologic, clinical, and societal issues together, the direction for the future resides in the development of orally administered, highly bioavailable, non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid products that also take advantage of the entourage effect, to provide the millions of people living with debilitating pain a comparatively safe and effective form of relief.


The science of cannabinoids and terpene synergy is continuing to expand rapidly, but decades of research have led to a clear conclusion from the U.S. National institute of Health that endocannabinoids play a critical role in pain management.

We also know that exogenous cannabinoids offer a safe and effective alternative for pain relief and that is good news for the millions of people around the world suffering from chronic pain.



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