Monthly Archives: April 2019

  1. Explaining Cannabinoids Part II: The Endocannabinoid System

    Explaining Cannabinoids Part II: The Endocannabinoid System

    In our last post in this series, we reviewed the phytocannabinoids—what they are and some of the effects research shows they have on the human body. Equally important is understanding why these phytocannabinoids do what research suggests. This question has been the focus of rigorous study for decades and has led directly to the discovery of one of the body’s most important systems: the endocannabinoid system.

    What is the Endocannabinoid System?

    The short answer is that the endocannabinoid system is what keeps the body balanced. Studies show the endocannabinoid system modulates pleasure, energy, and well-being, and also helps the body find equilibrium when affected by injury or disease. The system is active in all parts of the body and interacts with all of the body’s other systems. Despite its significant role, an informal poll in 2014 showed only 13 percent of US medical schools cover the endocannabinoid system when training new doctors.

    Part of that lack of training is likely due to the endocannabinoid system’s relative newness to the scientific community. The first cannabinoid receptor was discovered in 1988, and researchers are constantly making breakthroughs on how the system functions.

    Elements of the Endocannabinoid System

    The endocannabinoid system is named for natural compounds in the human body that resemble the phytocannabinoids found in cannabis (both marijuana and hemp plants). Our current understanding shows it is made up of the following parts:

    • Two receptors:Cannabinoid-1 (CB1) receptor, Cannabinoid-2 (CB2) receptor
    • Two signaling molecules: arachidonoyl ethanolamide (also known as AEA or anandamide), 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG)
    • Five Enzymes: DAGL-a, DAGL-b, NAPE selective phospholipase-D, MAGL, FAAH
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  2. CBD Extraction Methods: What’s the Difference?

    CBD Extraction Methods: What’s the Difference?

    Most customers know to look for the hemp extract type and know there’s a huge difference between full-spectrum, CBD isolate, and broad-spectrum products. However, there’s another factor that is equally important to understand, but typically less advertised: the extraction method.

    There are a number of extraction methods used in making hemp oils. Hemp extracts can be made in small batches at home or in massive quantities for retail, using everything from olive oil to dry ice. The most common industrial extraction methods used by large-scale hemp product companies are ethanol and CO2 extraction, so those are what we’ll focus on here.

    What Does Extraction Mean?

    The many compounds found in CBD tinctures, salves, vape oils, and so on don’t just come that way. The sought-after compounds in hemp are largely found within the fibers of hemp flowers, and you can’t tap stalks for a cannabinoid-rich oil like they’re syrup trees. To create the hemp products you see in the Apotheca store, all of the phytocannabinoids in hemp flowers are pulled from plant matter and suspended in a carrier liquid.

    Extraction isn’t a concept unique to making hemp products: the same basic principle is at work when cooking a bone broth or vegetable stock. In cooking, sustained exposure to heat draws the nutrients and flavors from bones or vegetables and a pot of simmering water is the carrier liquid.

    With broths, the water changes color from clear to a yellow or rich amber as nutrients are absorbed. The same process happens with hemp extracts, although the end result is typically a bit greener in color.

    How Does Extraction Work?

    The element that pulls nutrients from plant fibers depends on the extraction method used. Depending on the scale and equ

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