History of Hemp
Industrial hemp has been grown in the U.S. since the first European settlers arrived in early 1600’s.
War of 1812 fought over Hemp trade.
The Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper.
George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams all grew hemp and actively advocated for commercial hemp production.
Hemp was a staple crop of 1800’s American agriculture.
1800’s, early 1900’s – 90% of all Medicine is derived from Hemp.
Farm to Family
We achieved something that no one had ever accomplished before. It was a moment our founding team will remember forever: the moment that we grasped that first 30 pound bag of cannabis seeds in our hands.
To anyone else, that bag wouldn’t cause even a blink of an eye. Its woven fibers held bulb-like seeds with an extraordinary texture and color to them. That bag of seeds was a tremendous feat for us; It signified our commitment to our cause and was the first milestone towards bringing people across the world an amazing phytocannabinoid – CBD.
Our story began in 2008, back when CBD, known also as cannabidiol, was only a whisper in the cannabis industry. This phytocannabinoid had been overshadowed for decades by THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound that can be found in the cannabis plant. What was interesting to us was that CBD was non-psychoactive, meaning that it did not give you the ‘high’ or euphoric feeling that THC would, yet the multitude of research showing what it could do was undeniable… We knew there was more to the story, so we invested millions into developing a source for this amazing plant and its phytocannabinoids.
What we found would define our mission.We are in the business of ensuring that as many people as possible are able to experience the benefits of cannabis. Every day we work towards accessibility, affordability, and securing the future of cannabis for generations to come!
We discovered that there were cultivars of a category of cannabis, known as “hemp,” that contained only trace amounts of THC (0.3% or lower) and therefore, was non-psychoactive. In hemp, all the other cannabinoids and nutrients are also present, including the cannabinoid we were looking for – CBD.
Today, cannabis is considered a controlled substance and it is federally illegal to grow cannabis in the United States, regardless of its THC content, except for extremely limited uses in research. However, it is legal to import hemp products (cannabis with 0.3% or lower THC) into the country, which is how we would become the first to develop and market legal cannabis products in the United States and beyond. We would derive CBD from hemp in Europe and import it into the U.S., getting it into the hands of the people who need it most worldwide.
We sent teams of researchers across the world to learn about the political, economic, and agricultural landscape of growing hemp internationally and developing the best way to bring CBD to the masses.Over the next few years, we covered an immense amount of ground and collected research from industry experts from all corners of the world leading us to three potential regions where we could plant our first crop – Romania, Czech Republic, and Austria.It was in that first harvest that our founding team came to know and learn more about the people behind each grow. When you are pursuing a mission as delicate and powerful as ours, you have to work with people you can trust and respect.
We found that in a farming cooperative of 750 individual families in Northern Europe. As we walked under that charming hacienda-style archway, we looked out on its expansive green acreage and knew that this was the place; the perfect community, climate, and region to grow a hemp crop that would change the world!Our cultivators are a group of individually-owned family farms whose techniques and expertise come from numerous generations before them. They are people who value the land, live simply, and have the integrity and soul we’d spent years searching for in a cultivation partner. So at this time, we had done the research, narrowed down the region, and shook hands with our community of cultivators. Now, it was time to find the perfect cannabis seed, the perfect cultivar that would naturally yield a crop high in CBD.
Many sources will tell you that there are only about 1,500 possible cannabis cultivars, but there are many more than that – We tested a total of 3,000!And at end, it all came down to one seed. It was this seed that after countless trials and weeks spent tending the fields, flourished in the region’s climate, yielding hemp highly concentrated with CBD. This was a monumental feat! Previously thought to be impossible, we were able to plant our first harvest of hemp – rich in cannabidiol. While celebrations were in order, we went straight to work to bring products to the people who needed them most.
To this day, this moment inspires everything we do. The people who use our products are the core reason why we do what we do! The product in your hand is part of a captivating story about defeating the odds and persevering for health.
Often, people become confused between the terms cannabis and marijuana. Cannabis is a category for a plant species that includes both hemp and marijuana. For a lot of people, the best way to think about cannabis is with an analogy: hemp and marijuana are to cannabis as lemons and oranges are to citrus. Two related but different plants, from the same “family.”
The characteristic that defines marijuana from hemp is the content of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound in cannabis that gets users high. Hemp is almost devoid of THC but often high in another cannabinoid – cannabidiol (CBD). Hemp has 0.3 percent THC or less while the threshold for marijuana starts at a THC concentration of 0.31 percent or higher. Both forms of cannabis, hemp and marijuana, have been shown to contain medically beneficial levels of differing cannabinoids, active compounds found in the cannabis plant.
