What the hemp? A new series about the benefits of hemp and cbd.
I know you’ve been curious.
You keep asking.
“What’s this hemp stuff you keep talking about? What’s CBD?”
“Does it work?”
“What does it do?”
“Is it marijuana?”
“Is it legal?”
“Will it get me high?”
The questions keep flooding in, so let me help set the record straight and address the how and why I personally became involved in such a controversial yet cutting edge industry.
Back in 2016, while working in Los Angeles, managing the social media account for Erewhon, a high-end grocery and lifestyle store, I came across a tincture developed by a company called CW Hemp (Also known as: Charlotte’s Web).
I had never seen anything like it before.
CW Hemp is a hemp plant extract.
I stress the word “plant” because people are quick to confuse it with a hemp seed oil, or hemp seeds.
The seeds and the plant do not have the same health benefits.
It would be like comparing a pumpkin to a pumpkin seed.
CW Hemp gained the public’s attention after being featured on CNN as a miracle product when it saved a young girl’s life— Charlotte Figi.
You can watch the CNN special here.
Charlotte had been diagnosed with a rare and severe form of Epilepsy.
The seizures that started at 3 months of age, left Charlotte catatonic by the age of 4, having over 300 debilitating and life threatening seizures a week.
For most of us that is unthinkable, right?
At this point, Charlotte, had zero quality of life.
As you can imagine, nor did her family.
There was not a medication on the market that was preventing, or even stopping the seizures.
The family said goodbye to Charlotte more than once.
When the only remaining option was to give Charlotte a horse tranquilizer, it sent the family on a path that would change the world forever.
It was then that Charlotte’s parents discovered the Stanley family. A group of Colorado brothers that had developed a plant they referred to as “Hippie’s Disappointment”— a hemp plant with a unique type of genetics, displaying the medicinal benefits of marijuana, without the psychoactive properties.
Note: Both Hemp and Marijuana fall under the plant species: “cannabis”— a fact, I personally had been clueless about.
The Figi and Stanley families worked together to develop an extract from the hemp plant in hopes of providing Charlotte relief.
If you haven’t watched the CNN special, you can guess— it worked.
Charlotte is now a ten year old little girl— laughing, playing, dancing, and singing as her body continues to heal and develop, making up for the time she lost as a severe epileptic.
Seems like a miracle, right?
But Charlotte is not the only person with a miraculous story like this.
There are thousands of stories.
I had the pleasure of meeting a few, personally, and while working for CW, the testimonials came flooding in.
This is not an article about miracles.
It is a reality.
One, that with the proper education, and acceptance, has the ability to change the way we understand the body, plant-medicine, and how to utilize cannabis to heal a deficient and neglected biological system.
I have to admit, I was highly skeptical at first.
As a plant-based nutritonist, I am fascinated by the human body.
It is absolutely incredible to me that we are able to function at all, and little surprise to me that the normal human being fails to function optimally, considering the garbage we feed our cells, and the stress we place on the body.
Deficiencies, in any form, are damaging. Inflammation is at the root of so many of our ailments. Yet we are rarely empowered with the tools, knowledge, and nourishment to address the actual issues, consuming inflammatory foods and beverages, as we pop pills that address only the symptoms and cause more imbalances.
On the flip side, in the health world, it can be easy to get caught up in the idea of superfoods.
“Superfoods” ALLOW the body to be the great healer that it is. In other words, it is actually the body that is capable of healing itself when provided the right nourishment and circumstances.
So what made me dive in?
An ex, actually. The not so distant memory of someone’s personal usage of marijuana to reduce pain, anxiety, depression, and to enhance focus.
I witnessed it.
The psychoactive properties also came with their limitations.
With marijuana, there is a definite and obvious threshold. At some point, the psychoactive affects of marijuana hinder the mind’s ability to be… well… efficient.
But my curiosity got the best of me because we are all human, and there was one reoccurring theme that became obvious to me while working with clients—
When dealing with any sort of discomfort, especially when dealing with mental illness, stress, and physical pain, it can be challenging to make positive decisions when the short term results do not provide instant relief or gratification.
So I thought… what if… what if there was something that made people feel better, without the psychoactive side effects?
The potential for this hemp extract to be a game-changer was just too overwhelming for me not to experience it for myself.
So I gave CW a try.
I was nervous at first…
And what happened?
Within 20 minutes, I felt really…
It was almost like putting on glasses, where you don’t realize your squinting until you can see more clearly.
So how does it work, and what will it do for you?
