Anandamide | Anandamide, also known as N-arachidonoylethanolamine or AEA, is an endogenous cannabinoid neurotransmitter. The name is taken from the Sanskrit word ananda, which means “joy, bliss, delight”, and amide.
Bioavailability | Subcategory of absorption; the fraction of an administered dose of unchanged drug that reaches the systemic circulation, one of the principal pharmacokinetic properties of drugs. By definition, when a medication is administered intravenously, its bioavailability is 100%.
Dosage | The size or frequency of a dose of a medicine or drug.
Endocannabinoid System | a group of neuromodulatory lipids and their receptors in the brain that are involved in a variety of physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory; it mediates the psychoactive effects of cannabis.
What happens if the endocannabinoid system doesn’t function properly? What are the consequences of a chronically deficient or overactive endocannabinoid system?
In a word, disease.
Cutting-edge science has shown that the endocannabinoid system is dysregulated in nearly all pathological conditions. Thus, it stands to reason that “modulating endocannabinoid system activity may have therapeutic potential in almost all diseases affecting humans,” as Pal Pacher and George Kunos, scientists with the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), suggested in a 2014 publication.
By modulating the endocannabinoid system and enhancing endocannabinoid tone, CBD and THC can slow – or in some cases stop – disease progression.”
Fun fact: Women even secrete endocannabinoids when breastfeeding, for their babies! Yes, the ECS plays a huge part in fertility, PMS, motherhood, and menopause.
Terpenes | The aromatic oils that give plants their unique scents. These compounds are known to carry an array of medicinal benefits also including modulating mood (aromatherapy) and increasing well-being.
CBD | Short for Cannabidiol, a major cannabinoid found in cannabis. Unlike its cousin THC, this cannabinoid is non-intoxicating (won’t get you high) and affects the body, not the mind. Think of CBD as a molecule that brings harmony back to the skin and body, it’s used to soothe distressed skin and restore its natural bliss.
Full Spectrum | CBD extract that has retained the other minor cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other compounds from the plant, including a small amount of THC (< 0.3%)
Broad spectrum | Just like full spectrum CBD, broad spectrum extract contains minor cannabinoids, flavonoids, and usually a fair amount of terpenes, but has all of the residual THC removed from it, leaving 0% THC.
Distillate | Or “disty”, is the word for CBD extract in its more crude form, this includes Full Spectrum and Broad Spectrum CBD and is very thick and sticky, like a dark honey.
CBD isolate | Pure, white, powdery CBD isolate is produced by removing all other compounds found in the plant including terpenes, flavonoids, plant parts, and other cannabinoids, leaving about 99.9% crystalline CBD.
CBG | The non-acidic form of cannabigerolic acid, cannabigerol is an adaptogenic molecule and is the “parent molecule" from which several other cannabinoids are made. It has been making headlines for its numerous reported health benefits.
Hemp seed oil | The dark green, nutty flavored oil that comes from pressing hemp seeds. It is a very nutritive seed oil that’s high in antioxidants, omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, but contains no cannabinoids, no CBD, THC, CBN, etc. Hemp seed oil has been available in health food stores for decades and abundantly present in smoothies and skin care.
Flavonoid | Although they sound like they’d be responsible for flavors, they are actually responsible for the rainbow of colors found in nature! They may have medicinal benefits as well and are being studied for potential antioxidant, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Endo-cannabinoids | Cannabinoids produced by the body (Anandamide and 2-AG are the ones we know of at the moment). They act as neuromodulators to regulate various systems in the body.
Phyto-cannabinoids | Cannabinoids produced by plants, as opposed to those produced by the body (endocannabinoids) or synthetically. They are capable of either interacting with cannabinoid receptors or are chemical similarity to cannabinoids. *Fun fact the cannabis plant is not the only plant that makes cannabinoids - echinacea, red ginseng, carrots, and cruciferous vegetables can too!
Endo-cannabinoid system | The biological system whose purpose is to maintain balance in the body, through a network of neurotransmitters, receptors, and enzymes. The ECS helps regulate basic bodily functions that affect how we relax, eat, sleep, sweat, forget, and protect.
Entourage effect | The theory that cannabinoids and terpenes work best together! Whole plant extractions typically include CBD, THC, and more than 400 trace compounds. The entourage effect proposes a synergistic relationship between the active compounds like cannabinoids and terpenes, and suggests that their relationship leads to enhanced benefits than if they were used solo.
Whole plant medicine | Studies have shown that the therapeutic benefits of the plant’s individual components are magnified when they stay together, so that the medicinal impact of the whole plant is greater than the sum of its parts.
