Cannabis: So Much More Than Broccoli and How to Navigate the Green Terrain

Cannabis: So Much More Than Broccoli and How to Navigate the Green Terrain

Years ago when I started on my toxic free journey I would have never thought it would have landed me here, on the side for legalization of medical marijuana smack in the middle of cannaphobia country. I think some friends that have known me the longest are probably rolling on the floor (pun unintended) laughing right now that I am even writing about marijuana. But education can change a person especially when faced with their own mortality. How many have been diagnosed or know someone who has been diagnosed with cancer, or suffers from an autoimmune disease, or other debilitating or life-threatening illnesses? I am pretty sure the whole room would stand up if we were all together. Having a child later in life I quickly realized that I needed to take a preventative role in my health and that of my family’s, including investigating more holistic options. Some people have a much stronger need and life-threatening motivation to look into what is now dubbed “alternativetreatment methods even though they have been around for thousands of years.

Enter Medical Cannabis.

Medical Marijuana, Cannabis, CBD, Cannabinoid. Go ahead, confess. Your mind’s eye went to straight to a picture of someone smoking a joint or someone with dreadlocks stoned on the couch. That’s OK, at one point that’s what I would have thought too. That is what has been ingrained in our minds and we’ve been force fed that as the only use of it for decades, and we’ve all had one of those friends right? However that instant assumption is deeply different then what you will find out here and that assumption is prohibiting people from obtaining important medicinal benefits from a plant. As I learn more about cannabis, I find it overwhelming how misunderstood and misrepresented it is even crossing many generations. After all it has been illegal in the USA for half a century for the most part.

Understanding medical marijuana is no easy task these days. There are many complexities involved from legalization, federal guidelines, state law, specific levels of chemical compositions, breeding, whole flower, CBD or industrial hemp, organic, Non-GMO, extraction, fillers, delivery, dosages, costs etc… on and on! It can be overwhelming. I know I have been there too. But the fact is that people are seeing results in others and they want to know how it can help them and/or their children. But since it is so complex, where does one start? My hope for you is that this report sheds some new light on things you were not aware of before, helps you navigate through those complexities, and provides you with insight to make informed decisions so you can determine if CBD can help you or someone you love.

So what’s the big deal anyway?

We eat other plants like broccoli because of their nutrients. We’ve even been told to eat our broccoli for its cancer fighting components, yet that’s legal. Why? What makes this plant any different?

Cannabis is an annual, dioecious (meaning that it has distinct male and female individual organisms), flowering herb. Cannabis plants produce a unique family of terpeno-phenolic compounds called cannabinoids. There are 483 identifiable chemical constituents known to exist in the cannabis plant (marijuana plant), and at least 85 different cannabinoids have been isolated from the plant. The two cannabinoids studied the most and are usually produced in the greatest abundance are cannabidiol (CBD) and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but only THC is psychoactive (able to produce a “high” or “stoned” feeling). Of the other chemical constituents in the cannabis plant you will find terpenes, flavonoids, amino acids, proteins, enzymes, fatty acids, sugars and more. Terpenes are fragrant oils that give cannabis its aromatic diversity and are also found in other plants, fruits, and herbs. So for those afraid of the “high” but want the preventative care and medical care this is the cool part. Research has shown that terpenes significantly enhance the therapeutic potential of THC (the most active cannabinoid) while minimizing its psychoactivity. So in easier terms, the therapeutic effects are most powerful when the whole flower plant is utilized and that is when you can receive the most medicinal benefits. The terpenes actually minimize the high feeling when the compounds and chemicals are working together. Scientists call this phenomenon in which all the constituents of the cannabis plant work synergistically together, “the entourage effect” or “the ensemble.” So no, you do not need to feel or be “stoned” to receive some therapeutic benefits of the cannabis plant and your best medicinal option should include the whole flower part of the plant.

Marijuana is typically 5 to 10 percent THC when the whole flowers (all of the constituents) are used. Marijuana grown for medicinal application may contain upwards of 20 percent THC, with the best strains going up to 30 percent. Raw cannabis does not contain THC and it can actually be eaten raw. It is with heat that the psychoactive effect is induced producing THC and it is the THC levels that have the most impact legally as you will see shortly.

Why do I hear of medical marijuana working so well for others?

Will you be shocked to find out you already have the chemical compounds of cannabinoid as well as communication receptors already present within your body, ready to accept these cannabinoids from the plant? Research on marijuana’s effects led directly to the discovery of an unknown biochemical communication system in the human body, which has been called the Endocannabinoid System (ES). It has been found to play a crucial role in regulating our physiology, mood, and everyday experience. Dr. Ralph Mechoulaman Israeli researcher, discovered two main receptors, cannabinoid 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid 2 (CB2) that are links to both the endocannabinoids that our body naturally produces and phytocannabinoids (plant based) like THC and CBD.  These chemical compounds within us trigger cannabinoid (and other) receptors in your body to communicate. In each cell and all tissues, the endocannabinoid system performs different tasks, but the goal is always the same; homeostasis, a balance within, no matter the external factors. New information even suggests endocannabinoids can bind to 8 more receptors than originally discovered.

