The EndoCannabinoid System & Phytocannabinoid Enriched Hemp Seed Oil
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” ― Hippocrates
I am going to share with you my recipe for health and well-being. Over 20 years ago I was already rather high and staring at my Marinol bottle, earlier that day I had just used an A/B two-part epoxy earlier that day to fix something in my house, and it got me thinking about how cannabis works to help and heal our bodies.
If cannabis was approaching you with all of it’s healing powers, in one hand would be the trichomes that contain the cannabinoids and terpenes, and in the other hand, would be the hemp seed, with its complex proteins and perfect balance of essential fatty acids.
Marinol is a synthetic version of THC called Dronabinol, suspended in sesame oil and encapsulated within gelatin. It is a single synthetic molecule of THC devoid of any terpenes and has useful, although limited, medical effectivity, especially when compared to the cannabis plant’s many cannabinoids and terpenes working together in an ensemble effect.
And that night, while staring at my Marinol bottle, I got the idea of cannabis giving us the two-part solution to our medical needs. What if I replace sesame oil with hemp seed oil, and dronabinol, with all of the cannabinoids and terpenes found within the trichomes. I thought to myself, that would truly be full-spectrum cannabis medicine.
So I scooped up some trichomes, as I had piles of resin powder under my collection screens, and I went to the refrigerator and grabbed some hemp seed oil, poured some into a frying pan and heated it up on very low heat while I poured my resin powder/trichomes into the warming oil and watched it melt into the oil. Do to my enthusiasm to get high, I heated it up for a while to let it decarboxylate, and then took it off the heat and put some oil on toast, and not too long after that, well actually, I don’t remember much after that, and I don’t remember falling asleep, but when I woke up, I came to the conclusion that, the oil might be a bit too strong. The next day my girlfriend used some of the oil to make muffins, and my suspicions were confirmed, as everybody who ate the muffins got really really high.
So I started experimenting with using cold hemp seed oil placed in the refrigerator with resin powder/trichomes, and indeed, the oil acts as a solvent and dissolved away most of the trichomes after a few days. I was able to strain out the remaining parts of the plant that would not dissolve such as the leaf material, pistols, and the non-glanduler stalks.
A Bit of Cannabinoid History
“In 1840, Schlesinger was apparently the first investigator to obtain an active extract from the leaves and flowers of hemp. A few years later, Decourtive described the preparation of an ethanol extract that on evaporation of the solvent gave a dark resin, which he named “cannabin.”” Cannabinoids in health and disease - Natalya M. Kogan, MSc
In the early 1940s, a researcher named Roger Adams identified and synthesized cannabidiol, (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN). Then in 1942, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), was extracted by Wollner, Matcheett, Levine and Loewe.
While Raphael Mechoulam is a hero to cannabis research, he often mistakenly credited with the discovery of these compounds, more appropriately he should be credited with elucidating the effects of CBD and THC by isolating them from cannabis which he did in 1963 with CBD, and in 1964 with THC, and then synthesizing both compounds in 1965.
In 1988 the first receptors for THC were found in a rat’s brain. Then in 1990, science confirmed there was an abundance of what we now call the CB1 receptors, which are found mostly in our brain and spinal cord, and then in 1993, we found the CB2 receptors, which are located throughout our bodies, primarily on immune cells.
Once the first cannabinoid receptor was discovered, scientists set out to discover if these CB1 and CB2 receptors were just the targets of phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids made by plants), or if we could be making similar compounds that fit these newly found receptors naturally.
In 1992, scientists found an endogenous compound within us that activated the CB1, and later we learned that it also activates our CB2 receptors, and it was named ”Anandamide”. “Ananda” being the Sanskrit word for bliss, joy or happiness, and “Amide”, which is an organic compound. Scientists describe Anandamide as being the bliss molecule which we all create within us.
These discoveries brought scientists to the realization that we have within us all, a very active and very important, EndoCannabinoid System or E.C.S..
Your E.C.S - The EndoCannabinoid System
We all have within us an endocannabinoid system, it modulates practically all aspects of our life and is mostly responsible for what we call homeostasis, which is literally the balance of our bodily functions.
Oxford defines homeostasis as:
“n. the physiological process by which the internal systems of the body (e.g. blood pressure, body temperature, acid-base balance) are maintained at equilibrium, despite variations in the external conditions.”
Needless to say, homeostasis is important, which is why, when people suffer from a lack of cannabinoids, they can experience what science calls; “Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency”, which can happen when a person has no access to phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids made by cannabis), and at the same time, their bodies may not be making sufficient endocannabinoids to maintain the operating efficiency of their own internal endocannabinoid system.
