When talking hemp oil full spectrum we are generally looking at all that the hemp plant provides. There are many different compounds in the Hemp plant
What are cannabinoids?
As part of hemp oil full spectrum; Cannabinoids are a diverse array of ‘cannabis like’ molecules which encompass phytocannabinoids, endocannabinoids and synthetic cannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids– those found in the cannabis plant.
What are phytocannabinoids?
The most abundant phytocannabinoids found in the cannabis plant are ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol. THC is responsible for the psychoactive effects of street cannabis, whereas cannabidiol is non-psychoactive.
Most street cannabis has high THC content, with a low cannabidiol content, whereas some strains of industrial hemp have high cannabidiol content, but negligible THC content. Different strains of cannabis have varying concentrations of all the different types of cannabinoids. Although many are in trace quantities, these cannabinoids should not be ignored. Many therapeutic drugs have been discovered in plants even though they were only present in trace quantities, for example the anti-cancer drug vinblastine was discovered in trace quantities in the Madagascan periwinkle.
Endocannabinoids– naturally occurring cannabinoids found in the human brain and bodily organs. A naturally occurring lipid-signalling molecule, endocannabinoids play a vital role in maintaining biological harmony and neuronal plasticity – how the brain adapts to change.
What are endocannabinoids?
Endocannabinoids are naturally occurring lipid signalling molecules and part of hemp oil full spectrum. They are found in body, and that mediate normal physiological functions. The endocannabinoids appear to have evolved in the brain to maintain biological harmony and to reduce excessive and damaging excitability of neurons. They also play a role in neuronal plasticity, that is, how the brain adapts to change.
The two major endocannabinoids that have been discovered are:
- anandamide (ananda is the Sanskrit word for bliss), and
- 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG).
Various biological proteins also exist that regulate the formation, transport and degradation of the endocannabinoids. These provide another drug target to help boost endocannabinoid levels, as there is an emerging viewpoint that many diseases involve a deficiency in endocannabinoids.
Endocannabinoids interact with cannabinoid (CB) receptors to influence biological function and part of hemp oil full spectrum. The two types that have been discovered thus far are CB1 and CB2, which are found in tissues throughout the body.
In the brain, CB1 is found on neurons, and this is the receptor with which tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) binds to produce its psychoactive effects. It is noteworthy that many phytocannabinoids do not bind to CB1, and are therefore unlikely to be intoxicating.
CB2 is found largely in immune tissues, including the brain’s immune cells, the microglia. Triggering CB2 on these cells reduces inflammation of the brain. Targeting CB2 may then offer hope in treating various conditions that involve brain inflammation such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and various psychiatric conditions
Synthetic cannabinoids – those that have been synthesised by chemists that mimic the actions of phytocannabinoids or influence the body’s concentrations of endocannabinoids.
What is the ‘entourage effect’?
The ‘entourage effect’ is the notion that the pharmacological effects of cannabis, as a whole extract, is greater than the sum of its individual chemical components. We are putting the entourage effect to the test across a range of research studies where we are examining cannabinoid combinations and full-spectrum extracts.
What are Terpenes?
Another part of hemp oil full spectrum is Terpenes (/ˈtɜːrpiːn/) which are a large and diverse class of organic compounds, produced by a variety of plants, particularly conifers, and by some insects. They often have a strong odor and may protect the plants that produce them by deterring herbivores and by attracting predators and parasites of herbivores. (Sourced: Wikipedia). Terpenoids are responsible for the distinct smell of cannabis and many other flowering plants. Interestingly, terpenoids may directly or indirectly interact with phytocannabinoids, potentially contributing to the therapeutic value of cannabis. Prevalent terpenoids in cannabis include αL-pinene, β-pinene, β-myrcene, and β-caryophyllene, which are routinely analysed by our researchers in cannabis extracts and biological samples.
What Are Flavonoids?
Another part of hemp oil full spectrum is the Flavonoids which are a diverse group of phytonutrients (plant chemicals) found in almost all fruits and vegetables. Along with carotenoids, they are responsible for the vivid colors in fruits and vegetables. Flavonoids are the largest group of phytonutrients, with more than 6,000 types. Some of the best-known flavonoids are quercetin and kaempferol.
In recent years, scientists have turned to various flavonoids to explain some of the health benefits associated with diets rich in fruits and vegetables, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Like other phytonutrients, flavonoids are powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits. Diets rich in flavonoid-containing foods are sometimes associated with cancer, neurodegenerative and cardiovascular disease prevention. However, it is not yet clear whether the flavonoids themselves are responsible.
