Cooking with a Canadian Cannabis Chef

chef John MacNeil zennabis cooking with cannabisRed Seal chef John MacNeil

A chef earns a Red Seal accreditation by demonstrating superior skills, knowledge and passing a national exam. Canadian John MacNeil is from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, but worked at Michelin-rated restaurants in Europe and then made a name for himself in Calgary, where he was an executive chef of the award-winning Italian restaurant, Teatro Ristorante.

He opened The Black Pig Bistro in the city’s trendy Bridgeland area five years ago. He later sold it to his business partners and started reTreat Edibles, which sells baking mixes formulated to accommodate the addition of Cannabis. He starts by emphasising the importance of origin. “You should only use legally produced Cannabis to ensure it’s clean and safe” he says. “People don’t scrutinise Cannabis the way they scrutinise food, but they should”. 

How does Cannabis affect the flavour of a dish?

Like wine grapes, Cannabis comes in countless strains with various flavours including, for example, citrus, berry, mint and pine. These flavours are created by aromatic oils called terpenes, which are secreted in the same glands that produce Cannabis compounds including Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). Terpenes form part of the flavour profile of a Cannabis-infused dish so it’s important to select ones that complement the other ingredients.coriander-leaves-and-seeds

How much Cannabis should be included in a dish?

MacNeil compares learning how much Cannabis to include in a dish to learning how to cook steak properly. You overcook then undercook before learning to make it just right. It takes practice to find out where the sweet spot is, he says. Dosing varies from one individual to the next depending on a person’s previous history of Cannabis consumption, gastrointestinal factors, and the sensitivity of his or her endocannabinoid system.

Most experts recommend a starting dose of no more than 2.5 mg of bud for beginners. However, since effects vary based on each person consuming, MacNeil does not make dosing recommendations. Also, it takes awhile for edibles to take effect so beginners often make the mistake of ingesting too much too soon. MacNeil and other experts advise beginners to wait around two hours before deciding whether to take a second dose.

What is one of the most popular Cannabis-infused items people make at home?

Many people express an interest in Cannabis-infused brownies. MacNeil recommends using Thai coconut milk and French chocolate. To infuse Cannabis into chocolate brownies and other baked goods, many people use the whole plant, drying, curing and then grinding it into a flour-like substance and combining  it with cooking oil or butter.naturaloil

Cooking with Cannabis Recipes by Chef John MacNeil

Adapted from, Cooking with Cannabis: Tips From a Red Seal Chef


Terpenes Treat Oxidative Stress

The majority of research on Cannabis has been conducted on the two most familiar compounds – cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, the lesser-studied terpene constituents, also produced in the trichomes, have been shown to possess key biochemical properties that make them well-suited for therapeutic applications. Terpenes are also believed to interact with cannabinoids to produce an “entourage effect” – a synergy of biochemical interactions that provide holistic medicinal benefits. While terpenes are essential components of Cannabis, they are by no means exclusive to it, as they can be found in flowering plants. Limonene contributes to the fragrance of citrus and Linalool, lavender. The shared chemical properties across terpenes and their physiological effects have provided clues as to the specific medicinal properties of Cannabis-derived terpenes. Pre-clinical trials have shown that certain terpenes possess anti-oxidant properties. 

While many consumer products are labelled as “antioxidants” to promote health, only substances proven to prevent the oxidation of fundamental biological compounds such as proteins, carbohydrates and fats, are scientifically considered “antioxidants”. When oxygen is broken down in the body, it produces free radicals, or atoms with unpaired electrons. An abundance of free radicals can causes damage, as they are highly reactive and unstable – this is called oxidative stress. The damage caused by oxidative stress has been linked to multiple conditions, including autoimmune and cardiovascular diseases. Nitric oxide (NO), an essential signalling molecule in the body, is a free radical and during the process of creating NO, additional free radicals are produced. NO levels have been linked to increased oxidative stress and associated disease. While erroneous (or exaggerated) claims abound, several terpenes, such as those found in Rosemary, are proven to possess antioxidant properties through inhibition of NO production.