Here’s a snippet of what I have absorbed during my time in this industry, thus far.
It depends on your body.
Chemical molecules in cannabis are referred to as cannabinoids. They are like little fatty plant molecules. If you’ve ever used a high-grade, pure essential plant extract (aka: essential oils), you will notice that they feel mildly greasy to the touch.
To date, the two most researched cannabinoids, in their isolated form, are THC and CBD.
THC is the one many of us have heard of, or have been warned about. It is the cannabinoid associated with the “high” in cannabis.
CBD, is one of many other cannabinoids in both marijuana and hemp cannabis, that has been gaining popularity with research backing it’s incredible medicinal properties.
The hemp plant, like that of the genetics used in CW, are below .03% THC, and considered incredibly rich in CBD. It is this extract that was given to Charlotte, bringing her seizures from 300 to 1 in that first month.
How does CBD work in the body?
The United States Department of Health & Human Services has a patent on cannabinoids as having neuroprotectant and antioxidant properties.
As a neuroprotectant, cannabinoids support cognitive and neurological function.
As a source of antioxidants, cannabinoids protect the body from stressors and the premature deterioration of the human cells and tissue caused by free-radical formation. A natural response to aging that is accelerated by all forms of stress— internally and externally.
However, what I find to be the most fascinating aspect of a high quality hemp extract, is how it interacts with the body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS).
When scientists refer to the Endocannabinoid System, they are referring to the biological system that was discovered while trying to understand the effects of cannabis in the body.
When cannabis is introduced into the bloodstream, it stimulates specific receptors throughout this biological network. These receptors “light up”, so to speak, signaling a specific message or response based on their location in the body.
Researchers believe that we are primed for this sort of cannabis stimulation because our own bodies seem to be naturally capable of producing their own chemical reaction that mimics how cannabis affects the ECS. In other words, the body can actually create a similar response to how cannabis helps the body find relief and balance.
Think of it sort of like the natural release of “feel good” endorphins that a healthy body is capable of experiencing when we workout, see somebody we love, win the lottery, etc.
So why isn’t the body releasing it’s own cannabis like chemicals on the regular?
The theory is that this system has been seriously neglected resulting in neurological and genetic disorders, mental health conditions and a failure to adapt efficiently to stressors.
If we are not feeding a system that is operating at a deficit, the body will not produce the results we want.
Just like we attribute the “immune system” to keeping us healthy, and “the metabolism” for keeping us at normal, healthy weight….
If we continually stress the body, and do not nourish it with the right vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, we are going to have a weak immune system. The whole system will suffer.
Researchers believe that maybe the most important role of the ECS is to keep the body in a state of equilibrium, helping it to adapt to internal and external stressors.
So what does this mean— bigger picture?
In my world, as a holistic nutritionist, everything is connected.
When the body is out of balance, the body lets us know.
Disease, inflammation, and imbalance manifests itself uniquely in each individual.
Some of my clients have come to me for skin issues, migraines, anxiety, insomnia, depression, weight issues, cancer… the list is never ending, but it all comes back to nourishing the body so that it can heal and establish a sense of balance.
Balance allows us to feel more connected to our overall well-being, so that we can be in sync with what pulls us out of equilibrium. When we are so out of balance, its harder to hear our body’s cries for help.
However, when we are so uncomfortable, depressed, anxious, in pain, sick, etc. it becomes increasingly challenging to make healthy choices. It becomes hard to focus. It’s a vicious cycle.
Non-psychoactive cannabinoids, like those found in a high quality hemp extract, work to bring the body into balance, easing discomfort so the body can function more optimally.
In this way, cannabinoids are incredible adaptogens. Unlike most medications, which mainly target the symptoms of imbalance, cannabinoids can address the imbalance, and help to restore the body.
Healthy is a lifestyle.
Hemp is not just for epilepsy. It is a plant that has the power to positively impact the lives of individuals, giving them a greater quality of life— wherever they may be on their journey.
Hemp is an adaptogen.
But above all, hemp may give individuals the opportunity, and the CHANCE to heal, alleviating discomfort, and making it easier for people to continue to make lifestyle choices that support their health goals.
More to come…
— — —
What interests you about hemp?
What questions do you have?
Have you tried a hemp plant extract?
— — — —
Note: I am no longer affiliated with any one company in the industry of hemp.
CW is a phenomenal company with an incredible mission. They have pioneered this industry, making it possible for people to have a greater quality of life. When you are looking for a hemp or CBD extract, make sure you understand the source of the hemp plant.