Botanical Nutrition

by Rob Seeman official blogger of the health food movement


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Why the National Cancer Institute research on CBD makes it hard on manufacturers of dietary supplements

Admittedly, this is a bit of a paradox which can be answered in six words. “Because we can’t talk about it.”

Here is their page on cannabinoids for health practitioners.

The Dietary Supplementation Health Education Act (DSHEA) prevents dietary supplement manufacturers from talking about research that indicates their products may treat, or even PREVENT, any kind of disease or health condition.  Cancer definitely falls under that category.

So lets say, hypothetically, that you are a manufacturer of dietary supplements who is releasing a new product that is made of the natural Cannabis sativa cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol).  Wouldn’t you want to tell the world if there was information that indicated that your product could address cancer? We know from other countries where CBD (and even THC which is illegal in 48 of 50 states) is sold as a prescription drug for conditions such as epilepsy, pediatric seizure disorder, anxiety, severe nausea and lack of appetite, that it can be a versatile natural substance. Helping to prevent cancer might be something folks would want to know about? Well, you, if you were a manufacturer of dietary supplements you wouldn’t be able to say that, or else risk the legal ramifications of being cited by the government’s Food and Drug Administration.  Of course in most cases in order to BE a manufacturer, you’d have to believe in Corporate_personhood because most supplement manufacturers are corporations. As well it should be.

I am not a manufacturer of dietary supplements, although I work with many companies that are and have for a long time, none of which I personally consider people.  I am an American citizen with first ammendment rights guaranteed by the constitution. So I can tell you what that link I posted to above says, just in case you haven’t clicked on it yet.

“CBD, in particular, is thought to have significant analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity without the psychoactive effect (high) of delta-9-THC.”

Antitumor Effects

One study in mice and rats suggested that cannabinoids may have a protective effect against the development of certain types of tumors.[3] During this 2-year study, groups of mice and rats were given various doses of THC by gavage. A dose-related decrease in the incidence of hepatic adenoma tumors and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) was observed in the mice. Decreased incidences of benign tumors (polyps and adenomas) in other organs (mammary gland, uterus, pituitary, testis, and pancreas) were also noted in the rats. In another study, delta-9-THC, delta-8-THC, and cannabinol were found to inhibit the growth of Lewis lung adenocarcinoma cells in vitro and in vivo .[4] In addition, other tumors have been shown to be sensitive to cannabinoid-induced growth inhibition.[58]

Cannabinoids may cause antitumor effects by various mechanisms, including induction of cell death, inhibition of cell growth, and inhibition of tumor angiogenesis invasion and metastasis.[912] Two reviews summarize the molecular mechanisms of action of cannabinoids as antitumor agents.[13,14] Cannabinoids appear to kill tumor cells but do not affect their nontransformed counterparts and may even protect them from cell death. These compounds have been shown to induce apoptosis in glioma cells in culture and induce regression of glioma tumors in mice and rats. Cannabinoids protect normal glial cells of astroglial and oligodendroglial lineages from apoptosis mediated by the CB1 receptor.[15]

An in vitro study of the effect of CBD on programmed cell death in breast cancer cell lines found that CBD induced programmed cell death, independent of the CB1, CB2, or vanilloid receptors. CBD inhibited the survival of both estrogen receptor–positive and estrogen receptor–negative breast cancer cell lines, inducing apoptosis in a concentration-dependent manner while having little effect on nontumorigenic, mammary cells.[19]

CBD has also been demonstrated to exert a chemopreventive effect in a mouse model of colon cancer.[20] In the experimental system, azoxymethane increased premalignant and malignant lesions in the mouse colon. Animals treated with azoxymethane and CBD concurrently were protected from developing premalignant and malignant lesions. In in vitro experiments involving colorectal cancer cell lines, the investigators found that CBD protected DNA from oxidative damage, increased endocannabinoid levels, and reduced cell proliferation. In a subsequent study, the investigators found that the antiproliferative effect of CBD was counteracted by selective CB1 but not CB2 receptor antagonists, suggesting an involvement of CB1 receptors.[21]

Another investigation into the antitumor effects of CBD examined the role of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1).[12] ICAM-1 expression has been reported to be negatively correlated with cancer metastasis. In lung cancer cell lines, CBD upregulated ICAM-1, leading to decreased cancer cell invasiveness.

In an in vivo model using severe combined immunodeficient mice, subcutaneous tumors were generated by inoculating the animals with cells from human non-small cell lung carcinoma cell lines.[22] Tumor growth was inhibited by 60% in THC-treated mice compared with vehicle-treated control mice. Tumor specimens revealed that THC had antiangiogenic and antiproliferative effects. However, research with immunocompetent murine tumor models has demonstrated immunosuppression and enhanced tumor growth in mice treated with THC.[23,24]

In addition, both plant-derived and endogenous cannabinoids have been studied for anti-inflammatory effects. A mouse study demonstrated that endogenous cannabinoid system signaling is likely to provide intrinsic protection against colonic inflammation.[25] As a result, a hypothesis that phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids may be useful in the risk reduction and treatment of colorectal cancer has been developed.[2629]

CBD may also enhance uptake of cytotoxic drugs into malignant cells. Activation of the transient receptor potential vanilloid type 2 (TRPV2) has been shown to inhibit proliferation of human glioblastoma multiforme cells and overcome resistance to the chemotherapy agent carmustine.[30] In an in vitro model, CBD increased TRPV2 activation and increased uptake of cytotoxic drugs, leading to apoptosis of glioma cells without affecting normal human astrocytes. This suggests that coadministration of CBD with cytotoxic agents may increase drug uptake and potentiate cell death in human glioma cells.

