Since President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill into law on December 20, 2018, interest in the health benefits of phytocannabinoids, hemp, and CBD has reached a fever pitch.
Just before the end of the year, Inc. Magazine went as far as to boldly declare that the next “gold rush” is the $22 billion CBD industry. Bethany Gomez, director of research for Brightfield Group, supported this proclamation, stating that “everyone and their mother is starting a CBD line” now that hemp has been removed from the list of controlled substances.
But, as with anything that increases in popularity, misinformation, half-truths, and unsubstantiated claims have a tendency of spreading like wildfire – especially online. For example, one YouTube video may say phytocannabinoids is the remedy for all ills, while another website may warn that CBD is not safe, and might even make you high.
To clarify things for current and aspiring brand owners, the intention of this article is to use science-based information in order to:
- Define CBD and full-spectrum phytocannabinoids
- Explain what the endocannabinoid system is and how it works with phytocannabinoids
- Share 3 little-known health benefits of phytocannabinoids
What are Phytocannabinoids?
Phytocannabinoids are the naturally occurring cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Phytocannabionoid are able to interact with our body’s natural systems because their makeups and behaviors mimic endocannabinoids, which are cannabinoids that are synthesized on demand by our own bodies. Phytocannabinoids have been found to inhibit the breakdown of endocannabinoids and prolong endocannabinoid action.
Research has shown that phytocannabinoids offer various benefits for:
- Cigarette addiction
- Epilepsy (FDA approved as drug)
- Parkinson's Disease
What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a naturally-occurring compound that is found in plants. It belongs to a family of compounds called cannabinoids or, more specifically, phytocannabinoids (phyto = plant). There are over 100 different phytocannabinoids and hemp provides a primary source. Common plants that contain phytocannabinoids include oregano and basil.
Aside from CBD, the most well-known of the phytocannabinoids is tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. THC, which you may be aware, is the psychoactive compound found in marijuana that makes you high.
What You Need to Know: It is important to clarify that CBD and the other phytocannabinoids are not psychoactive and will not make you high.
Full-Spectrum Phytocannabinoids Defined
CBD is not the only phytocannabinoid present in hemp. As a matter of fact, cannabinoids work together to create a greater overall synergistic activity. This is known as “the entourage effect” in scientific literature. If you’re planning on formulating a product with just isolated CBD, the person ingesting it will not receive the benefits of the entourage effect.
Conversely, a full-spectrum hemp extract contains a full array of naturally-occurring phytocannabinoids, including a defined amount of CBD. Although CBD isolate is less expensive than full-spectrum phytocannabinoids, they’re shown to be less effective.
What You Need to Know: As a current or aspiring supplement brand owner, it is important to know that formulating with the latter could have detrimental impacts on product sales and brand loyalty.
What Is the Endocannabinoid System?
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a biological system composed of receptors which occur throughout the nervous system and, consequently, throughout every system in the body.
What is the Role of the Endocannabinoid System?
The ECS has been shown to play a major role in regulating many physical and cognitive processes in the body.
Additionally, the body produces endocannabinoids, which are its own internal cannabinoids. These activate the ECS receptors to initiate a cascade of powerful and important effects. Phytocannabinoids work with endocannabinoids to support and provide healthy functioning of the ECS.
What You Need to Know: Just like every system in the body needs nutritional support to stay healthy, the ECS also requires support. Supplementation with phytocannabinoids can aid in the nourishment of the ECS.
3 Little Known Health Benefits of Phytocannabinoids
Phytocannabinoids Promote Calmness & Relaxation
According to an article written by Gene Bruno, Professor of Nutraceutical Sciences at Huntington College that was published in Total Health Magazine, almost one-third of adults report that stress negatively impacts their physical and mental health - 42% reported feelings of being nervous or anxious. Because the ECS plays an important role in the regulation and maintenance of all body systems, and phytocannabinoids support the ECS, it’s not surprising to learn that in human clinical research, 25mg of phytocannabinoids daily has been shown to calm stress and stress-induced anxiety
Phytocannabinoids Support the Onset of Sleep
Of the aforementioned one-third of adults that reported poor physical and mental health due to stress, 46% reported having difficulty “shutting down” for the night and falling asleep. In the same human clinical research study, 25 mg of phytocannabinoids daily were shown to support the onset of sleep and promote quality, tranquil sleep.
Phytocannabinoids Help Reduce Inflammation & Pain
Inflammation occurs in everyone, every day. According to studies cited in the aforementioned article written by Professor Bruno, consuming red and processed meats, desserts and refined grains can all result in more inflammation. Bruno also mentions that exercising hard at the gym may result in temporary inflammation and pain. Additionally, researchers found:
- Cannabinoids successfully reduced inflammatory markers
- Phytocannabinoids may have an application for pain
- Supplementing with 200 mg/day of phytocannabinoids significantly reduced levels of resistin, a type of protein that promotes several pro-inflammatory cytokines
Regardless of whether you’re a current brand owner or you're thinking about starting a supplement company, being able to filter out the misinformation that is being disseminated about phytocannabinoids, hemp and CBD is of paramount importance.
The $20+ billion CBD market is yours for the taking. Roll up your sleeves and do the necessary research to educate yourself and your consumers so you can ultimately create a high-quality product that addresses their specific health needs.
About the Author: Gene Bruno
Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, RH(AHG) - With decades of experience working along side healthcare professionals and natural product retailers, developing innovative nutraceutical formulations, and working with academic institutions, Gene has cultivated a truly unique and impressive catalog of nutraceutical knowledge and insights.