Full Spectrum Hemp Oil vs CBD Isolate
How do Botanically Complete Formulations Compare with Single Compound Formulations?
Hemp is one of the most versatile plants in the world. It has a long history of use as a food, fuel, fiber and medicine. Many cultures held deep reverence for its healing powers.
In modern times, the focus has been on only one of hemps many hundreds of active and essential compounds: namely, the primary natural cannabinoid known as cannabidiol (CBD). This CBD-centric focus has lead to the development of some excellent products, such as the Epidiolex, a cannabis-derived pharmaceutical drug that is poised to be approved by the FDA for the treatment of pediatric refractory epilepsy. However, CBD alone is only capable of conferring part of hemp’s healing power — and therein lies the limitation and hubris of using the ‘isolated active ingredient’ model.
Isolated Active Ingredient versus Plant-Based Model
It has become typical within the so-called nutraceutical industry to emulate the pharmaceutical model, which focuses on identifying a single, well understood molecule that can be standardized and studied to determine it’s relative safety and efficacy. This focus on the delivery and effectiveness of each purported ‘active ingredient’, within each serving, as if it were a pharmaceutical drug, ignores the holistic benefits of plant based medicine that arise from combining active ingredients with other essential molecules that interact synergistically to produce outcomes that are greater than the sum of each individual molecule or ingredient.
The extraction and isolation of these purported active ingredients are often combined into proprietary formulations that serve the interests of the manufacturer, not the consumer. In contrast, Randy’s Remedy products are powered by Cannaka, a proprietary blend of hemp extracts and cannabis derived terpenes, was developed for our customers and formulated to deliver the benefits of both the active and essential parts of the hemp plant.
The truth is, there is no singular ‘magic bullet’ in a food or herbal supplement that is responsible for the whole plant’s health benefits. The fact is that most medicinal plants contain hundreds of active compounds which interact synergistically to enhance the health benefits.
Beyond “Brand CBD”
In 2015, a groundbreaking study demonstrated the superior therapeutic properties of whole plant hemp extracts compared to single-molecule CBD. Published in the Journal of Pharmacology & Pharmacy (February 2015), the article directly challenged one of the sacred cows of “Big Pharma” and traditional allopathic medicine — the belief that ‘crude” botanical preparations are inherently less effective than a purified formulation containing a single, well understood molecule with a clear structure and function.
Entitled “Overcoming the Bell-Shaped Dose-Response of Cannabidiol by Using Cannabis Extract Enriched in Cannabidiol,” the article is particularly noteworthy given the contribution of Lumir Hanus, one of the scientists responsible for the discovery of anandamide, the endogenous cannabinoid compound first identified in 1992.
Hanus and two colleagues from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem surveyed the scientific literature and found that during the past fifteen years several preclinical studies had focused on the anti-inflammatory effects of pure, single-molecule CBD using in vitro and in vivo animal models of various diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, and diabetes.
These studies found that the administration of pure, single-molecule CBD resulted in a bell-shaped dose-response curve. This meant that when the dose of CBD exceeded a certain point its therapeutic effects went away.
“Healing was only observed when CBD was given within a very limited dose range, whereas no beneficial effect was achieved at either lower or higher doses,”
This characteristic of single-molecule CBD is a serious obstacle that limits its usefulness in a clinical context. In order to overcome this limitation, the Israeli team sought to compare whole plant extracts, which contained mostly CBD but also contained an array of minor cannabinoids and other constituents, with CBD alone. “The aim of the present study,” the authors explained, “was to find a CBD source that could eliminate the bell-shaped dose-response of purified CBD.”
The CBD-rich strain used by the researchers is called “Avidekel” and was obtained from Tikkun Olam, an Israeli medical marijuana producer. Avidekel contains only trace amounts of THC and therefore is not intoxicating. The Israeli researchers extracted CBD-rich oil which contained 17.9 percent CBD, 1.1 percent THC, 1.1 percent cannabichromene (CBC), 0.2 percent cannabigerol (CBG), and “traces” of cannabinol (CBN) and cannabidiol (CBDV). This “whole plant” extract was given to mice to evaluate its anti-inflammatory and pain relieving effects.
When compared to mice given pure CBD, those given the “whole plant”, CBD rich extract showed a direct, dose-dependent inhibition of pain, inflammation, and TNFa production. The “bell shaped” curve disapeared and instead “a clear correlation between the anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive responses and the dose, with increasing responses upon increasing doses, which [making] this plant medicine ideal for clinical uses.”
In addition, the Israeli researchers found that when using a CBD right, whole plant extract, a smaller amount of CBD was needed for significant pain relief compared to the much larger amount of pure CBD required to achieve the same effect. And where pure, single-molecule CBD experienced a rapid drop in efficacy after exceeding a specific dosage was administered, an “overdose” of whole plant CBD-rich extract did not undermine the direct dose response relationship. When a larger than optimal dose of the whole plant extract was administered, its effectiveness plateaued, suggesting that a therapeutic ceiling had been reached.
The Israeli study found that whole plant extracts are “superior over CBD [alone] for the treatment of inflammatory conditions.” The improved efficacy of whole plant extracts might be explained by the additive or synergistic interactions between CBD and the dozens of other minor cannabinoids and terpenes along with non-cannabinoid plant compounds like flavonoids.
“It is likely that other components in the extract synergize with CBD to achieve the desired anti-inflammatory action that may contribute to overcoming the bell-shaped dose-response of purified CBD,”
The research also compared whole plant extracts with commercial painkillers and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs. They found that both pure CBD and the CBD-rich whole plant extract exhibited greater anti-inflammatory effects than aspirin which registered a slight inhibitory effect on TNFa production. When compared to the strong inhibitory effect of pure CBD and the CBD-rich whole plant extract, this effect was negligible.The key finding of this study is that CBD, in the presence of other active and essential components, improves the dose-response relationship and is further supported by recent reports documenting the anti-proliferative effect of cannabidiol on tumor cells.
A lot of research has been done to isolate and characterize single constituents of traditional herbal medicine in order to better understand their therapeutic uses. However the recent data, which supports anecdotal evidence claiming that whole plant preparations are superior to single compound formulations, may lead to an entirely new generation of phyto-pharmaceuticals that can treat diseases better than the alternatives and with fewer side effects. The therapeutic synergies observed in whole plant extracts appears to result in improved bioavailability, efficacy, and fewer adverse effects.
To experience the benefits of the whole plant, visit www.randysclub.com and try Randy’s Remedy products yourself. Randy’s Remedy, powered by Cannaka, is made from botanical hemp oil and cannabis-derived terpenes. Randy’s Remedy products contain activated natural cannabinoids which target the endocannabinoid system to promote a healthy inflammatory response while supporting the central nervous system.