Onions, tea, strawberries, kale, grapes, Brussels sprouts, citrus fruit, parsley, and many spices are just a few natural foods rich in flavonoids, according to Louis Premkumar, a professor of pharmacology at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and author of “Fascinating Facts about Phytonutrients in Spices and Healthy Food” (Xlibris, 2014).
The flavonoid family
Flavonoids are part of the polyphenol class of phytonutrients. Polyphenols have historically been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, according to the Global Healing Center, and they are associated with skin protection, brain function, blood sugar and blood pressure regulation, in addition to antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.
There are several significant groups of flavonoids, including anthocyanidins, flavanols, flavones, flavonols, flavonones and isoflavones. Within the flavanol subgroup there are still more subgroups. Each of these subgroups and each type of flavonoid carries its own distinct set of actions, benefits and originating foods.
Premkumar provided an overview of some flavonoid groups, where they can be found, and their benefits:
Flavones: These include luteolin and apigenin. Good sources of flavones are celery, parsley, various herbs and hot peppers. Flavones are associated with overall antioxidant benefits and delaying the metabolizing of drugs.
Anthocyanidins: These include malvidin, pelargondin, peoidin and cyanidin. Good sources of anthocyanidins include red, purple and blue berries; pomegranates; plums; red wine; and red and purple grapes. Anthocyanidins are associated with heart health, antioxidant effects and helping with obesity and diabetes prevention.
Flavonones: These include hesperetin, eriodictyol and naringenin. Flavonones are found abundantly in citrus fruits. They are associated with cardiovascular health, relaxation and overall antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.
Isoflavones: This subgroup includes genistein, glycitein and daidzein. Isoflavones are highly concentrated in soybeans and soy products, as well as legumes. They are phytoestrogens, meaning that they are chemicals that act like the hormone estrogen. Scientists suspect they may be beneficial in lowering the risk of hormonal cancers, such as breast, endometrial and prostate cancers, though study results are currently mixed. In various studies, isoflavones have sometimes acted as antioxidants and sometimes as oxidants, so their effect on cancer is unclear. They are also being studied as a way to treat menopausal symptoms.
Flavonols: This widely distributed subgroup of flavonoids includes quercetin and kaempferol. They are found in onions, leeks, Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, tea, berries, beans and apples. Quercetin is an antihistamine associated with helping to relieve hay fever and hives. It is also known for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Kaempferol and other flavonols are associated with powerful anti-inflamatory and antioxidant activities leading to chronic disease prevention.
Flavanols: There are three primary types of flavanols: monomers (more widely known as catechins), dimers and polymers. Flavanols are found in teas, cocoa, grapes, apples, berries, fava beans and red wine. Catechins are especially common in green and white teas, while dimers, which are associated with lowering cholesterol, are found in black tea. Scientists suspect catechins might be useful in aiding chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms. Catechins are also associated with cardiovascular and neurological health.
Benefits of flavonoids
A large-scale, 25-year study, published in 1995 in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, looked at men across seven countries and found that flavonoid consumption was significantly associated with longevity. The researchers suggested flavonoid consumption could account for 25 percent of the observed difference in mortality rates from coronary heart disease and cancer.
Premkumar noted that flavonoids are also associated with inflammation and weight loss. “Flavonoid content can relieve inflammation and decrease the levels of an appetite-suppressing hormone, leptin,” he said. “We know for sure that leptin plays an important role in food consumption because mice with mutations in leptin or its receptor become obese, and these animals are used as models for studying diabetes and obesity.”
Because of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory behaviors, flavonoids are associated with cardiovascular disease prevention. According to the George Mateljan Foundation’s World’s Healthiest Foods website, flavonoids may lower the risk of atherosclerosis through protecting LDL cholesterol from free radical damage. They may also improve the quality of blood vessel walls.
Several studies have found an association between higher flavonoid intake levels and lowered cardiovascular disease risk across various groups, including postmenopausal women, male smokers and middle-age men and women. For example, a study of more than 10,000 men and women published in 2002 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those with higher levels of quercetin had lower rates of ischemic heart disease and those with higher levels of kaempferol, naringenin and hesperetin had lower cerebrovascular disease rates.
Various flavonoids, including quercetin, have shown to be effective at preventing platelet aggregation, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Platelet aggregation is a known component in heart disease because it contributes to forming blood clots that can lead to strokes and other problems.
