Yesterday I helped to make April magically disappear – by having a great conversation with an old friend. Stuart Tomc has been somewhat of a legend in the natural products realm, being a world-renowned speaker and educator for companies like North American Herb & Spice, Nordic Naturals and currently with the market leader in CBD products, Cannavest Sciences Inc (CVSI).
I’ll be uploading the epic conversation soon – it is nearly 1:40 in length – but first I wanted to create this blog post to index some of the reading and viewing material that came up in our conversation. Stuart is a really eclectic thinker and I always find it interesting to hear what he has been diving into.
We started off talking about the 800 lb gorilla in the room – the current Covid-19 outbreak and subsuquent quarantine. Stuart has been listening to TWiV – this Week in Virology, which has recently become a very popular podcast! I find it very eye-opening, and as much as I am suffering corona-talk burnout, this really gives a great into the science behind the pandemic scene.
You may have read my previous post about BCP (Beta-caryophyllene) a natural cannabinoid (cousin of CBD) found naturally-occurring not just in Hemp, but in many foods such as celery, black pepper and maca root. Well, you may be interested to know that a continuing and growing body of research shows new and different benefits to human health!
This has been one of my most popular blog entries of late, due to some emerging science on the importance on beta-caryophyllene. Many of you will know that recently the leading company, the Hemp Movement, discontinued CBD and threw their lot in with Plus CBD made by CV Sciences. BCP is also a phytocannabinoid, and a growing body of scientific research indicates that it is a novel compound we should examine as well.
A very recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience found that BCP “BCP alleviates ischemic brain damage potentially by inhibiting necroptotic neuronal death and inflammatory response. This study suggests a novel application for BCP as a neuroprotective agent.”
Another recent study found BCP helpful in non-alcoholic hepatitis. Researchers concluded that the “antioxidant effect of BCP might suppressed the damage of hepatocytes caused by oxidative stress and following inflammation and fibrosis.” Hepatocytes are cells in the liver that are damaged in hepatitis progression.
You may have read in my first post how I talked about BCP affecting both CB-1 and CB-2 receptors; the two major switches in the human ECS or endo-cannabionoid system.
Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in an article entitled “Beta-caryophyllene is a dietary cannabinoid”, Gertsch et al write “The psychoactive cannabinoids from Cannabis sativa L. and the arachidonic acid-derived endocannabinoids are nonselective natural ligands for cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) and CB2 receptors. Although the CB1 receptor is responsible for the psychomodulatory effects, activation of the CB2 receptor is a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of inflammation, pain, atherosclerosis, and osteoporosis. Here, we report that the widespread plant volatile (E)-β-caryophyllene [(E)-BCP] selectively binds to the CB2 receptor (Ki = 155 ± 4 nM) and that it is a functional CB2 agonist. Intriguingly, (E)-BCP is a common constituent of the essential oils of numerous spice and food plants and a major component in Cannabis.”
CBD (cannabidiol) seems to be such a promising new dietary supplement, especially as a super-critically extracted compound from industrial hemp. The pioneering health food store brand Super Hemp CBD, made with Plus CBD Oil from CannaVest and exclusively distributed by the Food Movement Co. in Illinois, has been very well-received due to the purity and 0.00% THC content of the product.
So, the letter to stockholders and customers just released by CannaVest’s CEO Michael Mona, Jr. may seem somewhat surprising. In the letter he officially responds to a recently-released smear article titled ‘Hustlers of Hemp’ by saying “Our industry as a whole is subject to numerous attacks, and typically we do not merit such attacks with a response. In this instance, where the quality and safety of our products is attacked, we owe it to our customers and stockholders to respond.” Read the full text of the letter here.
From my work on CBD with the Hemp Movement, I can tell you that Super Hemp CBD, made with Plus CBD Oil is substantiated by very reputable cutting edge testing methods. This is why we can assure that the product is indeed solvent-free because of the superior super-critical extraction method. Project CBD claims to be a third-party project, but according to Mona’s letter evidence indicates that Project CBD is little more than a marketing ploy by competitive products; in particular some which are marketed through multi-level networking channels or ‘pyramid schemes’; and have be known to slander competitors with similar smear campaigns and dirty business tactics.
