The Symphony Of CBD
From The Jacksonville Review – September 2022 Issue
In the evolving popularity of cannabinoids, lead players have emerged. CBD and THC are the stars of the show. But there are over 100 supporting actors in the ensemble. There is CBC, CBG, CBN, and many more. Each brings a unique characteristic, and together they are something of a symphony. With the 2018 farm bill, research institutions began studying these fascinating compounds.
A Cast of Cannabinoids
The heroes in the show are CBD and THC. CBD is cannabidiol, THC is tetrahydrocannabinol. CBD is primarily sought after for help with chronic pain, anxiety and sleep. It is used for many other conditions such as seizures, Crohn’s, etc. But those are the big 3. Cousin THC is known primarily for getting you “high.” But that is just one facet. THC is also often used for Nerve Pain, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s tremors, Nausea and Glaucoma. People who use THC for medical conditions often find the high effect to be a distraction. It might be tolerable on occasion, but if you are trying to work, being high isn’t always helpful.
Fun fact—CBD and THC share the same chemical formula. 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen and two oxygen. They are just arranged differently. Interesting as well is that humans have cannabinoid receptors built in. Why would we develop such a specialized translator? Perhaps a subject for another day.
Horn Creek Farms only works with high CBD plants. CBD geneticists have bred THC content to much lower levels than occur naturally. Our products must contain less than .3% THC. However, the presence of even that small amount of THC seems to increase efficacy. Some of the best products are made from what is called full spectrum concentrates. This means that all of the afore-mentioned “minor” cannabinoids are present. We refer to this synergy as “the entourage effect.”
In one of our more interesting cases, a woman was suffering trigeminal neuralgia. This is an extremely painful nerve condition in the face. Her skin was tremendously sensitive to touch, and she experienced regular shooting pain. She and her husband had exhausted traditional cures. She asked what we might have. We created increasingly potent CBD blends for her to try. They helped, but not completely. Ultimately, she found a 50:50 blend of CBD and THC topical salve was the best solution.
As we discussed, CBD gets all the attention. But what our plants produce is Cannabidiolic acid, or CBDa. CBDa is converted to CBD through heat and pressure. This frequently happens during extraction, but it doesn’t have to. We are learning that CBDa has properties similar to CBD, but it also has unique features. CBDa is much more bioavailable. So CBDa is more potent and easier for the body to put to use. Other cannabinoids have acidic versions as well.
Here are the most common “minor” cannabinoids:
CBG—Cannabigerol is showing signs to be effective for inflammation, pain, mood disorders, anti-bacteria, anti-fungal and many others. CBG is getting a lot of attention from the medical research community. Recently, researchers at OSU found that CBGa and CBDa showed an ability to prevent the COVID-19 virus from entering human cells. I find that the addition of CBG particularly seems to accelerate the effects of other cannabinoids. CBGa is known as the “mother cannabinoid” from which all other cannabinoids develop.
CBC—Cannbichromene appears to do well for inflammation and many of the other ailments mentioned—pain, mood, neurological problems, etc. What is different is how CBC is absorbed, and the receptors it uses. It can be absorbed more effectively by some people.
CBN—Sleep! CBN is wonderful for sleep issues. It doesn’t knock you out, but it keeps you asleep. It is wonderful for those who can only sleep for a few hours before they wake. Our most popular blends include CBN for this. The problem is that CBN is almost always an isomer—manipulated in a lab from other cannabinoids. It just doesn’t occur in high levels naturally. And Oregon banned CBD isomers in July, due to some unregulated isomers which were being used as a psychoactive. We do make CBN products, but they are only for sale outside the state.
CBDv—Cannabidivarin. Good for mood and anticonvulsant.
Full Spectrum oil contains all of the goodness from the plant. People do home extractions using crock pots and MCT oils such as coconut oil. Our lab uses CO2 to do the same. These are highly-effective extracts. Unfortunately, they taste awful. Best used in non- ingested forms. The industry has begun to refer to full spectrum in more broad terms. Full Spectrum oils can be made palatable and more concentrated when distilled. Distillate removes terpenes and flavonoids. This is what we use in tinctures, edibles, gummies and chocolate.
Broad Spectrum oil refers to a full spectrum distillate which has had all THC removed. Many CBD users do not want any THC present. This is often so that use will not trigger drug test results positive for THC. Others might be sensitive to THC or simply not like it, even at .3%.
Isolates are a powder form of just a single cannabinoid. They are easy to blend and formulate products. They are pure and easily measured. However, they do not take advantage of the entourage effect, unless there is distillate in another ingredient. Products made with only isolate can seem potent on paper, but the effects are diminished.
The final thing to know are the various delivery methods.
Edibles are the most convenient, but CBD through the digestive system takes longer to process. It is also less efficient for absorption, though effects last longer. Edibles such as gummies and capsules are the most common form. Sublingual usage of tinctures is more efficient and faster to be absorbed. It bypasses the liver.
Topicals/ transdermal absorption is my favorite for local pain. Why spread the dosage over your entire system if you just want CBD for your sore knee? Many people have both systemic and local pain. In these cases, I suggest an edible in combination with topical for hot spots.
Inhaling. A surprising number of people consume CBD in various forms using smoking or vape devices. This is the most efficient method in terms of absorption, and time to effects. The majority of our customers are uncomfortable with smoking and vaping. But not all. Just today I spoke with the 60-year-old spouse of a Nevada police captain. She was fighting through a bout with cancer and found that the traditional joint delivery method was what worked best for her. She laughed about how she has come full circle from her 20’s.
There you have the cast of cannabinoids, extracted concentrates and forms to use. I am excited to see how this knowledge base will expand with scientific studies in addition to the anecdotal stories we collect.