You may be asking to yourself; “Why wouldn’t my body be making enough endocannabinoids?” And it’s a great question, but currently, science is not that sure about any of this stuff. I would however say that people who crave cannabis, may not be making enough endocannabinoids to balance their ECS naturally, and by using cannabis and it’s phytocannabinoids, they are balancing their own internal endocannabinoid deficiency.
One of the things researchers have connected is the role that essential fatty acids (EFA’s) play in being the fundamental building blocks of endocannabinoids. Without a sufficient amount of them in your diet, your body could well not be able to make the endocannabinoids that it needs to balance your everyday function and enable your immune system to work at its highest potential.
Omega-3 fatty acids (EFA’s) are expensive, and lacking in most of the food you eat, and because of this dietary obstacle most of us face, unless you are supplementing omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, you’re probably not getting enough of them.
The Two Oils of Cannabis
There's a lot of confusion created by some of the marketing around what so many people call “hemp-oil”, which was traditionally referring to the oil pressed from the seed, but recently people who have been marketing CBD, have been referring to CBD oil extract also as hemp oil, because it benefits their marketing, because the confusion of CBD being legal or not in many places. You see, hemp seed oil is legal everywhere, and CBD oil is not legal everywhere, although it should be, and with the passage of the 2018 farm bill that legalized hemp, it is in most instances legal.
Hemp Seed Oil & Hulled Hempseed
Hemp seed oil is nature's most perfectly balanced oil, with a 3 to 1 ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3, as well as containing GLA, Gamma-Linolenic Acid, and all of which are essential to human development and in many respects, essential fatty acids are part of the fundamental building blocks of life. I encourage everybody reading this to look into what I'm saying and learn about why you should be adding EFA’s into your diet immediately.
In 1992, there was a movie released that was based upon a true story called; Lorenzo's Oil, it was a story about a child who had a hereditary disease and his parents were combining olive oil with canola oil, in order to achieve a 4 to 1 ratio of w-6 to w-3. Since that time, science has come to believe that a 3 to 1 ratio is better for human consumption. Hemp seed oil is the only oil on the planet that has this perfect ratio. Hemp seed oil is more healing and better for you than even the miracle oil highlighted within the film.
Charts by: Richard Rose and The Hempnut Cookbook
Back in 1994 Dr. Roberta Hamilton taught me that hemp seed was more nutritious than human breast milk and cows milk and I never understood it until I saw this chart.
If you choose to consume the whole seed, hemp seed has more protein than just about anything other than soy, but, soy has digestibility issues and the protein from hemp seed is more readily available and easily digestible than soy, so truly hemp seed should be number one on the list.
I use about 1 teaspoon (5 grams) of hempseed oil per 50 pounds of body weight per day and I recommend Nutiva Hempseed Oil.
Oil of Trichomes
Within the walls of the trichomes are the cannabinoids and terpenes that make you love cannabis. All of the healing you will ever experience comes from these cannabinoids and terpenes.
These cannabinoids, interact with the receptors within you called CB1 and CB2, to modulate almost all aspects of your everyday bodily functions. Which is why so many people who are using even just CBD, are feeling the positive effects of a well-fed endocannabinoid system.
You do not need to feel the euphoric effects of THC, to feel better.
I’ve come to the realization that one of the best aspects of cannabis as a smoked medicine, is the fact that it is self titrating, as you feel when you should put the joint down. And as any heavy smoker knows, the more you use cannabis, the less you feel it, but still, even though you’re not feeling it as if it was the first time you smoked, your body is still utilizing those chemicals to balance your every day being.
But you may be thinking, how do you use cannabis without feeling the euphoric effects, and that would be a very good question, so let me explain.
relating to or using cannabinoids and certain terpenes to treat the endocannabinoid system.
Dr. Lester Grinspoon came up with this new term: “Cannabinopathic Medicine”, which basically means treating your endocannabinoid system with cannabinoids, be it either phyto or endo-cannabinoids. Dr. Grinspoon also points out that Cannabis is the only plant that makes these keys to our ECS called cannabinoids, that fit into the locks in our brain and body and unlocks the healing powers of cannabis.
The Endocannabinoid System establishes cannabis and it’s cannabinoids not only as a medicine, but as the only medicine that modulates our endocannabinoid system.
Dr. Lester Grinspoon (June 24th, 1928 - June 25th, 2020) in front of a portrait of his son Danny who passed away from cancer and was one of the first modern medical cannabis patients who was using cannabis to help with chemotherapy treatments back in 1969.
One of the many things that Dr. Grinspoon emphasizes, is that while there are other plants that make similar compounds to cannabinoids, which are called “cannabimimetics”, they do not work the same way as cannabinoids with our CB1 and CB2 receptors. He explained to me that they were like similar keys that fit in a group of locks, but would not turn and in order for the healing powers of the receptor to work, the key must turn. Which is why cannabis is so important to the greater good of humanity, and must be recognized as the important medicine it is.