Psychoactive | Also called psychotropic, is a term for chemical substances that change a person's mental state by affecting their perceptions, moods, and/or consciousness. Alcohol, caffeine, THC, magic mushrooms, etc.
Extraction | A separation process consisting in the separation of a substance from a matrix. In cannabis processing, this is the process of pulling essential oils, cannabinoids and Terpenes from cannabis material.
First-pass Metabolism | The phenomenon of drug metabolism whereby the concentration of a drug is greatly reduced before it reaches the systemic circulation. It is the fraction of lost drug during the process of absorption, which is generally related to the liver and gut wall.
Indica | The Indica strains originated from a higher altitude and can be found predominantly in countries known for their hash culture such as Morocco, Afghanistan, Nepal and Turkey. These plants are shorter and fuller plants compared to their sativa counterparts. Indicas are known for providing strong analgesic effects.
Pharmaceutical Grade | The US Pharmacopeia (USP) publishes official monographs for certain substances. These monographs include specific assay methods and product specifications to assure identity and potency. Material that is tested by these methods to meet those specifications is then eligible to be called pharmaceutical grade, or USP. Standards for assessing cannabis ingredients and production are limited at this time, so individual organizations strive to ensure that their ingredients and production processes meet the standards of other industries.
Sativa | Sativa strains originated in an area around the equator and can be found in countries like Colombia, Mexico, Thailand and several African Nations. Sativas are generally known for producing more mental, energetic effects than indices.
Transdermal | A route of administration wherein active ingredients are delivered across the skin for systemic distribution.
The endocannabinoid system is a system in your body that helps to regulate essential functions, such as appetite and immune response. Although it plays a key role, it was only recently discovered by scientists who were trying to get answers to a different phenomenon: why cannabis has such a profound impact on the body and brain.
The “endo” part of the name of the system means “within” or “inside the body.” The cannabinoids part comes from the class of phytochemicals scientists were originally investigating. Not only do plants, like cannabis contain these chemical compounds, but so too does the human body, and it uses them to regulate its internal environment.
Although the discovery of the system was a lucky break, scientists quickly realized that it held vast therapeutic potential, and is now the subject of intense research. Scientists already know quite a lot about the system, but efforts continue to understand it at a deeper level, with the hope that eventually drugs can be developed to help patients manage a range of currently intractable disorders.
The endocannabinoid system hinges on the activity of cannabinoids, molecules that serve as chemical messengers in the body. Cannabinoids in the blood interact with nerve cells, like neurons, helping to regulate all sorts of things, from sleep to mood to pain to memory to appetite. The endocannabinoid system can, therefore, be thought of as one of the mechanisms that the body uses to regulate its internal chemical environment, ensuring that the processes necessary for life continue unabated.
Sometimes, however, the system can begin to malfunction. Generation of too many cannabinoids (or not enough) can produce undesirable changes in the body’s internal environment, kicking it out of homeostasis and leading to some of the issues mentioned above, such as depression and pain.
But how does the endocannabinoid system work? Many of the cells in your body contain cannabinoid receptors – little chemical hooks that attach to the cannabinoid molecules in the blood. These hooks, found primarily on immune and nerve cells, use cannabinoids as signals to do something, whether it’s to produce a particular neurotransmitter (like serotonin) or go and fight a harmful microorganism.
There are two kinds of receptors for cannabinoids, which scientists creatively call C1 and C2. C1 receptors, found in abundance in the brain and spinal cord, have been found to have a profound influence on processes that occur primarily within the nervous system itself. Science shows that when cannabinoids bind to C1 receptors in the amygdala -the part of the brain responsible for the fight or flight mechanism – they help to regulate emotional stability and memory.
C2 receptors are found in greater quantity in the peripheral nervous system and immune cells. Cannabinoids which attach to C2 receptors signal to cells to reduce inflammation, helping to mitigate the body’s natural response to many conditions.
CBD oil doesn’t directly bind to either C1 or C2. Instead, it prevents an enzyme within the body from breaking down the body’s own supply of endocannabinoids. In some people, this enzyme may be overactive, or the body may not be producing enough endocannabinoids to maintain effective homeostasis, and so CBD can help to elevate the number of cannabinoid molecules in circulation.
CBD which stands for “cannabidiol” – a type of cannabinoid – differs significantly from the psychotropic THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is widely believed to be the chemical in the cannabis genus which produces the high associated with smoking the leaves. Scientists have shown that THC directly binds to both C1 and C2 receptors, producing many profound psychological effects, like hallucinations and delusions. CBD is different because it doesn’t attach directly to the receptors. Instead, it creates the circumstances in which the body can regulate the appropriate level of cannabinoids itself. It is not an exogenous cannabinoid, but rather a way of augmenting the effect of endocannabinoids already present.
