Have you wondered what CBD oil does, what full spectrum hemp oil is, how it differs from hemp seed oil, what the benefits of CBD skincare are, what the entourage effect is and just exactly what the Endocannabinoid System is? Well, we’ve got you covered. It can be a bit of a confusing topic and there’s quite a bit of misinformation out there so let’s try to clear the air.
What is cannabidiol (CBD)?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the Cannabis plant. Other cannabinoids include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBC, CBG, CDN, CBDA and CBDV. Unlike THC, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound, which means it won’t get you high. THC and CBD are almost identical in molecular structure. Both molecules contain 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms and 2 oxygen atoms but the arrangement of these atoms is slightly different. This slight difference in structure is what allows THC to bind to the CB1 receptor of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), which results in the euphoric feeling or “high”. Because CBD’s structure is a little different it isn’t able to bind well to the CB1 receptor, so it doesn’t get you high. CBD has the ability to act on pathways outside of the ECS such as binding to the TRPV1 receptor and decreasing pain perception and inflammation as well as influencing serotonin and dopamine pathways. CBD is also a potent antioxidant itself and also increase your body’s own production of antioxidants.
Here are some of the conditions where scientific studies have shown a potential benefit from CBD alone or in combination with THC:
- Multiple sclerosis
- High blood pressure
We’ll talk more about Phytocannabinoid Rich (PCR) Hemp extract and the effects of other cannabinoids and terpenes found in full spectrum hemp oil below.
What are the skin care benefits of CBD oil?
Endocannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors are present in our skin cells. Dysregulation of the ECS is thought to be associated with a variety of dermatological disorders, including atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. CBD and other cannabinoids and terpenes found in Cannabis have been shown to help reduce pain and inflammation when applied topically. Many common skin problems, such as acne, rashes, contact and atopic dermatitis (eczema), rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis are caused by inflammatory skin conditions. CBD also has potent antioxidant effects, which means it can neutralize the free radicals that cause oxidative stress and contribute to the aging process. Research has also shown that CBD has anti-microbial effects. Keep reading to find out how the other cannabinoids (CBN and CBG) and terpenes (humulene and beta-caryophyllene) found in full spectrum PCR Hemp can also be beneficial for skin.
What’s the difference between PCR Hemp Extract, CBD oil, CBD isolate and Hemp seed oil?
Our hemp seed oil is available as a single-ingredient skincare product and we get tons of questions about it. Many people think it contains CBD and are looking for cheap pain relief. There are also a ton of people selling products with hemp seed oil (which contains essentially no CBD) and touting them for pain relief and charging exorbitant prices. It’s just criminal and makes my blood boil!
Hemp seed oil is made from…yep, you guessed it – hemp seeds. Hemp seeds do not contain any cannabinoids. Hemp seed oil is a vegetable oil just like avocado or sweet almond. Hemp seed oil is a complete nutritional source because it contains of all of the essential amino and fatty acids. A couple spoonful’s daily is a great nutritional supplement (many say it is the ideal supplement). Hemp seed oil has a light nutty taste and is great on salads as a dressing. The smoke point is around 330°F so you don’t want to do any high temp cooking with it. It makes a wonderful facial oil because it is non-comedogenic and absorbs quickly. Hemp seed oil is anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, has an ideal 1:3 ratio of Omega 3 (alpha-linolenic acid) to Omega 6 (linoleic acid) polyunsaturated fatty acids and also contains gamma-linolenic acid.
As you may already know, the cannabinoids and terpenes come from the rest of the Cannabis plant. Some companies use CBD isolate in their product. CBD isolate is a white crystalline powder that only contains CBD and doesn’t contain any of the other beneficial cannabinoids or terpenes.