CBD oil products that are derived from hemp are legal to purchase and use in all 50 states without a visit to a doctor, a medical marijuana card, or paying a state enrollment fee. Made with naturally high-CBD, low-THC hemp, these products contain the same levels of CBD as those sold in medical marijuana dispensaries, but because they are sold as supplements, they are 100% legal in the U.S.
CBD hemp oil is derived from the hemp plant, a particular variety of cannabis. While you can find hemp oil in many local stores, store-bought hemp oil is usually derived from hemp seeds and doesn’t contain the significant concentration of CBD that pure CBD hemp oil contains. Hemp oil extracted from the stalk, instead of the seed, is abundant in CBD, as well as essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, terpenes, flavonoids, fiber and protein, and other trace cannabinoids. Like medical marijuana, CBD hemp oil products come in a range of applications, like capsules, topicals, vapes, tinctures, energy chews, and even beauty products.
What is the endocannabinoid system?
The endocannabinoid system is made up of several integrated mechanisms:
- Enzymes responsible for creating and destroying cannabinoids
- Receptor sites on cells to receive cannabinoids
- Endocannabinoids themselves (cannabinoid-like compounds that are naturally produced by the human body)
These mechanisms are predominantly responsible for communication within the body to best regulate various biological responses.
Endocannabinoids as a response
Endocannabinoids are created in response to needs within the larger physiological system and are largely understood to be used for the body’s regulatory functions. Acting backwards on presynaptic cells, they control the volume at which communicating signals are sent. It is in this way that endocannabinoids affect duration and intensity of the wide range of physiological processes under their control.
However, it has been repeatedly noted that, while the endocannabinoid system is linked to a number of important processes and is concentrated in the brain, nervous system, and reproductive organs, it does not affect regions of the brain controlling heart and lung function. This is one of the main reasons that fatal overdoses of cannabinoids do not occur (NCI, 2016).
How does the endocannabinoid system work?
Whenever there are deviations from homeostasis in the body’s functions, the endocannabinoid system is activated and begins to respond accordingly by synthesizing endocannabinoids, which act as neurotransmitters.
When the body creates neurotransmitters for the endocannabinoid system, they are picked up by specialized cannabinoid receptors, which sit on the surface of cells. These receptors are found in a wide range of physiological regions, such as in:
- The immune system
- Organs and glands
- Connective tissue
- The brain (most significantly)
Like a key fits into a lock, endocannabinoids interact with these receptors and transmit information about changing conditions to kick-start a response, with the goal of helping the body achieve homeostasis, or equilibrium, within the body despite outside influences (Alger, 2013).
The endocannabinoid system’s receptor sites include CB1 and CB2 receptor variants, which respond differently to various cannabinoids (Pacher et al, 2006). CB1 receptors are most prevalent in the central nervous system and are linked to the following benefits:
- Modulation of stress and anxiety
- Increased appetite
- Decreased nausea
- Balance of immune system
- Inhibition of tumors
CB2 receptors are found mostly on cells in the immune system and seem to dominate in fighting inflammation and damage to tissue. Some cells can even contain both types of receptors, each responsible for a different function.
There are two major endocannabinoids – 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and Anandamide (AEA).
2-AG is considered a full agonist of both CB1 and CB2 receptors. This means that it binds with, and fits well inside, both receptors to activate them to stimulate a physiological response.
Anandamide is considered a partial agonist of both receptors, because, while it binds with and activates the receptors, it doesn’t fit as well inside them and subsequently doesn’t trigger such a powerful physiological response (Parcher, Batkai & Kunos, 2006).
Once the function that had deviated from homeostasis returns to equilibrium and the endocannabinoids are no longer needed, the third piece of the system – the metabolic enzymes – breaks down and degrades them.
Fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) degrades Anandamide, and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) breaks down 2-AG. By eliminating the endocannabinoids, the endocannabinoid system “turns off” the molecular signals and ends whatever physiological activity it had stimulated.
How does the endocannabinoid system affect my health?
Since discovering the endocannabinoid system and its parts, researchers have worked to further understand how the endocannabinoid system may be used therapeutically to:
- Decrease pain
- Fight cancer
- Prevent neurodegenerative diseases
- Promote general health
Overall, research indicates that the endocannabinoid system helps ensure that the body’s immune and central nervous systems are running correctly. Finding ways to modulate the endocannabinoid system’s activity opens pathways to an amazingly disparate set of chronic diseases and disorders (Pacher and Kunos, 2013).
For example, evidence indicates that stimulation of cannabinoid receptors may aid in the deletion of old traumatic memories and provide clinical benefits in age-related diseases associated with brain inflammation (Ruehle et al, 2012) (Marchalant, et al., 2008). This list also includes difficult conditions like Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and cancer.