It’s no wonder why our bodies respond so well to CBD for issues such as seizures, muscle spasms, inflammation, anxiety, pain, cancer cells, nausea, glaucoma, ALS, Traumatic Brain Injury, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, as well as Autism, PTSD, Crohn’s DiseaseADD/ADHD and insomnia but the list doesn’t even stop there.

Research has also shown that CBD has potent anti-tumoral, anti-psychotic, antioxidant, anti-convulsive, anti-spasmodic, and neuroprotective properties. So in other words it is showing to be effective in reducing cancer cell growth, minimizing seizures and convulsions in children, decreasing inflammation, mitigating pain and providing therapeutic relief for many other ailments. CBD directly activates serotonin receptors, causing an anti-depressant effect, as well. Looking for a particular condition? You can find an extensive list of conditions as well as corresponding research from scientific journals, PubMed, and even the U.S. National Library of Medicine HERE and HERE.

So is it legal or not and why is this part so confusing?!

Since we now have a basis of the complexities of the makeup of cannabis aka marijuana, would you have thought the legal side would have been less complex? Nice try! 😉

According to “FDA Regulation of Marijuana: Past Actions, Future Plans” document and the Federal Controlled Substance Act of 1970, Marijuana is regulated under Schedule 1, defined as having: 1.) High potential for abuse 2.) No currently accepted medical use 3.) Lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.

Schedule 1 is the same category that heroin, LSD, and ecstasy are classified in. There has been an attempt to adjust this stringent classification due to research performed after 1970, but the federal government will not budge. In 2009, even the American Medical Association recommended rescheduling cannabis from a Schedule 1 to a Schedule 2 drug with no success. In order for scientists to even research cannabis they must have approval on the federal level by the DEA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to perform studies which has proven to be no small task.

There are 3 classifications for marijuana legalization status however; some states have broad laws and others more specific.  There is 1.) Medical marijuana broadly legalized 2.) Marijuana legalized for recreational use and 3.) No broad laws legalizing marijuana. I suggest you search for your own state laws such as found HERE and HERE and get to know any upcoming laws in play. The purpose of this article is legal compliance and medicinal application so please take it upon yourself to know your particular laws and follow.

So this is where it gets interesting! Follow me here… the DEA classified cannabis (marijuana) as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, however did you know that the United States Department of Health & Human Services holds a Patent on cannabis as “antioxidants and neuroprotectants” as of October 7th, 2003? You can find Patent # 6,630,507 HERE which states “Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia. Nonpsychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidoil, are particularly advantageous to use because they avoid toxicity that is encountered with psychoactive cannabinoids at high doses useful in the method of the present invention.”

Come again? The one hand has it equated to the standard of heroin and LSD, however the other government agency hand has claimed it as a neuroprotectant (as in “neuro” relating to nerves or the nervous system and to “protect” is to save, shield, defend). They also clearly state it is “useful in treatment” and “limiting damage” and “advantageous” and dare I say, that this patent shows it has multiple accepted medical uses. Anyone else scratching their head as to how such a major contradiction could possibly even happen?

Here is a real life personal experience of a NY Post journalist’s explaining his experience and frustration when finding out about this major contradiction while his wife was very ill as it remained illegal. She could have lived with a greater quality of life through medicinal marijuana but instead the government plays games. His wife suffered for nearly a decade from Multiple Sclerosis, a neurological disease, before she died. See HERE.

Ok I am ready to try it (legally)! But what is the difference between CBD Oil and CBD Hemp?

So we have heard the term CBD interchangeable with the term cannabis and now I am adding the term hemp. Are you even more confused now? Don’t worry, you are not alone. So let’s discover….

Hemp is the durable soft fiber from the Cannabis plant stem (stalk). So hemp and cannabis is from the same plant but hemp refers to only the stalk not the whole flower or buds. Both hemp and cannabis are members of the species Cannabis sativa and both contain the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), yet they are distinct strains with unique biochemical compositions and uses. Industrial Hemp comes from the stalk only and has been used for commercial items including paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food, and animal feed. The CBD that is not hemp, would come from the whole flower part of the plant.

Legally speaking CBD with more than .3 THC dry weight is only protected in states that have legalized medical marijuana. Therefore your CBD oil or CBD Hemp product must have less than .3 THC in those approved states and is regulated as such in states that have not legalized medical marijuana. Other than that you would need a doctors “recommendation for medical marijuana” which is not technically a prescription.

