Exploring the healing potential of local medicinal plants
By: Erica Burt, Farm owner and operations manager
Spring brings life and growth to the plateau, a sub-tropical rainforest with many micro-climates and plenty of sunshine and rain. Western North Carolina is the perfect environment for the cultivation of healing medicinal plants like cannabis. The federal Farm Bill, passed in 2018, legalized the cultivation of hemp and CBD in all 50 states of the United States. Each state has individual rules and regulations for cultivation, all compliant with federal regulations, with a THC content of less than .03%. North Carolina currently has over 1,000 hemp and CBD farmers. The industry continues to grow as many old-time farmers and young, health-inspired entrepreneurs are encouraged to produce hemp and CBD for medicinal use.
What is CBD?
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. Cannabidiol was the first phytocannabinoid discovered in 1940. It is one of 113 identified cannabinoids in cannabis plants and accounts for up to 40% of the plant's extract. In 2018, clinical research on cannabidiol included preliminary studies of anxiety, cognition, movement disorders and pain.
Cannabinoids are the chemical messengers for the endocannabinoid system. While many different cannabinoids exist, they all fall under two categories: endogenous or exogenous. Endogenous means originating inside the body. Also known as endocannabinoids, these compounds are produced naturally by the human body. They interact with cannabinoid receptors to regulate basic functions such as mood, memory, appetite, pain and sleep. Exogenous means originating outside the body. The cannabinoids found in cannabis, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), are considered exogenous. When consumed, they also interact with cannabinoid receptors to produce physical and psychological effects in the body.
CBD vs THC?
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the two primary cannabinoids that occur naturally in the Cannabis sativa plant, most commonly known as cannabis. Both of these substances interact with the cannabinoid receptors found in the human body and brain, but they differ dramatically in their effects. CBD is non-psychoactive, which means that it will not get the user “high.” Because of this trait, CBD appears more frequently than THC in natural health supplements and plant medicine.
What is CBD oil? Cannabidiol is extracted from cannabis or hemp plants using various methods: CO2 extraction, hydrocarbon, dry ice, carrier oils like olive oil, coconut oil and alcohol. While it may be cheaper and more cost-effective to extract CBD from industrial hemp, users may ultimately experience less benefit due to the absence of clinically significant levels of terpenes and other compounds (which occur in abundance in high-CBD cannabis). While high-CBD cultivars of cannabis do contain much higher levels of various cannabinoids, terpenes, etc., it does not mean that there aren't potential drawbacks to its use. Agricultural hemp is much closer to the kind of cannabis that one would find growing naturally in the wild, whereas high-CBD cannabis is hybridized and toyed with by growers to produce the highest levels of desirable medicinal compounds.
What Is the Entourage Effect?
The Entourage Effect describes a phenomenon in which the 400+ compounds in cannabis work together to create a particular effect on the body. For example, 100 milligrams (mg) of isolated CBD may be substantially less effective at alleviating symptoms than 100 (mg) of a whole-plant, CBD-containing cannabis extract. Many argue that consuming the plant in its whole form provides all the necessary co-factors to facilitate proper absorption. This argument is at the heart of the debate over cannabis oil from CBD vs. hemp. Full-spectrum, whole plant therapies provide the most powerful and efficacious results. The sum of all components is greater than the parts, essentially the “Synergistic Entourage Effect.” Highlander CBD Farms in Franklin, NC, grows, processes and provides organic, full-spectrum CBD plant medicine. The key elements in our local, small family-owned and operated organic farm are biodynamic soil, beneficial activated micro-organisms, solar greenhouse technology and heirloom variety seeds. If you are interested in learning more about the healing benefits of medicinal plants like CBD, visit our website highlandercbdfarm.com. When it comes to trying healing medicinal plants and supplements like CBD, always consult your doctor or physician.