What is CBD… & which “kind” do we use at 42020 Visionaries?
SO, what is CBD? This topic can and will be explored for hours, days, and years... so I will do my best to keep it short, sweet, and informative. CBD, short for Cannabidiol, is an active component and one of many cannabinoids that can be found in marijuana & hemp. Unlike its close relative, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is not psychotropic and therefore does not have any “high” effect associated with its consumption and use. Yet it still presents countless benefits and applications!
Within all mammals exists an Endocannabinoid System (ECS), which contains CB1 & CB2 receptors that are able to bind with cannabinoids and receive their information. The ECS additionally produces endocannabinoids within our bodies. Endocannabinoids are produced in our bodies even before birth, and exist within us until our last breath- whether or not the human or mammal ever comes into contact with cannabis or herbal / synthetic cannabinoids.
The ECS is the largest biological system of receptors in the body, and works to maintain homeostasis on various levels. The ECS communicates directly with other systems of our body, such as our nervous system, immune system, digestive system, and integumentary system. Indeed, the ECS is involved in bodily processes that have nothing to do with cannabis. For example, “The human immune system, an amazing physiological wonder, kicks on like a furnace when a fever is required to fry a virus or bacterial invader. And when the job is done, endocannabinoid signaling turns down the flame, cools the fever, and restores homeostasis.” (Cannabinoids —endo, herbal, and synthetic— are anti-inflammatory; they literally cool the body.)” (Lee 2010). In addition, singing & dancing has shown to drastically increase endocannabinoid levels in the body. Endocannabinoids are NOT CBD & THC. Endocannabinoids are produced within our own bodies, and happen to be received by the same receptors that recognize CBD & THC. In short, your body is always ready to take in cannabinoids; in addition to producing its own endocannabinoids in order to maintain homeostasis (the body's ability to maintain control of internal stability), respond to stress, and make use of them where it’s needed most!
Why might people use, or want to use CBD?
For a multitude of reasons, depending on the individual! As mentioned, the ECS is the largest regulatory system in our bodies and is in constant communication with all other regulatory systems in order to maintain homeostasis. One of the most common uses for CBD is relief of pain and inflammation, typically administered through topical application (for localized treatment) and also through sublinguals.
Fun fact: EPIDIOLEX is the first and only FDA-approved form of cannabidiol used to treat various forms of seizures, is available for contenders over the age of 1, and came to the market in 2018.
Cannabidiol- Routes of Administration
CBD, like THC and other botanical extracts, can be administered in several ways. The method of application that we specialize in at 42020 Visionaries is through topicals- typically administered for relief of pain and inflammation in localized areas. CBD, like other phytochemicals, has the ability to be absorbed dermally- meaning that it is able to make its way through the skin and into the bloodstream.
Another common route of application is through sublingual drops (or “tinctures”) which is a dilution of a CBD extract into a “carrier”, such as MCT oil, Hemp seed oil, or an alcohol based tincture. (Cannabinoids are oil-soluble, meaning that in their natural state, they are able to be dissolved in oil, but do not mix with water- hint, this is why our topical applications are all oil-based)! 42020 Visionaries has partnered up with another local company, Rhode Island Reef, to bring clients a THC Free sublingual & full spectrum CBD gummies. Sublingual applications are administered through a dropper, remaining under the tongue for several minutes while the active components are drawn into the body. CBD can also be administered through inhalation / vaporization, which can include smoking the flower (buds), extracts, or vaporizer pens.
What kind of CBD is available?
Cannabidiol can be extracted from hemp in several ways. The “traditional” method of infusion, similar to herbal infused oils, would be soaking the flower buds in carrier oil such as extra virgin olive oil to extract the active constituents like CBD and other cannabinoids. This is called a maceration, and results in a very green, very stinky infusion that retains a potent smell of the herb.
The next method of extraction, and most common at this point in time, is CO2 extraction of aerial parts to produce a viscous, crude oil that is then re-distilled to create a high-cannabinoid extract known as a “distillate”. CBD distillates typically contain various minor levels of other cannabinoids, including THC, CBG, CBN & CBC. This leads us to our next question… which type of extract do we use at 42020 Visionaries?
