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What is the Endocannabinoid System?

What is the Endocannabinoid System, exactly, and what does it have to do with pain management? The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is a system of receptors throughout virtually all tissues in the body which mediate a wide variety of physiological processes.[8] These include pain and its regulation, memory functionality, appetite, stress, and anxiety modulation, sleep regulation, various aspects of metabolism, immune function, and even aspects of reproductive function.[9],[10] With Fibromyalgia and chronic pain occurring throughout the body, it would make sense that targeting a cosmopolitan receptor system would be an effective method for managing specific and nonspecific pain. The ECS is receptive to both endogenous (produced within us) and exogenous (taken into ourselves from outside) cannabinoids.[8] One exogenous cannabinoid which has been garnering a lot of attention from the scientific and medical communities is CBD.

What is CBD?

CBD (cannabidiol) is a naturally occurring cannabinoid present in members of the Cannabis genus. When ingested or applied to the human body it interacts with the ECS and has been shown to potentially reduce pain and interfere with pain signaling, which has been thought to be at the root of Fibromyalgia.[4],[11] Alongside direct pain management, many therapies for Fibromyalgia and chronic pain focus on physical exercise, meditation, and mindfulness, as well as the general reduction in exacerbating factors such as stress and anxiety.[1] CBD, as mentioned above, also is being explored as a potential augmentation for stress and anxiety management — making it an ideal accomplice for those looking for an alternative treatment option to add to their existing regimen. Also, since it appears that women benefit more from the reduction in psychological triggers for Fibromyalgia, in the future CBD may especially help women improve their pain management outcomes.

Are all CBD products created equal?

Based on the initial wave of anecdotal reactions and encouraging early clinical studies, consumer excitement around CBD is here to stay and still growing. However, early adopters of CBD should realize that, as it stands today, not all CBD products are created equal. One major difference between brands is the source of the CBD itself. There are products with just CBD oil, those with CBD isolate, and those with full-spectrum CBD extract added to their products. CBD isolate is the ultra-purified form of CBD, and looks like a white powder. Ultra-pure sounds good, right? Well, not exactly. CBD isolate does a great job of doing what its name implies (providing you with pure CBD), but a growing body of research is coming around to the idea that there’s more to the cannabis plant than just the CBD itself. With CBD isolate, you’re getting CBD alone and only an extremely limited number of other compounds from the plant. On the other hand, full-spectrum CBD includes more of those potentially beneficial nutrients from the hemp plant. The reason for this is something called the “Entourage Effect”. This effect, simply stated, means that the more compounds from the Cannabis plant that are included, the greater the effect they have through their synergy.[12],[13],[14] Full spectrum CBD extracts, in contrast to isolate and CBD oil, contain the widest variety of the naturally occurring compounds which create this Entourage Effect. These compounds include CBD, other cannabinoids, terpenes, and many other compounds.[13] For that reason, many savvy CBD users are sticking strictly to full-spectrum CBD products.

The CBDfx Difference

Here at CBDfx, we pride ourselves in only using full-spectrum CBD extracts to create our products. We source our full-spectrum CBD from organic US farms, which maintain the highest standards of cultivation, environmental practices, and safest extraction techniques. This means there are no harmful chemicals used during cultivation. This is great for both the end user and the environment, as it reduces the chemical footprint in the surrounding ecosystem as well as preventing these chemicals from ending up in the extracted full-spectrum CBD. They also use the most modern extraction techniques, shunning less-effective techniques which result in an end product that is not of the highest possible quality. Organic, ethical, and effective – that is the CBDfx difference.

[1] https://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Fibromyalgia

[2] Yunus MB. Gender differences in fibromyalgia and other related syndromes. J Gend Specifi Med. 2002, 5:42–47.

[3] Lange M, Karpinski N, Krohn-Grimberghe B. et al. [Patients with fibromyalgia: gender differences]. Schmerz. 2010; 24: 262.

[4] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fibromyalgia/symptoms-causes/syc-20354780

[5] https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/fibromyalgia.htm

[6] Atzeni F, Gerardi MC, Masala IF, Alciati A, Batticciotto A, & Sarzi-Puttini P. An update on emerging drugs for fibromyalgia treatment, Expert Opinion on Emerging Drugs, 2017; 22:4, 357-367.

[7] Lawson K. Emerging pharmacological strategies for the treatment of fibromyalgia. World Journal of Pharmacology, 2017; 6:1, 1-10.

[8] McPartland, JM., Matias, I., Di Marzo, V., Glass, M. Evolutionary origins of the endocannabinoid system. Gene. 2006; 370:64-74.

[9] Alger, BE. Getting High on the Endocannabinoid System. Cerebrum Dana Forum Brain Sci. 2013;2013.

[10] Maccarrone M, Bab I, Bíró T, et al. Endocannabinoid signaling at the periphery: 50 years after THC. Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2015;36(5): 277-296.

[11] Woodhams SG, Sagar DR, Burston JJ, Chapman V. (2015) The Role of the Endocannabinoid System in Pain. In: Schaible HG. (eds) Pain Control. Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology, vol 227.

[12] Russo EB, Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid‐terpenoid entourage effects. Br J Parmacol. 2011; 163 (7): 1344-1364.

[13] Sanchez-Ramos J. The entourage effect of the phytocannabinoids. Annals of Neurology. 2015; 77(6):1083

[14] Pamplona FA, Rolim da Silva L, Coan AC. Potential Clinical Benefits of CBD-Rich Cannabis Extracts Over Purified CBD in Treatment-Resistant Epilepsy: Observational Data Meta-analysis. Front. Neurol. 2018; 9:759.