PLANT BASED SCIENCE

What is CBD?

CBD stands for cannabidiol. A chemical compound found naturally in the cannabis sativa plant which is also known as hemp and belong to the Cannabaceae. The cannabis plant is made up of two major cannabidiols know as: CBD and THC. The acronym THC is a shorthand way to describe tetrahydrocannabinol.  The cannabis sativa plant has two primary species, known as hemp and marijuana. Both contain CBD but there is a much higher percentage in hemp and a very low amount of THC compared to the marijuana species.

CBD can be used to relieve everything from inflammation to anxiety. With research to test its efficacy in various dosages, CBD has been approved for use by the FDA,  to treat epilepsy, to relieve chemotherapy side effects (including nausea), and to counteract weight loss and lack of appetite for people with AIDs. But CBD if used correctly can offer much more.

How does CBD work?

CBD works through the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), this is a nerve signalling system throughout the human body that helps maintain physiological, emotional and cognitive stability. The ECS is a complex nerve cell signalling system that modulates the central nervous system’s function and helps maintain homeostasis.

The ECS has three components:

  • Endocannabinoids : Chemical compounds that carry signals between nerve Cells ( neurotransmitters) – The two main ones are : Anandamide and 2-Arachidonoylglycerol
  • Endocannabinoid receptors : protein embedded on the cell membrane which bind to the endocannabinoids and react. The two receptors are : CB1 and CB2 
  • Enzymes in the nerve Cells break down the endocannabinoids back into their components for reuse when the next neurotransmission is required. The two principal enzymes found in the Endocannabinoid system are: Fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) that breaks down AEA , Monoacylglycerol (MAGL) that breaks down 2 -AG.

What are endocannabinoids?

“Endocannabinoid” derives its name from phytocannabinoids — “phyto” meaning “plant-based” — a class of psychoactive substances first discovered in Cannabis sativa (marijuana) plants. Endocannabinoids are cannabis-like compounds naturally produced by the body in the nerve cells. Two endocannabinoids, AEA and 2-AG and their functions have been studied to a great extent. Several more endocannabinoids have been discovered, though their functions and roles in the endocannabinoid system are yet to be determined. 

What is the function of endocannabinoids?

Endocannabinoid receptors are concentrated in the brain, but are also present in nerve tissues all over the body. When a condition such as injury, fever or infection disrupts the body’s homeostasis, the endocannabinoid system helps restore the body’s homeostasis.

The endocannabinoid system plays a significant role in the normal functioning of the body’s systems that include:

  • Central nervous system
  • Cardiovascular system
  • Gastrointestinal system
  • Reproductive system
  • Skeletal system
  • Immune system
  • Metabolic processes

The endocannabinoid system is also an important mediator in regulating:

  • Memory and learning
  • Appetite
  • Stress response
  • Pain sensation
  • Mood
  • Sleep
  • Inflammation
  • Drug addiction

The functions of the endocannabinoid system are not fully understood. Some studies suggest endocannabinoid deficiency and a disturbed homeostasis may be the cause for certain diseases such as migraine, fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome. Research continues on the gamut of roles endocannabinoids play, and their potential therapeutic uses.

ECS deficiency

Endocannabinoid deficiency is a syndrome that sports the official moniker of Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD). Although officially only a theory of medicine at this time, CECD is believed by some leading doctors and researchers to be responsible for many of the most common diseases and conditions of the western world. This encompasses a wide variety of ailments, including anorexia, anxiety, autism, depression, fibromyalgia, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD; includes Irritable Bowel Syndrome [IBS] and Crohn’s disease), migraine headaches, multiple sclerosis (MS), many forms of neuropathy, most forms of pain, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Parkinson’s, motion sickness, and other treatment-resistant conditions.

The causes of CECD are theorized to be environmental pollution, lack of exercise, stress, poor diet (such as one lacking in essential fatty acids), and genetic defects. In an April 2008 research study entitled “Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD): Can This Concept Explain Therapeutic Benefits of Cannabis?” that was published in the journal Neuroendocrinology Letters, Russo and his team analyzed the available literature on the topic, with a focus on the National Library of Medicine database.