There is also evidence that the endocannabinoid system may aid in the deletion of old memories (Ruehle et al, 2012). The extinction of aversive memories is important to the progress of PTSD patients and in behavior conditioning for those with chronic anxiety. By allowing patients to forget painful memories, they can reset their stress and anxiety responses to certain experiences and substitute a more positive reaction.
Appetite & Weight
Cannabis has a well-known ability to increase appetite. However, because endocannabinoids are used internally for appetite control, inverse agonists to the CB1 receptor can be used to combat obesity by shutting off the body’s desire for food (Pagotto et al, 2005). The opposite can be accomplished by stimulating appetite in those suffering from wasting syndrome and allowing them to gain weight (Kogan and Mechoulam, 2007).
Finally, endocannabinoids also regulate metabolism and help control the transfer of energy through cells, ensuring optimal use of the food we do take in.
In today’s world, it is a common reality that the natural cycle of anxiety and physical response cannot be shut off due to constant exposure to stressors. Because cannabinoids affect the body’s glandular response to continued stress to regulate and temper response, the endocannabinoid system has implications for the way in which modern humans process long term stress and other enduring anxiety triggers (Akirav).
Immune Function & inflammation
Additionally, endocannabinoids promote proper immune function to allow for a greater overall wellness. The role they play in immune homeostasis prevents “spontaneous activation of immune cell function”, helping to prevent inflammation and possibly even resulting neurological diseases (Pandey et al, 2009).
How do Cannabis-derived Cannabinoids work with the endocannabinoid system?
As scientists learn more about the endocannabinoid system, they also explore the potential role the cannabis-derived cannabinoids like THC, cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN), and more could play in supporting the system.
Cannabinoids mimic the behavior of endocannabinoids and interact with the cannabinoid receptors to augment the endocannabinoid system. As the cannabinoids interact with the cannabinoid receptors, they stimulate various physiological responses.
THC, the well-recognized psychoactive compound found in medical marijuana, activates receptors to elicit a chemical response. It is considered an agonist of both CB1 and CB2 receptors because it directly binds to the receptors and activates them. THC tends to favor CB1 receptors because it fits very well inside them and therefore is able to stimulate a strong physiological reaction.
When THC reacts with CB1 receptors, this is what causes the well-known “high” feeling from marijuana. THC also directly activates CB2 receptors, but is considered a partial agonist and therefore doesn’t elicit such a strong physiological response.
CBD causes chemical changes by blocking receptors. It tends to have low affinity for both CB1 and CB2 receptors, and instead acts as an indirect antagonist of agonists. This means that CBD sits imperfectly inside the receptors, not activating them but preventing other chemical messengers like THC from binding to them (Pacher, Batkai & Kunos, 2006).
As we continue to learn more about the endocannabinoid system, we will also learn about the potential for the scope of active compounds from cannabis (like THC, CBD, and CBN) to be used therapeutically.
Should I add cannabinoids to my body?
One theory about how the endocannabinoid system relates to our overall health is the proposed endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome, or CECD, which speculates that. for some people, the body does not generate enough endocannabinoids (Smith and Wagner, 2014). This concept, originally proposed by researcher E.B. Russo in 2004, further speculates that the deficiency could be the root cause of many autoimmune disorders, including migraines, fibromyalgia, and IBS (Russo, 2004).
By modulating the endocannabinoid system (Kaur, Ambwani & Singh, 2016), several diseases and conditions could possibly be treated, including:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Cardiovascular disorders
- Parkinson’s disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Tourette’s syndrome
One of the main obstacles to the acceptance and use of cannabis and its active cannabinoids in medicine is the problem of abuse for its psychoactivity. However, this issue does not arise in a number of possible approaches to the regulation of the endocannabinoid system:
- When an antagonist to the CB1 receptor is applied
- When the production or transportation of endocannabinoids is altered
- When a non-psychoactive agonist to the CB2 receptor, like CBD, is used for therapeutic results (Pacher and Kunos, 2013).
Phytocannabinoids, like the THC from cannabis or the concentrated CBD in hemp, obviously affect the endocannabinoid system. However, it has also been shown that non-psychoactive phytocannabinoids from other plants, and even other compounds like terpenes and flavonoids, are picked up by receptors in our endocannabinoid systems (Gertsch et al, 2010).
Because small doses of phytocannabinoids can encourage the body to create more naturally occurring endocannabinoids and their receptors, it may be possible to bolster the sensitivity of our native systems with regular cannabinoid supplements (Pacher et al, 2006).
Overall, significant research must still be done to better understand the impact of the endocannabinoid system on our overall health and how supplementing our natural endocannabinoid production with plant-based cannabinoids may play a significant therapeutic role in our health. However, extensive early studies show great potential for using this vital system to the benefit of patient health.