Similar effects have been found for Cannabis terpenes. One study evaluated three Cannabis chemotypes and analysed their terpenoid content. Applying high concentrations of different terpenes inhibited production of NO in cell cultures and reduced production of reactive oxygen intermediates, byproducts of oxygen metabolism. These terpenes also reduced swelling and pain perception (measured by muscle retraction) in an animal model of paw inflammation. Another study found that Myrcene significantly reduced NO production in a cellular model of osteoarthritis. However, this effect was exclusive to Myrcene; while Limonene produced a smaller degree of inhibition, E-caryophyllene showed no effect. These results indicate that some terpenes may possess more potent effects on oxidative stress than others. Additional research is necessary to better understand how terpenes impact NO production, as well as other forms of oxidative stress, to better evaluate how they could be potentially used as antioxidants.lavender-essential-oils

Adapted from Antioxidant Properties of Cannabis-derived Terpenes Fighting oxidative stress


Cannabis Topicals and How They Work


Tens of millions of Americans are afflicted with chronic pain and many are seeking safe, non-addictive solutions to ease their suffering. So too in Australia, where 67% or 11.1 million people aged 15 years and over reported experiencing bodily pain in the previous month (2012). Around one in ten (9%) experienced severe or very severe pain, and many adults experienced chronic pain. Research suggests Cannabis topicals could provide relief for sufferers of ailments ranging from sports injuries and migraines to skin conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis. Image result for cannabis topicals

Topicals represent one of the fastest-growing segments of the legal Cannabis marketplace in the United States. Scientific bodies confirm Cannabis has pain-relieving properties. But to fully understand how topicals can relieve pain and other ailments, we need to take a quick tour of the human Endocannabinoid System (ECS). The ECS is a vast network of receptors throughout the body. It’s responsible for modulating many physiological systems involving the brain, endocrine, immune and nervous systems. Researchers have found the ECS is essential for maintaining homoeostasis, or balance, in these various systems.


There are two main types of receptors or ‘message receivers’ in the ECS, classified as CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are predominantly located in the brain and central nervous system; CB2 receptors are primarily in the peripheral nervous system. The messages these receptors receive are actually chemicals that bind to the receptor and either activate it or shut it down, producing a corresponding effect within the body. 


The chemical compounds in Cannabis that interact with the ECS are called cannabinoids, with the most well-known being neuroactive delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which activates CB1 receptors in the brain to create euphoria. More than 100 cannabinoids have been identified in the Cannabis plant including cannabidiol (CBD) and others like cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG) and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCv), whose various medicinal properties are under escalating scrutiny.

When you apply a Cannabis topical to your skin, the cannabinoids interact with CB2 receptors in your epidermis and muscles. In a 2016 report in Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, researchers found when CB2 receptors were the targets, the result was reduced inflammation, an immune response that plays a role in many ailments including skin conditions and chronic pain. Unlike anti-inflammatory medications, Cannabis topicals can be used without risking unpleasant potential side effects or overdose. Image result for cannabis topicals

Some Cannabis topicals contain THC, but when applied to the skin, the cannabinoids don’t actually enter the bloodstream. Instead, THC interacts with the ECS receptors outside the blood-brain barrier. A research review in Molecular Pharmacology concluded, “activation of CB2 receptors does not appear to produce … psychotropic effects”. Topicals allow consumers to localise and directly target an afflicted area to reduce inflammation. People can and do ingest Cannabis via smoking, vaping or edibles for generalised pain relief, but many prefer to single out that aching knee or sore neck by applying a topical directly. Image result for cannabis topicals

Some research even indicates cannabinoids may accelerate our bodies’ natural healing process. A 2005 study on CB1 and CB2 receptors in the gastrointestinal system found that cannabinoids can promote the healing of epithelial wounds. Our skin is composed of epithelial cells, which also line the surfaces of our organs and blood vessels. So, Cannabis topicals may also promote a quicker healing response for skin conditions and injuries. Perhaps best of all, Cannabis topicals offer consumers a simple, safe and low-stakes entryway into exploring the wellness benefits of Cannabis.

Image result for elderly using cannabis topicals

Many people still harbour fears about Cannabis, but topicals are approachable and in many ways, the best ambassador for the Cannabis plant’s pain-relieving and healing capabilities. The emerging research is clear in showing the tangible ways Cannabis topicals work with our bodies. Just let that knowledge soak in.

Adapted from How Cannabis Topicals Actually Work: A Deep Dive into Your Body’s CB1 / CB2 Receptors (Author Dahlia Mertens is the founder and CEO of Mary Jane’s Medicinals)


Cannabinoids and Biosynthesis

Any time a living organism synthesises a chemical compound on its own, we term that activity ‘biosynthesis’ (or anabolism). These chemical reactions are different than ones we do in test tubes (in vitro) because biological systems have a host of mechanisms in place to drive energetically unfavourable reactions to completion, including enzyme catalysers (substances capable of initiating or speeding up a chemical reaction) and energy currency in the form of adenosine triphosphate or ATP (adenosine molecule bonded to three phosphate groups, present in all living tissue). Chemists mimic these processes by imbuing the system with heat, mechanical agitation, metal catalysers and more, but these are mere shadows on the wall compared to the vast beauty and efficiency of a biological synthetic pathway.