The Russo study concluded: “Migraine, fibromyalgia, IBS, and related conditions display common clinical, biochemical, and pathophysiological patterns that suggest an underlying clinical endocannabinoid deficiency that may be suitably treated with cannabinoid medicines.” Combating CECD

The phytocannabinoids present in herbs like cannabis that fit oh-so-perfectly into the CB1 and CB2 receptors throughout the body are merely one strategy for achieving homeostasis via supplementation or improvement of the ECS.

What are the therapeutic uses of cannabinoids?

The Cannabis sativa plant contains hundreds of compounds. Two of them, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), bind to the human endocannabinoid receptors CB1-R and CB2-R. Both THC and CBD have medical benefits, but only THC produces euphoric effects.

The cannabis plant contains other minor cannabinoids that interact with the human endocannabinoid system, but their effects are far weaker and they are present in lower concentrations.

There are two different ways how cannabinoids work on the ECS:

Cannabinoid receptor agonists: These bind to the CB1-R and CB2-R and stimulate their activity (for example, CBD).
Cannabinoid receptor antagonists: These are used to suppress cannabinoid receptor activity

The potential therapeutic uses for cannabinoids include:

  • Pain management
  • Anti-nausea
  • Cough
  • Glaucoma

Neurologic diseases such as:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Huntington disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Alcohol induced neurodegeneration/neuroinflammation
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Stroke
  • Seizures
  • Autoimmune diseases such as:
  • Autoimmune uveitis
  • Systemic sclerosis
  •  Inflammatory bowel disease
  • HIV-1 brain infection

Psychiatric disorders such as:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Personality disorders
  • Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder
  • Substance abuse and addictions
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Atherosclerosis (plaque build up in the artery walls)

Gastrointestinal conditions such as:

  • Alcoholic and chronic liver diseases
  • Gut motility disorder
  • Inflammatory bowel syndrome
  • Diabetic nephropathy (diabetes-related kidney disease)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Cancers

What Is Cannabigerol (CBG)? 

Cannabigerol (CBG) is a type of cannabinoid obtained from the cannabis plant. It’s often referred to as the mother of all cannabinoids. This is because other cannabinoids are derived from cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), an acidic form of CBG.

CBG is found in smaller quantities than other cannabinoids in cannabis plants. In most strains of the plant, only 1% of CBG can be found compared to 20 to 25% of CBD or 25 to 30% of THC.1

This makes consumer products derived from the cannabinoid rare and often expensive.

CBG is derived from young cannabis plants because they contain higher amounts of CBG than fully developed plants.

Both CBD and THC start as CBGA, an acidic form of CBG. This is why younger cannabis plants contain higher concentrations of CBG.

Potential Benefits

Like CBD, CBG has been used to combat pain without having the intoxicating effect of cannabinoids like THC.

Research shows that CBG can also have therapeutic effects. However, human studies on this are sparse and more research needs to be done in this area.

Some promising animal studies show that CBG might ultimately be found useful for the following therapeutic benefits listed below:

  • IBD – Researchers induced inflammations similar to IBD in the colons of mice and then administered CBG. CBG was found to reduce the inflammation and the production of nitric oxide. It also reduced the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the intestines. They concluded that CBG should be considered for clinical experimentation in IBD patients.
  • GLAUCOMA – Reseachers administered CBG to cats with glaucoma and noticed a reduction in eye pressure and an increase in aqueous humor outflow, a fluid produced by the eye which maintains eye pressure and provides the eye with nutrition.
    https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/jop.1990.6.259
  • Huntington’s Disease – Huntington’s disease is a condition that causes a breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. In a 2015 study, researchers examined the potential neuroprotective properties of CBG and other cannabinoids in mice who had an experimental model of Huntington’s disease.It was observed that CBG acted as a neuroprotectant, protecting the nerve cells in your brain from damage. It also improves motor deficits and preserves striatal neurons against 3-nitropropionic acid toxicity.
    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13311-014-0304-z
  • Fighting Cancer Cells – In a 2014 study, researchers observed the effects of CBG on rats with colon cancer. They observed that CBG showed some promise in blocking the receptors that cause cancer cell growth and inhibiting the growth of colorectal cancer cells.They suggested that the use of CBG should be considered translationally in the cure and prevention of colon cancer.
    https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2020/2371527/

CBG vs. CBD

CBG is often compared to CBD because it shares many similarities and they both act on the endocannabinoid system.

Both CBG and CBD are non-psychoactive which means they will not alter your state of mind in the way THC will.

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