With the government restrictions on marijuana for the past 50 years, Hemp has become an option for many that have been unable to receive whole flower CBD as hemp naturally has a lower THC and higher Cannabidiol (CBD) making it a choice for those that want to stay within legal limits. Hemp contains CBD along with approximately 0.3 to 1.5 percent THC, but marijuana is typically 5 to 10 percent THC. Remember that medical marijuana may contain upwards of 20 percent THC, with the best strains going up to 30 percent. Therefore it is easier to produce the legal limit of THC in hemp. Hemp cultivation is legal in all of the US states due to the Agricultural Act of 2014.This act allows for industrial hemp cultivation if there is research on it being provided by the state or university programs.

There are some risks to using CBD hemp especially for an organic purist. Hemp is a “bio-accumulator” meaning the plant naturally draws toxins from the soil. “Hemp is a good phytoremediator potential for heavy metals and radioactive cesium due to the possibility of using the phytoextracted material in industrial products.” Another risk is because so much more plant material is needed to be cultivated to create the oil, there is the possibility of extra solvents that may be used to fill that finished product. 3rd party, state approved testing becomes very important as well as full spectrum lab reports regarding the THC constituents and the THC levels which should be readily available on company websites.

There are many different delivery methods for medicinal purposes and this is probably the second most important factor when addressing a particular health problem or need. (Behind quality and utilizing the whole flower, aka gaining the “entourage effect”) Those delivery methods include: inhalation, oral delivery and topical application.

We are going to look at “CBD oil” for now. Oil is extracted from the cannabis plant using one of just a few extraction methods for either whole plant and/or hemp. This is where you need to have your buyer beware signals turned on!

One popular extraction method for extracting CBD oil is the Rick Simpson technique, which uses petroleum or naphtha as solvents. This method, although efficient in extracting the active compounds from the cannabis plant (mostly done with marijuana plants), usually leads to products that have a lower concentration of terpenes and other cannabinoids such as CBD, while effectively yielding higher concentrations of THC. This method adds solvent which does not yield the cleanest, least toxic oil for sure.

Hexane, a solvent frequently used to extract CBDs from hemp, has been found by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be neurotoxic producing numbness in the extremities, muscular weakness, blurred vision, headache and fatigue, according to a official statement by the EPA.

Ethanol and olive oil can be used for extracting the full range of cannabinoids and terpenes from the cannabis plant, and they have the advantage of being safer for consumption more than the previous option. On the other hand, ethanol also extracts chlorophyll, so the final product has an unpleasant taste and a not-so-tempting green color. It is possible for the chlorophyll to be removed by filtering the extract, but this additional step also removes a significant proportion of the cannabinoids, therefore leading to less potent oil.

Olive oil can be an alternative, but again it has its drawbacks. The good part about extracting the cannabinoids with olive oil is that the technique is very simple and only requires to heat up the oil up to 200°F and filtering the extract. The negative part is that this extract cannot be concentrated, so although it does contain CBD, in order to see significant health effects one needs to consume large amounts of this oil.

It’s therefore not the best choice if you’re looking to obtain a CBD-rich oil, not to mention it’s also considered unsafe due to the residues that may remain from the solvents and potentially interfere with one’s immune function. Maybe not the ideal choice.

Then there is an extraction process using CO2. This method uses carbon dioxide under high pressure and extremely low temperatures to isolate, preserve, and maintain the purity of the medicinal oil in extremely expensive equipment. This process may increase the cost of the product, however in turn, the purity is better than the previous options.

Now, not all CBD is created equal as you can surmise already. A groundbreaking study in 2015 which you can read HERE uncovered the far superior therapeutic properties of using whole plant CBD-rich cannabis extract as compared to single-molecule cannabidiol (CBD). Whole plant CBD-rich is in reference to utilizing the whole plant including the flowers of the marijuana plant versus single-molecule cannabidiol from a synthetic source. This study resulted in a bell-shaped does-response curve, meaning that the synthetic CBD stopped having any therapeutic effect beyond a certain amount. When testing the whole plant CBD-rich extract they discovered unlike the bell-shaped does response curve of pure CBD, the anti-inflammatory, anti-pain response of whole plant CBD increased with dose, making the whole plant CBD ideal for clinical use.

Remember the “entourage effect” mentioned earlier? This is why legalization for the whole flower is important. Enter synergy! CBD and THC act on different pathways in the body. THC and CBD affect different targets within the body while CBD minimizes THC’s psychoactive effects. Do you recall learning earlier about the terpenes minimizing the high while increasing the effectiveness of the THC chemistry in our body? This is why utilizing the whole plant flower extraction process is so important. So you can receive the synergy of all of the cannabinoids, terpenes and other constituents that are contained in each flower. When testing products be sure to listen to your sense of smell. That’s the terpenes talking to you.