Image result for cannabis leaf macro images

Biosynthesis of cannabinoids generally takes place in the plant cells of leaves, which makes sense. Building up these complex molecules involves a large amount of energy expenditure and leaves are the main powerhouse of the plant. Cannabinoids are also big and bulky; Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) alone requires 21 carbon atoms. All this carbon matter has to come from somewhere and in the case of plants, this matter comes right from the air, from carbon dioxide (CO2). Plants take up CO2 in their leaves, some of it becoming photosynthesised into molecular oxygen (O2) and some being catabolised (degradative metabolism) into simple organic compounds for use throughout the plant.

Figure 1. Isopentyl diphosphate (1) and dimethylallyl diphosphate (2) are the precursor molecules of all terpenoids. They are shunted into the cannabinoid pathway by enzymatically catalysing their addition into geranyl diphosphate (3).

Interestingly, cannabinoid biosynthesis is a branch of terpenoid biosynthesis, sharing the same precursor molecules and pathways (Figure 1). There is more than one pathway to create these precursors. Once these precursors are made, they are shunted into the cannabinoid pathway by a series of enzymatic reactions which produce the penultimate cannabinoid precursor Cannabigerolic acid, or CBGa (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Geranyl diphosphate (3) and olivetolic acid (4) are combined to form CBGa (5).

From there, the cannabinoids that we have discovered seem to differentiate mostly via non-catalysed modifications to the skeletal structure. This explains the similar structure shared by all cannabinoids. These modifications include decarboxylation (loss of CO2 moiety [part of a molecule]), isomerisation (structural rearrangement without change in chemical composition) and oxidation (loss of electrons). There are also three enzymes that specifically modify CBGa into more specific cannabinoid moieties, including the all-important Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCa) and Cannabidiolic acid (CBDa) (Figure 3).

Figure 3. CBGa is modified by three particular enzymes, producing Cannabichromenic acid (CBCa) (6), THCa (7), or CBDa (8). The numbers surrounding the structures of 6 and 7 help identify carbon atoms, facilitating understanding and communication.

Adapted from Biosynthesis of Cannabinoids 

Cannabis Promotes Homoeostasis (Balance)

Image result for homoeostasis = balance

The human body is biologically designed to look for balance. This state of equilibrium that the body seeks to achieve is called homoeostasis. Think of homoeostasis as an internal “check and balance” system of the body that helps you function optimally. The trillions of cells within our body work independently and with each other to ensure we are alive and healthy. And because the human body is a single unit, when there is any change in the body’s systems it will affect one or more of the others. A group of nerve cells, known as the hypothalamus, are found deep within our brains. The hypothalamus is essential in regulating key processes we perform everyday, which we never notice, even though they are critical to maintaining homoeostasis. These include:

  • Sleep: Homoeostasis is dependent on a healthy sleep-wake cycle, which is defined as the amount of time that has passed since the last time you got enough sleep. Sleep deficits result in a compensatory increase in the duration and intensity of sleep, while too much sleep will decrease sleep propensity.
  • Blood pressure: Regulated when cells in the body send feedback to the brain. Cells send signals that widen the blood vessels to eliminate pressure or narrow the vessels to increase pressure.
  • Breathing: Respiration rate is affected by how much carbon dioxide you have in your blood, which is controlled and monitored by a part of your brain. This process changes as you engage in certain activities, such as when you breathe deeper and more when you climb up a set of stairs because your muscles are burning more oxygen.
  • Mood: Adjusts based on changes, triggers and stressors in the environment.

Image result for hypothalamus

The hypothalamus is the primary command post, which is responsible for identifying changes in the environment and acting in response to it by releasing hormones as well as neurotransmitters, which then allow cells and structures in the body to communicate. For example, when you exercise, you become red. This is the result of your blood vessels dilating to reduce the increase in body temperature, as well as the increase in heart rate and breathing to make sure that oxygen levels in your body are adequate. These things happen as a response to your body seeking balance after exposed to a stimulus – exercise. When homoeostasis is interrupted because of illness, disease, injuries, or medications, the body cannot achieve that balance. Many of the most common illnesses that plague the world today are caused by disrupted homoeostasis. These include diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, arthritis, osteoporosis, gout, endocrine disorders, and thyroid disorders. Is it a surprise that these conditions are also treated by Cannabis? Age also affects homoeostasis. Things within our body just don’t function as well, and the bones aren’t the only parts that get rickety over time. Even our cells don’t work as well when we get older (senescence or biological ageing).