The page also covers very well the research on appetitie stimulation and analgesia (pain relief).  Neither of which the makers of dietary supplements will let you know about it. “Because we can’t talk about it.”

God bless America.


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Asian demand for Maca root disrupts international natural products trade

It really pains me to type that title, folks. I’m a big fan of Maca.  It is one of the best ‘tonic’ super foods – meaning that it is safe enough to eat every day and provides continual body strengthening benefits.  It is a member of the Cabbage family that only grows in the Andes mountains on the coast of South America.

When the Food Movement project first began bringing Red and Black Lepidium preuvianum (Maca root) from Peru into the US health food store market, I was ecstatic that we were able to bring this international superstar to folks at a fair price, and were able to work with our supplier partners to obtain verifiable certified organic plants in a raw form.  Now international demand has pushed prices sky high and made good materials more scarce.

So here’s the long a short of it; if you see a Maca you like on the shelves right now – especially at prices consistent with what they were earlier in the year – buy it all.  If you liked Maca at $13.99 for an 8 oz (retail price on TFM Red Maca before the recent disruption) you can expect to buy quite a bit more as the overall market absorbs supply-side price increases of 400 to 500%!

Consider this recent report from America TV

While price increases can cause problems for retail and wholesale suppliers, as well as importers (not to mention consumers!) the real problem may end up being one of supply. For a crop that only grows properly in a certain part of the world, there can be only a certain amount of supply without sacrificing quality.  At this moment I’d rather pay too much for Maca than have none at all!  It seems that it may be the only option we have.

As far as blaming Asian markets for this problem – if anyone is to blame it  might just be the Chinese government.  Because they had state-controlled limits on birth rates, recently lifted, their people were not concerned with procreating at the rate they are in the free world.  China’s one-child policy from 1979 to 2009 may have averted as much as 200 million births, although ethnic minorities within China were not limited by the single child rule and other exceptions were actually made to this limit.  Even so, since the change in China’s family planning policy, their demand for products ranging from Prenatal Vitamins and EFAs to aphrodisiacs such as Maca root, have skyrocketed.  As these pressures impact our global market, we can only do our best to keep our eyes on the prize in regards to sustainability, fair trade principles, and environmental footprint.  Good Maca will likely continue to be available, but we will always struggle with increased levels of inferior products as Maca poaching and other tactics become more profitable than ever.


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CBD now available as a dietary supplement : the Hemp Movement

I have to tell you folks, today is a good day.  Because I can officially announce to you that CBD (cannabidiol) from Hemp is now available to health food stores as a dietary supplement.  The Food Movement is just unveiling its brand new product Super Hemp CBD for sale into the health food store market, and even has its own brand new Facebook page.  As we line up our very first customer – we have reason to think there may be a very special guest on hand to purchase the first bottle. But more on that to come!

Super-Hemp-Facebook-banner

TFM Super Hemp CBD

Because the Food Movement only works with top-level GMP compliant vetted suppliers, there had to be some thorough research done to ensure that a properly quality-controlled and legal product could be made.  Thanks to our friend Stuart Tomc (formerly with Nordic Naturals fish oils) the current Vice-President of Human Nutrition at CannaVest, we have been able to do just that.

What can I tell you about CBD? I can tell you that in the UK they fear they will have to wait years and years for their version of Pharma to make it available despite positive human clinical trials for various health conditions.  In the US, it has been somewhat conflated with the medical marijuana issue, as pot does contain CBD, as well as the psychoactive CBD.  Super Hemp CBD, made with CannaVest’s CBD Plus oil is groundbreaking because it has 0% THC.  Or, as the National Cancer institute website notes “CBD, in particular, is thought to have significant analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity without the psychoactive effect (high) of delta-9-THC.”

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/cannabis/healthprofessional/page4

There are a lot of very beneficial dietary supplements on the market today, but CBD is hands down one of the most exciting to come across in years.  The Hemp Movement has finally been able to win this (no small) victory in making Super Hemp CBD available to the general public without a prescription or without legal concerns raised by marijuana.

On a sobering DSHEA-compliant note, the double-edge sword of the dietary supplement market is that we can market natural products, but very often the view is taken that we can’t SAY very much without being accused of making illegal health claims or misbranding a therapeutic drug as a dietary supplement.  It is hard to argue with ANY tact that makes valuable natural medicine available to folks such as those suffering from pediatric seizure disorders.  So, the Hemp Movement lives to fight another day as we give consumers more options to access beneficial substances which may support the structure and function of their human body, which is a natural healer all in itself.