Phytocannabinoids 101: Understanding the health benefits of hemp CBD
From gummies to balms, oils and a myriad of other self-care and wellness products, hemp is everywhere, and for good reason. Studies have found that hemp can offer some serious natural health benefits.*
It could be the cannabidiol (CBD).
The potential benefits of hemp extracts are due to their high concentration of phytocannabinoids such as CBD.
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?
First, let's start with cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are a class of chemical compounds produced by most biological species. In general, cannabinoids can be droken down into two main categories:
- Endocannabinoids - produced by mammals
- Phytocannabinoids produced by plants
There are many different phytocannabinoids, and ongoing research suggests many different health benefits associated with them. Here's a list of the more common phytocannabinoids:
Phytocannabinoids 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.
- 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]