Image result for age-related conditions lack of homoeostasis

Many age-related conditions have their roots in a lack of homoeostasis, including arthritis and osteoporosis. On the other hand, conditions like chronic pain give us homoeostatic symptoms due to the disruption of the cannabinoid cycle. Patients suffering from chronic pain may also suffer from depression, sleep problems, blood pressure and heart rate issues. These symptoms occur because the Endocannabinoid System has to work overtime due to constant pain. Studies show when cannabinoids are consumed from Cannabis, it can help restore or maintain homoeostasis especially as we age. In fact, the main job of the Endocannabinoid System is to promote homoeostasis. The Endocannabinoid System has three main components:

Cannabinoid receptors, located on the surface of cells, monitor for conditions that occur outside the cell. They are responsible for transmitting information to the inside of the cell, because any change in conditions will trigger the necessary cellular responses. The two primary cannabinoid receptors are CB1 and CB2; CB1 receptors interact with THC in cannabis which results in euphoria (among other welcome effects). CB2 receptors are mostly concentrated in areas beyond the nervous system such as the immune system. But both receptors are found throughout the body.

Image result for cannabinoid receptors 

Endocannabinoids are the molecules that bind to and stimulate the cannabinoid receptors. But unlike THC and CBD, endocannabinoids are naturally produced by cells within the body. The two main endocannabinoids are 2-AG and anandamide, which are produced from molecules similar to fat, located within the membranes. They are produced by the body when needed, which means they are only synthesised and utilised when the body needs them instead of being stored away for future use, just like other molecules within the body.Image result for endocannabinoids anandamide and 2ag

Metabolic enzymes are the third part of the trifecta, which obliterate endocannabinoids when they have been used up. FAAH and MAGL are the two main metabolic enzymes. FAAH metabolises anandamide while MAGL metabolises 2-AG. These two make sure that the endocannabinoids are used when they are needed but not for longer.

These three components are located in almost every major system in the human body. When something results in a disruption of homoeostasis, these three things work together to restore homoeostasis. According to Dr Vicenzo Di Marzo, Research Director, Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry, Naples, Italy: “With the ‘pro-homoeostatic action of the ECS’ we mean that this system of chemical signals gets temporarily activated following deviations from cellular homoeostasis. When such deviations are non-physiological, the temporarily activated ECS attempts, in a space- and time-selective manner, to restore the previous physiological situation (homoeostasis)”. A report published in Endocrine, Metabolic, and Immune Disorders – Drug Targets, states: “The ECS (Endocannabinoid System) has deep phylogenetic roots and regulates many aspects of embryological development and homoeostasis, including neuroprotection and neural plasticity, immunity and inflammation, apoptosis and carcinogenesis, pain and emotional memory and the focus of this review: hunger, feeding, and metabolism”.

Image result for endocannabinoids

Dr Dustin Sulak, an osteopathic doctor and Diplomat of the American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine, says the Endocannabinoid System is “perhaps the most important physiologic system involved in establishing and maintaining human health”. Additionally, by facilitating communication between various cells, endocannabinoids help regulate homoeostasis. “At the site of an injury, for example, cannabinoids can be found decreasing the release of activators and sensitisers from the injured tissue, stabilising the nerve cell to prevent excessive firing and calming nearby immune cells to prevent the release of pro-inflammatory substances”, writes Dr Sulak. Humans, as a functioning, single-unit organism, need a well-balanced internal system in order to grow and function optimally. An imbalanced state of homoeostasis can lead to health problems ranging from minor headaches to more serious, life-threatening conditions including cancer. The Endocannabinoid System helps regulate important processes that maintain homoeostasis by activating cannabinoid receptors in the central nervous and peripheral nervous systems. You can restore homoeostasis by eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, exercising and consuming whole plant Cannabis in a form that suits you best.  