In the end, I personally feel that those of us taking the ‘higher road’ of making products which pass credible third-party standards have already risen to the top as the product which belongs in the hands of the discerning consumer or health food store. In the short run, we give some attention to these attacks by responding. Ultimately, customers deserve to know the truth and products like Super Hemp CBD with a product that is guaranteed to be safe and legal, as opposed to the ‘whole Cannabis only’ platform which Project CBD claims to represent. Certainly in the interest of natural medicine, and particularly in states where medical marijuana is not an option, the non-psychoactive CBD seems to hold promise for many families and individuals.
Let’s take a minute to look at the numbers. Hemp History Week happens every year from June 1-7th. With all the renewed focus on this important plant, it is worthwhile to take a moment to explore this interesting history even in the other 51 weeks of the year! While it is a much more sustainable crop than say, trees being grown for paper mills, Hemp has gotten a bad rap over the last 57 years due to an interesting mix of industry and politics.
Take a look at this Hemp History Timeline on the Hemp History website. As you can see things start off well in the 1700s with the Declaration of Independence being written on hemp paper, and almost all of the founding fathers growing it. President Abraham Lincoln uses hemp seed oil to light his house. While ‘Hemp for Victory’ is a rallying cry in World War II, by 1957 Hemp is no longer grown in the US due to “confusion over hemp and drug varieties of the plant, while new government incentives for industry replace natural fibers with plastics, ultimately bankrupting key hemp processors.”
Then in 2004, the Ninth Circuit Court decision in Hemp Industries Association vs. DEA permanently protects sales of hemp foods and body care products in the U.S. But yet still no Hemp is grown in the US.
Fast forward to 2014 – and we find the Kentucky and Colorado Departments of Agriculture are fighting with the federal government for the right to grow industrial hemp in their states. BACKGROUND HERE Now, just recently we see that the Federal Government and the state of Kentucky have settled their differences, and the state of industrial Hemp appears to be turning a corner.
Say it with me – Hemp Hemp Hooray! This beneficial source of human nutrition and sustainable industrial applications could just yet be America’s latest bumper crop all over again.
Talk about being on the cutting edge of science here, folks. Now more than ever, scientists are furiously researching the activity of our body’s own endocannabinoid system (ECS) as a major factor in some very important areas of brain and Central Nervous System functioning. Now, research by Z Hadju et al published just yesterday shows that Maca root aka Lepidium meyenii or Lepidium peruvianum (yes that amazing Peruvian super food you may have heard me talk about just a little bit) contains compounds which may have important effects on various protein targets in the ECS system. These compounds, called N-alkylamides (NAAs), have an effect that is described as cannabomimetic.
This is fascinating not just because it gives one more exciting insight (from a thoroughly reductionist standpoint, mind you) of how dynamic plants are. It is especially timely because it parallels a re-visitation our society and our scientists are having with cannabinoids. New pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements and brain therapies are being developed around these stunning new developments and the potential for tapping into our body’s own regulation mechanisms. Which is, clearly, what plant medicines do best because of their own internal regulatory mechanisms and unique things like secondary metabolites.
In an article in the NY TImes, celebrity food author and philosopher Michael Pollan talks about the cannabanoid network “A brain chemical that sharpens the senses, narrows your mental focus, allows you to forget everything extraneous to the task at hand (including physical discomfort and the passage of time) and makes you hungry would seem to be the perfect pharmacological tool for Man…” While this is extremely relevant to research on compounds such as CBD extracted from industrial hemp (and therefore legal in all 50 states) it may apply to many botanicals in different ways, as well as to our body’s own intrinsic production of compounds such as anandamide (named for the Vedic word ananda, meaning bliss).