Isolate, “Broad Spectrum”, “Full Spectrum” & the Entourage Effect
When CBD was first making it’s way into the mainstream market, the most common form to see it in would be CBD Isolate. Isolate, as the name implies, is pure cannabidiol isolated from the plant, and contains no other cannabinoids or terpenoids. This process results in a white powder that is 99.9% pure CBD. Although this may sound intriguing, isolate is lacking other beneficial compounds that would exist naturally in both the plant and extract, and for that reason, has lost some of its value in the marketplace.
Broad & full spectrum extracts are valued over isolated molecules due to what is known as the “entourage effect”. Simply put, this means that naturally occurring levels of phytochemicals exist in a plant for a specific reason- typically in order to work together to create a harmonious effect that is greater than the sum of its parts. Known as synergy, this phenomenon exists all over the plant and natural medicine world, not just within cannabis extracts. Although one or two molecules may be rightly seen as the “star components”, full plant extracts have shown to be more effective than their isolated parts.
In the United States, CBD is legal in all 50 states (although not yet at the federal level), and even allows for the dry plant material to contain <0.3% THC. This may surprise some, but at such low levels, is seen as safe and acceptable across the board. Extracts that contain trace levels of THC are known as “full spectrum”. Although THC levels are so low, it is impossible to guarantee that the molecule would not be present in a blood, urine or hair follicle test, even when applied topically.
For this reason, 42020 Visionaries formulates with what is commonly called “broad spectrum” extract. Broad spectrum contains varying levels of beneficial terpenoids and cannabinoids- EXCEPT for THC, as it has been removed via specific distillation techniques. Broad spectrum distillate allows for varying levels of phytochemicals and phytocannabinoids to work synergistically with CBD, without containing THC that some folks are simply not interested in consuming. Per request, we also offer custom formulation with full spectrum extracts.
What about heavy metals, pesticides, and solvents?
When sourcing our CBD extract, we make sure to use a fully clean product that has been tested for heavy metals, residual solvents, pesticides and microbes. How do we test for these substances? Most importantly, through an accredited third-party lab. A process that some are familiar with in the essential oil world, a GCMS ( Gas Chromatography Mass Spectroscopy) or GC (Gas Chromatography) report displays cannabinoid & terpenoid content. Additional testing reveals the presence of pesticides, microbes, residual solvents and heavy metals. Although cannabinoid testing and COAs are required from all companies, not all companies test for “the extras”, nor do all formulators working with these extracts- but why is this important? Aside from the obvious dangers regarding pesticides and solvents, hemp excels in drawing heavy metals from the soil, where levels would then increase after the plant has been concentrated. View our CBD lab test here! (LOQ means "Limit of Quantification" to show up in a test, below the LOQ means that the molecule was not found present). Across the board, soil quality is key in determining location of hemp farms- which are typically cultivated outdoors. This being said, farmers have the tedious task to work around things such as pests & mold. Spraying chemicals and pesticides is something commonly seen with outdoor operations, and again, these levels will only increase after concentration.
It is SO important to be sourcing hemp from a location that is cultivating it with these things in mind. After all, why would one want to ingest or apply a substance that is intended to be beneficial, if it is hiding harmful substances such as pesticides, solvents or mold? This leads us into another long conversation, which will need to be followed up with a blog of its own. Be on the lookout for other blogs in this series, such as the importance of knowing your CBD source, and other beneficial components existing in hemp & essential oils!
Thank you for taking the time to read this passage, please feel free to leave any questions or comments in the box below, or reach out through email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace professional medical advice. Please consult your doctor if you are in need of medical care, and before making any changes to your health routine.
Resources: & Additional Reading
The Discovery of the Endocannabinoid System https://www.beyondthc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/eCBSystemLee.pdf
Explore the endocannabinoid system with this amazing virtual tour: http://www.phytecs.com/tour-the-ecs/
Introduction to the Endocannabinoid System Ethan Russo, MD https://www.phytecs.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/IntroductionECS.pdf