In medical school, there is a "this is how we've always done it" syndrome. That is the conventional, allopathic medicine model. How did we come to believe that prescription medication is the only or most effective way to treat disease? We are taking a reductive approach. In medical school, we are trained in identifying what's bad in your body and then to get rid of it. This is only part of the puzzle. We often get locked into this one-size-fits-all thinking. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to working with plant medicine like cannabis. Botanical remedies have been mainstays of folk medicine in many cultures throughout history.
Phytocannabinoid medicine is on that list. We also have to remember there are synergistic effects of the complex compounds found in plants. When we try to isolate one of those molecular compounds and take it in a pure form, you not only do not get all of the benefits, but you increase risk by taking them out of context. Studies done on essential oils have shown these to be selectively effective against various types of bacteria, including famously resistant ones like MRSA. be antispasmodic, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiolytic, and aid in memory.
Essential oils, which are extracted from flowers, plants, and fruits, contain terpenes. Terpenes work together with cannabinoids to enhance CBD’s therapeutic effect, a synergy that is often referred to as the Entourage Effect. Terpenes are able to modulate and enhance some of the effects that CBD is known for. Treaty formulas are target their effects through the unique terpene profile that accompanies Calm, Recover and Focus.
Essential fatty acids (Omega 3 & 6) found in sunflower and hemp seed help your body absorb cannabinoids like THC and CBD because they are ‘lipophilic’ or fat-loving. Studies have shown that consuming CBD with fat triples the amount of CBD absorbed as compared to when it isn’t. Plant botanicals are also rich in flavonoids. Flavonoids are plant nutrients that help your body ward off every-day toxins. They are anti-allergic, anti-carcinogenic, anti-viral, and have anti-inflammatory properties. CBD is icing on the cake. CBD promotes cell growth, boosts the immune system, relieves pain and nausea; reduces inflammation and anxiety; helps to fight cancer; may treat neurological disorders and seizures; promotes good sleep/ help with insomnia and cardiovascular health.
Cannabis is not a cure-all or silver bullet for everything that ails you. Still, more and more research shows that it is effective in addressing chronic health conditions by relieving symptoms and also addressing and modulating your body’s internal systems. By getting to the root of many disorders—an out-of-balance, poorly nourished endocannabinoid system—cannabis can offer deeper, long lasting relief.
Cannabinoid medicine disrupts conventional western medicine as we know it. It raises a series of questions about how we think about medicine in the future. What if we reorganized this approach?
The future is regenerative medicine, nutritional medicine, and preventative medicine, all of which entail a model of creating health from the ground up. The medical cannabis movement should be a wake-up call to the health care system. It is teaching us all to rethink medicine and explore new ways we can treat and heal from disease and even prevent disease altogether.
Dr. Junella Chin is an advocate for better understanding of the science of cannabinoid medicine. She is an integrative cannabis physician. Her work has been featured in Forbes, LA Times, CNN, Good Morning America, among others. As a chronic pain survivor, she dedicated her medical career to finding effective, alternative approaches to patient care.
She earned her BS from Cornell, Medical Degree from Touro University, Medical Acupuncture at Harvard, and was a researcher at Columbia University’s Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Aging and Women's Health. The book she co-authored, Cannabis and CBD for Health and Wellness, was published in June 2019.
Phytocannabinoid refers to plant derived active compounds that join to receptors of the body and brain. Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of at least 113 phytocannabinoids produced by cannabis and hemp plant. Phytocannabinoids like CBD & THC, act on the endocannabinoid system.
There are three categories of cannabinoids:
Phytocannabinoids: Cannabinoids produced by plants.
Endocannabinoids: Cannabinoids produced by living animals, including humans, that interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
Synthetic cannabinoids: Cannabinoids produced by humans in a laboratory.
Essential oils is a concentrated plant extract that contains volatile (easily evaporated at normal temperatures) chemical compounds. It is "essential" because it contains the "essence of" the plant's fragrance—the characteristic fragrance of the plant from which it is derived.
Terpenes are volatile aromatic molecules that evaporate easily and readily announce themselves to the nose. Research emphasizes the pharmacological importance of terpenes, as they form the very basis of aromatherapy; a popular holistic healing modality. Cannabis’ compelling fragrance and particular psychoactive flavor are determined by the predominant terpenes in a given variety.
Flavonoids are organic compounds that work synergistically with terpenes to provide aroma and flavor in cannabis and a variety of other organisms, including plants, fruits, and vegetables. Flavonoids are formed inside cannabis trichomes, and may also work synergistically with terpenes and cannabinoids in producing therapeutic effects.
The word “flavonoid” actually stems from the Latin term flavus, referencing the color yellow as it appears in nature. This makes sense considering a primary function of flavonoids is to provide color. Flavonoids are also partly responsible for protecting plants against the elements such as potentially harmful UV rays, pests, and diseases.
Endocannabinoid system is distributed throughout the body, however, it is most concentrated in the central and peripheral nervous systems.The (ECS) is composed of two receptors (cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2), the compounds in our bodies that naturally activate them (endocannabinoids), and the enzymes that break down those compounds. The ECS responds to both the endocannabinoids produced in the body and to external cannabinoids like the phytocannabinoid cannabidiol. It helps to regulate, through maintenance of homeostasis, physiological and cognitive processes including pre- and postnatal development, appetite, pain sensation, mood, and memory.
Unlike its sister, CBD does not directly interact with the molecular targets known as ‘receptors’ within the endocannabinoid system. CBD is, instead, a very promiscuous molecule. It interacts with at least sixty-five molecular targets outside of the endocannabinoid system. It’s interaction with 5-HT1a, a serotonin receptor, could account for its anti-anxiety effects, and its interaction with two opioid receptors could explain its painkilling ones. The number of targets with which CBD interacts could explain why CBD has applications across such a broad spectrum of ailments.
Regenerative means practices that support soil, life and the planet - going beyond sustainability to actually replenish ecosystems, nurture biodiversity and sequester carbon. The principal goal of a regeneration is to build and maintain the soil’s ability to regenerate and recycle nutrients, and to capture and hold water, decreasing the farm’s dependence on outside inputs.