Using the metaphor of an airplane; the cannabinoids are the engines that get you going and get you high, and the terpenes are the rudders which direct and enhance the experience.
A simple experiment to see and feel how important terpenes are, is to get a bud that is properly cured and extremely fragrant, roll a joint, or smoke a bowl and get a familiarity with its full potential, and then leave that same flower out and exposed overnight or for a couple of days till it becomes dry and devoid of fragrance, and smoke it again. All the cannabinoids are still present, but the terpenes have evaporated away, and in doing so, changed the effect of the flower.
The best way to capture these terpenes is by not heating them off in the first place or allowing them to over dry or be lost at harvest. Keep your bags of flowers closed and learn how to properly store your cannabis prior to use.
You’ve all done it, every time you smoke a joint or burn a bowl, you have removed a carboxyl group and released carbon dioxide and in turn, activated the THCA into euphoric and psychoactive THC. In order to feel the euphoric effects of cannabis, you have to decarboxylate the material, but that is not the case for truly experiencing the medical effects of cannabinoids, which is experiencing homeostasis and balance within your own body. This is why so many people are experiencing positive effects from using CBD products that do not otherwise make them feel euphoric, but make them feel good.
Phytocannabinoid Enriched Hemp Seed Oil
I have been mixing phytocannabinoids into my hemp seed oil for a long time and I recommend that you do too.
You simply need to use 100% pure cold pressed hemp seed oil and start consuming it in order to benefit from the perfect balance of omega-3 fatty acids. I recommend that you use it externally on your skin and that you replace some of the other oils that you use throughout the day, such as on your salad, on your toast, and even in your smoothie, with hemp seed oil.
In order to make your own phytocannabinoid enriched hemp seed oil, all you have to do is grind up some cannabis flowers and put them in a glass jar, fill it up with hemp seed oil, and let it sit in the refrigerator for a few days. The natural solvent of hemp seed oil will dissolve the trichomes with its cannabinoids and terpenes into the hemp seed oil with no loss of the terpenes or decarboxylation to the cannabinoids.
You can then strain the vegetable material from the oil and consume the oil, it really is that simple.
My personal favorite is to take some butane hash oil/shatter, which is only just cannabinoids and terpenes, and letting it dissolve in the hemp seed oil, that way, you can start with a known amount of cannabinoids and terpenes (if you happen to live in a legal state where they are testing the product).
Add the shatter to a known amount of hemp seed oil, say 1 ounce, so that you can know the dosing, if the gram of shatter has 80% (about 800mg) THC and 3% terpenes, then you know that is what you put that in an ounce of hemp seed oil, you will have an ounce of oil with about 800mg of THC. And because it is not decarboxylated, you will be able to ingest the healing cannabinoids without the distraction of getting high or feeling the euphoric effects of cannabis at an inappropriate time, such as when you’re at work or going to school. Children who suffer from seizures would benefit from this approach the most.
But there is often reason to feel euphoric effects of THC, as in cases of depression or nightmares or intense pain. And that can be achieved by simply heating up the BHO/shatter before putting it into the hemp seed oil, as any shatter will decarboxylate completely at 300° fahrenheit in about one hour. Let it cool and then add it to the hemp seed oil, as you do not want to heat up the hemp seed oil, because it damages the EFA’s, which is why I recommend you keep the hemp seed oil in the refrigerator at all times.
Nobody can tell you proper dosing, I know there are a lot of doctors trying to do so, but they are just guessing whether they want to admit it or not. The truth is that so little is known about how these compounds work with different metabolisms or against different diseases and more research indeed needs to be done.
Because the dosing is unknown for each person, you have to experiment in experiencing the beneficial medical benefits of cannabinoids and EFA’s yourself and finding what works best for you and the ones you love.
I often get asked about RSO or Rick Simpson Oil, and I always dissuade people from using it. The alcohol and ethanol solvents that they use to extract the cannabinoids are often toxic and leave an incredible amount of residue and make the oil unpalatable and often downright disgusting. Also, the heating of the alcohol evaporates away the terpenes and decarboxylates the cannabinoids, which is not something you always want to have happen. And unlike the phytocannabinoid enriched hemp seed oil that I describe above, RSO contains no EFA’s and is not a source of nutrients.
I hope this helps you to better understand your relationship with cannabis, and how it can help heal you.
I will soon be releasing my next book:
From Cancer to Cannabis: The Essential Guide to the EndoCannabinoid System,
Contributions by: Dr. Lester Grinspoon, Robert C. Clarke and Richard Rose.
Robert C. Clarke, Author of Marijuana Botany ©1981, HASHISH! ©1998 & Cannabis: Evolution and Ethnobotany ©2013, and Todd McCormick, Author of How to Grow Medical Marijuana ©1998
Dr. Lester Grinspoon and Todd McCormick