Image result for stunning whole plant cannabis

Adapted from How Cannabis Promotes Homeostasis with How Marijuana Promotes Homeostasis 


Why Cannabis is a Superfood

Image result for cannabis superfood

Americans are supposed to get five to nine servings of fruit and vegetables every day. This equates to roughly two cups of fruit and two-and-a-half cups of vegetables. Although this is the recommended amount that should be eaten according to the USDA (United States Dietary Association), most of the American population don’t even come close to meeting this recommendation. In Australia, government dietary guidelines recommend about five serves of veggies per day (where a serve is defined as around 75 grams) and two serves of fruit a day (a serve is about 150 grams). As you can see, serving sizes vary based on the country an individual resides in. Fortunately, a plant consumed for centuries due to its plethora of medicinal, therapeutic and nutritional benefits, Cannabis sativa, has more recently attracted the label superfood from numerous researchers and physicians, whom note Cannabis is worthy of incorporation into the human diet in some way or another. 

Cannabis many medicinal and therapeutic benefits are well established, but the nutritional benefits of Cannabis are still gaining recognition and public coverage. ‘Superfoods are unprocessed foods rich in vitamins, minerals and nutrients, often derived from fruits, vegetables and herbs. Under this definition, numerous doctors believe Cannabis can be grouped into the superfoods category. Besides Cannabis’ array of medicinal and therapeutic benefits, the plant is an excellent source of vitamins and nutrients. In general, there are various parts of Cannabis that can be consumed, such as leaves, stems and buds, heated or not. To reap Cannabis’ nutritional benefits though, consuming raw parts of the plant is the way to go.


Hemp seeds contain a multitude of nutritional benefits that can help improve one’s diet. Hemp is a variety of Cannabis sativa (same species), but is grown to produce industrial and commercial products including food, animal feed and other useful materials like rope, textiles, paper and hempcrete. Generally, hemp seeds are consumed for their high nutrient and protein content, especially by vegans and vegetarians. Additionally, hemp seeds are consumed for their fatty acid content in the form of Omega-3’s and Omega-6’s. Overall, humans need to consume a regular amount of fatty acids, particularly due to benefits they have on our heart and brain. Research has found when one consumes Omega fatty acids, inflammation can be reduced, ADHD and arthritic pain can be better managed and high cholesterol can be combatted.

The presence of Omega fatty acids in hemp seeds is worth noting because they also help in the area of protein production. Hemp seeds serves as a much healthier alternative for those who don’t consume fish but need to get their serving of fatty acids. They’re an excellent source of Vitamin E (and other tocopherols), zinc, magnesium, iron, liver enzymes, antioxidants and protein. Not only is hemp extremely versatile, some of its other nutritional benefits include: vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, high plant-based protein content, high Omega fatty acids content, simple to digest, FODMAP suitable, paleo, ketogenic and diabetic-friendly.

Image result for cannabis superfood

Although various cannabinoids deliver medicinal and therapeutic benefits when they’re heated up or decarboxylated, the true nutritional benefits come from the consumption of raw cannabinoids. Some raw cannabinoids’ benefits:

  • Improve productivity and efficiency of cells within the body
  • Initiate the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) to activate antioxidant release
  • Released antioxidants act as a ‘cleaner’ by removing damaged cells from the body
  • When orally ingested, therapeutic benefits are achieved more effectively
  • Can be incorporated into diet in numerous ways

You can grind up raw Cannabis leaves, buds or stems to use as seasonings or toppings for salads, soups, stews, oatmeal, porridge etc. Also, juicing raw Cannabis leaves is nutritionally beneficial, according to Dr William Courtney. He recommends using 20-30 big leaves or two or three raw buds daily to reap numerous nutritional and therapeutic benefits. You can also grind up raw Cannabis parts and add to smoothies, shakes and sauces.


All humans and mammals have an ECS, one of the most integral physiological systems involved in the establishment and maintenance of one’s health and creating homoeostasis across all bodily systems (balance). This system plays a vital role in the functioning of the brain, endocrine and immune tissues. The ECS plays a significant part in the secretion of hormones associated with reproductive functions and stress responses. In addition, the ECS regulates homeostasis and influences the function of the food consumption centres of the body’s central nervous system (CNS) and gastrointestinal tract activity. Throughout our bodies are endocannabinoids and their receptors (CB1 and CB2), which are within the brain, connective tissues, glands, immune cells, and various organs. Within each tissue, the ECS plays a role in maintaining homoeostasis, which is the maintenance of a stable internal environment regardless of different instabilities in the external environment.