A study published in 2013 in the journal Diabetic Medicine found that among men with type 2 diabetes, adding a flavonoid-rich spice mix to hamburger meat significantly improved their vascular function during subsequent hours. The spice mix included rosemary, garlic, ginger, black pepper and oregano — all spices that contain flavonoids. World’s Healthiest Foods notes that similar effects have been seen in studies of grape juice, chocolate, pomegranate juice and soy foods.
The research in this area has produced mixed results. Animal studies have shown positive results when it comes to lung, mouth, stomach, colon, skin and other cancers, according to the Linus Pauling Institute, but human studies have yet to show consistently similar results. More research is needed.
The most promising studies to date regard breast and stomach cancer. A large study published in 2003 in the British Journal of Cancer found that women with higher levels of flavone intake were at a lower risk for developing breast cancer, while a study in Cancer Causes & Control found a correlation between kaempferol intakes and reduced gastric cancer risk. On the other hand, another study, published in the same journal, did not associate reduced gastric cancer risk with kaempferol but flavonones.
Though flavonoids exhibit powerful antioxidant activity, they exist in a relatively low concentration in the bloodstream when compared to antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E, according to World’s Healthiest Foods. This may lower their overall antioxidant power, and thus lessen their cancer-fighting effects.
Neurodegenerative disease prevention
Flavonoids’ anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects may help protect against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. In animal studies, flavonoid levels have been positively correlated with reduced risk of these diseases, but human studies have yielded inconclusive results. For example, a large-scale study published in 2000 in the European Journal of Epidemiology found that among elderly men and women, those with the highest levels of flavonoids had a 50 percent lower risk of developing dementia over the next five years than those with the lowest levels of flavonoid intake. On the other hand, a study published in 2002 in JAMA found that among men, the only group that saw a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s when increasing their flavonoid intake was smokers. The same results were seen in terms of Parkinson’s disease, according to a study published in 1997 in Archives of Neurology.
Flavonoids may also increase blood flow to the brain, improving cognitive function, according to World’s Healthiest Foods. A study published in 2007 in the American Journal of Epidemiologyfound that elderly men and women with higher flavonoid intake had better cognitive performance at the start of the study and significantly less age-related cognitive decline over the next 10 years than those with lower flavonoid intake.
Many types of flavonoids are available in supplement form. While these may be a good option for those struggling to get sufficient fruits and vegetables in their diet, the Linus Pauling Institute notes that quercetin supplements and tea extracts may cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, tremors and dizziness. There are no side effects of consuming flavonoids through plant-based foods.
People who hope to consume flavonoids through plant-based foods should be aware that cooking and storing could change the flavonoid make up in fruits and vegetables. For example, onions stored at room temperature can lose up to one-third of their flavonoids in just two weeks. According to World’s Healthiest Foods, up to 80 percent of some flavonoids can be lost in the cooking process. A good way to tell if your food is losing nutrients is by its color; if its normally vivid colors start to fade while being boiled or cooked, your food is losing its phytonutrients.
Premkumar noted that flavonoids are often concentrated in the skins and outer areas of fruits and vegetables. For that reason, it is better not to cut up fruit, which damages the skin, until you are ready to eat it.
Sesquiterpenes are compounds of three isoprene units, which is fifteen carbons and twenty-four hydrogens per molecule- molecular weight 204 amu. There are more than 10,000 kinds of sesquiterpenes. Sesquiterpenes are the principal constituents of Cedarwood (98%), Vetiver (97%), Spikenard (93%), Sandalwood (Aloes) 90%, Black Pepper (74%), Patchouli (71%), Myrrh (62%), and Ginger (59%). They are also found in Galbanum, Onycha, and Frankincense (8%).
Sesquiterpene molecules deliver oxygen molecules to cells, like hemoglobin does in the blood. Sesquiterpenes can also erase or deprogram miswritten codes in the DNA. Sesquiterpenes are thought to be especially effective in fighting cancer because the root problem with a cancer cell is that it contains misinformation, and sesquiterpenes can erase that garbled information. At the same time the oxygen carried by sesquiterpene molecules creates an environment where cancer cells can’t reproduce. Hence, sesquiterpenes deliver cancer cells a double punch-onethat disables their coded misbehavior and a second that stops their growth.
The American Medical Association (AMA) has said that if they could find an agent that would pass the blood-brain barrier, they would be able to find cures for ailments such as Lou Gehrig’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Such agents already exist and have been available since Biblical times. The agents, of course, are essential oils-particularly those containing the brain oxygenating molecules of sesquiterpenes.