Taste it. The different extraction methods also can affect the taste. Some of the CBD hemp oils I have tried are disgusting and some taste like you’re chewing on burnt 2-week-old cigarettes. I haven’t even gotten into dosage in the article and I won’t but what I will tell you is the taste will matter when you are attempting to hold two large droppers full of CDB hemp in your mouth that taste like 2-week-old cigarettes. That’s how tinctures work. They are under the tongue oral absorption methods. If you are using one that has been extracted with alcohol/ethanol like in many oral sprays, you will probably taste that alcohol burn. Is it for your child? It might be a costly gamble for something that your child or you will not be able to continue taking because of the bad taste and/or high dosage required.

There is a new exciting, patent-pending extraction process for the whole flower. It is unique beyond its extraction because it is also water-compatible from the moment it is extracted. Therefore it is not necessarily oil, but a water soluble, whole flower fluid and utilizes the whole flower not just hemp (stalks). This creates a greater bio-availability (assimilates easily) and eliminates the need for any secondary treatment like used in the other options as well as many of those risks associated with other extraction processes. It can be used as a tincture, water, vaporizers, and topical treatment with a .3 THC level benefiting from the powerful “entourage effect” while not requiring a doctor’s recommendation for medical marijuana because it is under the .3 THC legal requirement in most states. In other words this whole flower extraction process extracts all of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and other constituents that are contained in each flower. The extraction process maintains the integrity of the flower flavors and taste and this non-psychoactive oral spray tastes like cinnamon candy hearts making it incredibly easy to deliver discreetly and “on-the-go” as well as a painless and tasty method for children in need of its benefits. It has a 90% absorption rate into the blood stream which is significantly higher than oil.

The averages for CBD bioavailability by method of administration are:

6% – 15% for oral (swallowed and digested by the GI system) CBD

35% for oromucosal (absorbed directly through the mouth)

34%-46% for intranasal (applied through the nose)

40% for vaporized (absorbed through the lungs)

20:1 for liposomal

If you have studied any oil extraction process to receive the “essential” oil from a plant you will quickly understand why purity and quality is of the utmost importance even pertaining to oils for lavender or frankincense. You are utilizing the most effective and strongest part of the plant at levels that are highly concentrated. If you are using a product for medicinal purposes, the big question you will need to ask yourself is “if I am looking to use this product for its holistic medicinal benefits, what is the purest and most effective option for me?”

As with any product I would recommend that you be absolutely sure it is sourced from an organic farm. Pesticides should be a huge concern for you if using cannabis for treatment. You are using a concentrated extraction of a plant that could house toxic chemicals.

You will want to look for 3rd party resources and chemical analysis tests from the company or chemical analysis.

If you are in a legal state and can get a medical referral, you can visit HERE to search for dispensaries and Florida medical doctors HERE.

There are many scientific studies that have been done. We still need more, but what is the most important study platform? Seeing a child’s seizures decrease in frequency or debilitating pain stop in its tracks within minutes of receiving a medicinal dose, or a child stricken with autism increase verbalization after CBD therapy and that child can sleep better, and those dying of cancer who have recovered and are still with us today after a therapeutic regimen. Those are the ones that really matter. Life changing results without adding debilitating pharmaceutical side effects. It is a matter of quality of life. Does it have to happen to you or someone you love to understand or become legal?

Even a retired judge altered his opinion when he had to experience life or death decisions. Doug Bench, who as a judge, used to send people to jail for marijuana until his own major health issue with COPD left him with a 30-month tops life expectancy if he had stuck with a pharma regimen. After his wife did her own research, he reluctantly went on CBD oil which quickly became the turning point in his health that would keep him alive and well. “I put 311 people in jail for marijuana offenses. I was wrong.” See his story HERE.

I encourage you to learn more about Dr. Ralph Mechoulam and why he was dubbed the “Father of Cannabinoid Medicine” in the documentary “The Scientist.”

Also register for “The Sacred Plant:Healing Secrets Exposed” docuseries coming June 7th, 2017 HERE. (or access the info after it has been released).

Visit my friend The CannaBlonde and over at Facebook for special podcasts as well as be sure to subscribe to The Livingston Foundation to join the Florida movement.

Be sure to subscribe to this Clean Living Connection blog for additional information on this subject and visit me at my online Clean Living Connection Community dedicated to connecting you with like-minded, health conscious people and professions to live a more natural and  holistic lifestyle without the noise of other social media sites.

Copywrite May 6, 2017 by Clean Living Connection LLC. May not be reproduced without my permission.

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