We prefer to use a whole plant extract in our CBD skincare products. We like to use the term Phytocannabinoid Rich (PCR) or full spectrum hemp extract. Unlike CBD isolate, PCR Hemp extract contains the full spectrum of cannabinoids (CBD, CBC, CBG, CDN, CBDA and CBDV) and terpenes. There are numerous cannabinoids and terpenes other than CBD that have a variety of beneficial effects. Studies have shown that the cannabinoids CBN and CBG have pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. The terpene Humulene (alpha-caryophyllene) has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects equal to that of dexamethasone. Beta-caryophyllene is another terpene that interacts with the CB2 receptor of our ECS and is anti-inflammatory and analgesic. We’ll discuss terpenes a little later.
So what should you look for in a PCR Hemp or full spectrum extract? PCR Hemp extract can be obtained via carbon dioxide (CO2) extraction or with chemical solvents, such as hexane. We like supercritical and subcritical CO2 extraction because the process uses only CO2 and pressure to extract all the actives from the plant material and doesn’t leave behind any residual solvents. The PCR Hemp extract we use in our CBD skincare [LINK] is 3rd party tested for purity and composition and we receive both a cannabinoid profile and terpene profile. The hemp is organically grown in Colorado. At this time, hemp is not eligible for organic certification, so our hemp is also tested for residual pesticides and solvents to confirm that it is grown organically and extracted without solvents.
This CO2 extract is highly concentrated and needs to be diluted in a carrier oil. Any carrier oil can be used, but we have chosen to use hemp seed oil as the carrier oil for our CBD skincare products because we believe that all compounds of the Cannabis plant work synergistically with our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). All humans have an ECS that interacts with cannabinoids throughout our body, even our skin. The interaction of all of the cannabinoids and terpenes found in PCR hemp extract is usually referred to as the “entourage effect” in the scientific literature. Studies have shown that the full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes in whole plant extract work together synergistically and are more effective in combination than individually.
What is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)?
The ECS is a huge topic. It is an area of ongoing research and all the intricacies are not well understood. All humans (most animals actually) have an endocannabinoid system composed of endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors and cannabinoid receptor proteins. Our ECS regulates processes throughout our bodies, including those associated with pain, mood, pregnancy, appetite and memory.
There are two main cannabinoid receptors. Cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) is found mostly in the brain and central nervous system and this is where THC binds. Cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) is expressed in the immune system and hematopoietic stem cells. CBD does not bind well to either of these receptors but modifies interactions within the ECS and throughout the body.
Cannabinoids that are produced by our bodies are referred to as endogenous cannabinoids, hence the name ECS. Two of the most well-studied endogenous cannabinoids are anandamide (arachidonoyl ethanolamide) and 2-AG (2-arachidonoyl glycerol). Anandamide is commonly referred to as the “bliss molecule” and CBD works to increase anandamide by inhibiting the enzyme that breaks it down.
Phytocannabinoids are cannabinoids such as CBD, THC, CBC, CBG, CDN, CBDA and CBDV that are produced by plants. Phytocannabinoids are produced abundantly in Cannabis but can also be found in a number of other plants such as black pepper, Echinacea, Cacao (think chocolate) and Helichrysum.
The interaction of all of the cannabinoids and terpenes found in PCR hemp extract is usually referred to as the “entourage effect” in the scientific literature. Studies have shown that the full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes in whole plant extract work together synergistically and are more effective in combination than individually.
What are terpenes? What do they do? Are they important?
Terpenes are aromatic hydrocarbons found in many plant species (and hence many essential oils). They give plants their fragrance and taste. You may have heard of ones like linalool (found in lavender and cannabis) and limonene (oranges and cannabis). Terpenes have been shown to modulate the interactions between cannabinoids and our ECS. They also have direct effects on our bodies – think mood elevation in our brains and the scent of lavender. Humulene (alpha-caryophyllene) is found in cannabis and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects equal to that of dexamethasone. Beta-caryophyllene is also found in cannabis and interacts with the CB2 receptor of our ECS and is anti-inflammatory and analgesic. These two molecules are isomers (different structures of the same molecule) and they can potentiate the effects of one another. The strain of cannabis we use in our PCR Hemp extract is very rich in both of these terpenes. Alpha-bisabolol is another terpene that our PCR Hemp is rich in and is also found in German (blue) Chamomile. It is known for its anti-inflammatory, calming and anti-microbial properties