Anandamide is the name of one of the body’s most important endocannabinoids. It is believed to be similar to the plant-derived cannabinoid, THC, although the body regulates it in such a way to prevent many of the harmful effects of the exogenous variety.
Anandamide is responsible for a variety of functions in the body, including the experience of pleasure, restful sleep, the ability to think clearly, reproductive health, the sensation of pain, and the ability to pay attention. This chemical is also responsible for feelings of motivation – something that people with depression can struggle with.
2-AG is another endocannabinoid. It hasn’t received the same level of attention as anandamide, but it is found in much higher concentrations in the body and may play an equal role – the science is yet to be determined. Scientists show that 2-AG is required for many of the same things as anandamide, including the regulation of memory, movement, mood, and sleep. It’s also believed to play a role in bone health too.
2-AG may be particularly useful for people who want to reduce inflammation and improve digestion. Some people have sufficient 2-AG circulating in their blood but do not have enough receptors to get all of the benefits. Researchers, however, now know that increasing the quantity of Lactobacillus acidophilus in the stomach can increase the number of C2 receptors. Increasing the number of C2 receptors may, therefore, be as simple as giving the lactobacillus more of the food that they like to eat. Lactobacillus eat foods from the allium family of vegetables, such as leeks, onion, and garlic, as well as other vegetables like chicory, kale, spinach, banana, and artichokes.
The body must make all endocannabinoids from sources in the diet. Andamiamid is made from arachidonic acid, a type of fat commonly found in plant foods, like peanut butter. 2-AG is made from arachidonic acid and omega-6 fatty acids. Those who want to ensure that they have the right dietary building blocks for 2-AG should be eating foods like flaxseed, shellfish, and poultry.
Given the number of bodily functions in which the endocannabinoid system is believed to play a role, it is quite remarkable that it is a recent discovery. Scientists think the system helps to regulate digestion, reproduction, neuroprotection, inflammation, movement, temperature, pain, sleep, metabolism, and appetite. They have also related it to cardiovascular function, and the development of new brain cells.
Interest in the endocannabinoid system, however, mainly stems from the possible role that it could play in disease prevention.
Scientists think that some of the most common degenerative diseases could relate to disturbances in the endocannabinoid system. Science shows that tumor cells have more cannabinoid receptors than their healthy counterparts. Other conditions, like chronic pain and Parkinson’s, also show dysregulation of the cannabinoid system.
CBD oil is derived from hemp, a particular subspecies of cannabis that is naturally low in THC. CBD oil is used by many people who have symptoms that are not amenable to conventional medical interventions. CBD oil is used to regulate the endocannabinoid system to alleviate the following conditions and symptoms:
Lack of appetite. Endocannabinoids form part of the body’s system which controls appetite. Appetite regulation can be a problem for people experiencing severe stress or undergoing treatment for cancer. Normalizing the levels of endocannabinoids in the body with CBD oil can help restore appetite to normal levels.
Pain. Too few endocannabinoids can lead to an excess of inflammation which, in turn, can generate pain. Furthermore, cannabinoids that bind to C1 receptors in the central nervous system can help alleviate pain from causes other than inflammation.
Sleep issues. Sleep disorders are becoming more common, due to exposure to blue light from mobile devices at night, high-stress lifestyles, and a lack of time to get everything done during the day. CBD oil may be able to help with sleep issues by allowing the endocannabinoid system to regulate itself better.
Anxiety. Cannabinoids help to mitigate anxiety by binding to certain regions of the brain, especially the amygdala. CBD oil downregulates enzymes which break down endocannabinoids, leaving more available to bind to target cells, potentially alleviating symptoms of anxiety.
Although CBD oil is derived from hemp, a species of cannabis, it is not the same. Cannabis, when in whole plant form, is a collection of many different chemicals, some of which have psychotropic effects. CBD is an isolate of just one compound. It’s analogous to the spice turmeric, and the supposed active constituent, curcumin. Turmeric spice is just the dried, ground-up root of the turmeric plant, whereas curcumin is specifically the yellow pigment that gives the spice its distinctive color and many of its therapeutic effects.
CBD oil is a valuable tool which allows people to regulate their endocannabinoid system better. Not only is the emerging science showing that CBD oil is safe, but it’s also useful in dealing with some of the many problems that result when this critical body system doesn’t function correctly. Taking CBD may help improve overall health and wellbeing while acting as an adjunct therapy for those with more severe conditions.
Evoq prides itself on consistently delivering the highest quality CBD products. We stay on top of all of the research and discovery going on today in order to develop the best solutions for people in need.