You've heard about the 'entourage effect,' right?
This is the notion (more than a notion, a demonstrated truth, actually) that the various compounds and terpenes in cannabis work synergistically, amplifying each other's power and positive benefits. Like a symphony orchestra, cannabinoids including CBD, CBN and others combine forces in ways that enable them to become greater than the sum of their parts. But the key, like that collection of orchestral instruments, is that they work together only when you are exposed to them at the same time. This orchestra of cannabinoid components is what whole-plant hemp oil provides.
That's the genius of hemp
There is a school of thought, however, that it's better to find and isolate the key ingredient, mass produce it and then pump our bodies full of that specific molecule. Why send the infantry, artillery, and the whole dang Army if you can parachute in a few specialists to who will get the job done?
Even better, by this way of thinking, we now have the technology to shrink the needed elements down to nano size. Thus, through delivery methods that bypass the stomach (sublingual tincture), you can get molecules of pure CBD isolate into your bloodstream so they can get to work. What could be better?
Sometimes less is more
Well, as noted above, if you consume pure CBD isolate, you may well be cheating yourself out of the primary benefits whole-plant hemp oil has to offer. As explained in a post at Project CBD:
“But single-molecule CBD is less effective therapeutically than whole plant CBD-rich oil extract. Scientific studies have established that synthetic, single-molecule CBD has a very narrow therapeutic window and requires precise, high doses for efficacy, whereas lower dose, whole-plant, CBD-rich treatment regimens are already showing efficacy for many conditions among patients in medical marijuana States…”
There are also many Internet storefronts touting the ‘nanotechnology’ they use to produce extremely small emulsified droplets that are more readily absorbed. But there are questions about this too.
“Increasing the bioavailability of nutrients and phytochemicals may be promising but is also potentially dangerous.” Mark Meskin, PhD, RD, FADA, professor emeritus of the Department of Human Nutrition & Food Science at the California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, says “nanotechnology may solve absorption and solubility problems with many nutrients and phytochemicals.” But he notes that this is a clear example of “technology getting well ahead of the science.”
Even though the use of nanotechnology in the dietary supplement industry may enhance supplement absorption, there is concern about the potential for toxicity. While upper limits are established for most vitamins and minerals, there are no upper limits set for non-nutrients such as phytochemicals.
“In the past, I was less concerned about phytochemical toxicity because the truth was that in many cases, very little was absorbed,” Meskin says.
Nanotechnology raises important issues regarding safety. He explains "nanoceuticals can help bypass typical protective barriers in the body and deliver quantities of biochemicals that the body would not naturally encounter. This makes the introduction of nanoceuticals potentially dangerous, especially when the government does not regulate them effectively.”
So if nanoceuticals could be dangerous, should you be using tinctures and oils that include them? What's the takeaway here for the consumer who wants to take advantage of the health benefits of CBD?
Educate yourself about whole-plant hemp oil and pay attention.
Despite 40,000 years of human experimentation with cannabis, only in the last 20 years have we learned about the existence of the endocannabinoid system in our bodies. Research about the effects of CBD and other cannabinoids is ongoing. Stay tuned, and in the meantime, remember this: Our bodies have a relationship with the whole plant. Therefore, stick to whole-plant hemp oil formulations like Elixinol until the research catches up with the nano trend.