Though relatively new to the commercial market, hemp extracts have quickly become a popular plant-based wellness option.
Whether shopping your Instagram feed or your local Target, you don't have to look far to find an array of hemp-infused beauty, self-care and wellness products.
It could be the cannabidiol.
Much of the potential benefits of hemp extracts are due to the high concentration of phytocannabinoids such as cannabidiol.
This guide will help you understand what phytocannabinoids are, how they interact with the human body through the endocannabinoid system and the therapeutic benefits they may offer.
First, let's start with the basics.
What are Phytocannabinoids?
There are two types of cannabinoids :
- Endocannabinoids that are produced by mammals
- Phytocannabinoids that are derived from plants
Phytocannabinoids are naturally present in specific plants, like hemp, and can activate our body’s endocannabinoid system which is thought to have a positive impact on whole-body wellness.
What are Endocannabinoids?
Endocannabinoids are produced naturally by the body and are essential in helping the body achieve homeostasis. Homeostasis is the self-regulating process that our bodies use to help maintain stability and adjust to conditions that are the best for our survival.
What is the Endocannabinoid System?
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a signaling system of receptors and molecules distributed throughout the body. The ECS is made of endocannabinoids, receptors and molecules, which have been widely implicated in the regulation of the body.
The role of the ECS in health and disease is an area of ongoing and exciting biomedical research. Current findings demonstrate ECS involvement in numerous physiological and cognitive processes including maintaining homeostatic balance. As more information becomes available on ECS, an abundance of functions have been linked to it including:
- Stress and sleep
- Immune functioning
How do Phytocannabinoids interact with the Body?
Phytocannabinoids act in the body by binding to cannabinoid receptors such as CB1 and CB2 receptors. Our cells receive and process information through those receptors, then our body responds. CB1 receptors are mainly found in the brain while CB2 receptors are mainly found in the immune system.
Phytocannabinoids act in different ways to produce different effects, some of which may be therapeutic 1,2.
What is the Entourage Effect?
Though cannabidiol may be the most well-known phytocannabinoid found in hemp, it’s by no means the only one. The entourage effect refers to the concept of botanical synergy and an enhanced effect that may result from various phyto-molecules working together synergistically.
For this reason, it has been suggested that:
The potential therapeutic benefits of full spectrum or even broad spectrum extracts, could exceed the benefits of isolated phytocannabinoids. 3
What therapeutic benefit might Phytocannabinoids offer?
In parallel with expanding understanding of the ECS, the potential physiological impacts and possible therapeutic actions of phytocannabinoids continue to emerge.
There are ongoing studies on the efficacy and safety of cannabis for a wide range of conditions including inflammatory bowel disease, Parkinson’s disease and a variety of mood disorders 5.
While research investigating potential pain-relieving properties of phytocannabinoids and related phytomolecules is ongoing4 a growing body of scientific research suggests that phytocannabinoids may:
- Reduce occasional anxiety
- Improve the quality of sleep
- Help with muscle recovery by relieving occasional soreness and muscle tension after exercise
- Support a sense of calm and balance
At Forest Remedies,we’re dedicated to plant-based wellness and specialize in the extraction, purification and formulation of hemp products. Our range of high-quality hemp soft gels, balms and tinctures were developed to support everyday wellness - in a format that suits your lifestyle.
We strive to create a more sustainable future through regenerative farming while making the highest quality, plant-based products accessible to consumers everywhere.
Forest Remedies Hemp Extract
- Ligresti, De Petrocelis & Di Marzo (2016). From Phytocannabinoids to Cannabinoid Receptors and Endocannabinoids: Pleiotropic Physiological and Pathological Roles Through Complex Pharmacology. 96: 1593-1659.
- Di Marzo (2018). New Approaches and Challenges to Targeting the Endocannabinoid System. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 17(9):623–639.
- Russo (2019). The Case for the Entourage Effect and Conventional Breeding of Clinical Cannabis: No “Strain,” No Gain. Front. Plant Sci. 9: 1969.
- Research Funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).
- Ongoing clinical trials: https://clinicaltrials.gov [search term “cannabis”, accessed February 01 2020]