One study stated the following about this integral system: “This system plays a significant role in a wide range of physiologic processes and behaviours including neurogenesis, neural development, immune function, metabolism and energy homoeostasis, synaptic plasticity and learning, pain, emotional state, arousal and sleep, stress reactivity and reward processing/addiction to other drugs of abuse”. Overall, not only is Cannabis medically and therapeutically beneficial, this plant and byproducts of it can be nutritionally beneficial if raw forms of it are consumed. Whether you want a vitamin, nutrient, or mineral boost or an improvement in your well-being, try consuming raw cannabinoids and/or hemp seeds and see how much it improves your health and lifestyle.

Adapted from Top three reasons why cannabis is a powerful superfood


Full Spectrum CBD is Superior to Single Isolate CBD

cannabis, recreational cannabis, medical cannabis, cannabinoids, CBD, THC, endocannabinoid system, research, legalization, scientific studies

There has been a lot of debate regarding the superiority of whole plant medicine versus extracts and the converse. For a long time it was believed tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) was the most beneficial part of the Cannabis plant (at least when it came to medicinal value) and that all of the other bits didn’t really matter. Now we know many parts of the plant, including the cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes have tremendous value in healing. Not only that, these parts work together, within full spectrum medicine, to amplify the pharmacological activity of the whole via the Entourage Effect. The Cannabis plant has over 140 different cannabinoids with medicinal value as they interact with the body’s Endocannabinoid System. This is a signalling system of receptors found on the surface of certain cells, critical for the control of many bodily functions, such as digestion, nervous control, pain, immune functioning and homoeostasis (balance). The most abundant cannabinoid is THC, followed by cannabidiol (CBD). Other significant cannabinoids include cannabichromene (CBC), cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabinol (CBN).

cannabis, cannabinoids, CBD, THC, CBG, endocannabinoid system, research, medical cannabis, recreational cannabis, health benefits

It takes a lot of effort to isolate CBD or THC from the Cannabis plant. Even though you are processing the plant, the isolate that comes out the other end is not synthetic; this is a common misconception. The plant is refined to a pure form of CBD, typically a white powder. It used to be an isolate was the gold standard of ‘cannabis medicine’. But, as further research was conducted on how CBD interacts with the human body, something strange was observed – patients that took high CBD strains tended to have faster healing and less pain than those that merely took the CBD isolate. For example, a study looking at the anxiety of public speakers noted that with the isolate, CBD followed a bell-shaped curve for therapeutic effectiveness. This means when the amount of CBD ingested exceeded a certain point, its therapeutic impact declined dramatically. Therapeutic effect 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. Following this interesting finding, further studies were conducted to determine how to overcome the bell-shaped dose response curve effect. 

cannabis, CBD, THC, CBG, anandamide, research, scientific studies, cannabinoids, endocannabinoid system, CBD isolate, bell-shape dose response

One notable Israeli study was Published in the journal Pharmacology & Pharmacy (February 2015) and was entitled “Overcoming the Bell-Shaped Dose-Response of Cannabidiol by Using Cannabis Extract Enriched in Cannabidiol”. It is important to note that one of the co-authors, Lumir Hanus, was instrumental in the discovery of the endogenous cannabinoid, anandamide. The Israeli team obtained a CBD-rich strain called “Avidekel” which has only trace amounts of THC and studied it against a CBD extract referred to as “clone 202”. Both forms of CBD were administered to lab rats and the therapeutic effects were clinically observed and charted. The pure CBD isolate, once again, revealed that single-molecule CBD administration produced a bell-shaped dose-response curve with a small therapeutic window. However, rather than showing a bell-shaped curve, the whole plant CBD-rich extract caused a direct, dose-dependent inhibition of pain. Moreover, the Israeli researchers discovered that a smaller amount of CBD was needed for significant pain relief compared to the much larger amount of CBD isolate required to achieve similar analgesic effect. RxLeaf

When the CBD isolate was delivered in excess of therapeutic dose, there was a decline in efficacy, but an excess of whole plant CBD-rich extract did not undermine its therapeutic potency. What happened when the full spectrum extract was given in excess is that the therapeutic effect reached a medicinal plateau phase and levelled off, rather than declined. These results have revolutionised how Cannabis’ therapeutic effects are understood. So much so we can confidently call this a landmark study in the Cannabis space. Subsequent studies have further proved this finding. The effect mentioned above is now referred to as the Entourage Effect, achieved when Cannabis is consumed as a whole plant, whether that be flower, oil, or tincture. Full spectrum CBD oil contains terpenes, cannabinoids and flavonoids. These compounds work synergistically to produce a more potent and longer-lasting effect than a single compound can achieve on its own.


Adapted from Full Spectrum CBD is Superior to CBD Isolate Because It Works For A Range of Doses