I love plant medicine–I am an herbalist by trade–and I am thrilled that the powerful-but-long-forgotten hemp plant and its CBD oils are shining brightly as the champions of helping recover from so much of what is hurting us.
The predecessor to the pharmaceutical age we live in was an intricate, respectful and rich relationship and understanding of our place in the world and its various substances and elements.
While that sounds pretty heady, all I’m trying to say is that we worked with what was available to us–whether that be for shelter, sustenance, pleasure, or recovery from injury or illness–we learned from our elders and community how to best use what was in our space to make the most of our innate vitality and live to our fullest capacity. And we understood that the influences of season, elemental considerations– these all had a profound play on us, because we ARE part of this warp and weave of the quilt of our earth and our universe.
Likewise, the plant kingdom is part of that wonderful quilt of life. Medicinal plants were recognized until recent times as an integral part of our health and welfare–our “brothers-in-arms” of navigating seasonal changes, birth and child-rearing, illness–the compounds and energetics in these plants have been used strategically to help bring humanity to the place we find ourselves today.
Unfortunately, the last hundred years or so has seen quite a shift in this respect, understanding and relationship. The pharmaceutical age we live in, while INCREDIBLY powerful and potent in many respects, has also been an age where we’ve lost that connection and understanding of the plants and our relationship with them.
Thankfully there have been people in our midst who’ve maintained this understanding as best they can, from text books, mentorship with herbalists, formal education in traditional herbal medicine (the route I’ve taken), and today, from what is handed down on the Internet, both on blogs, and in the research and studies found on such sites as PubMed.
It takes a village!
One of the most potent plant medicines out there is found in the hemp plant (a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant, grown for nutrition and industrial purposes). From Wikipedia:
It is one of the fastest growing plants and was one of the first plants to be spun into usable fiber 10,000 years ago. It can be refined into a variety of commercial items including paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food, and animal feed. Although cannabis as a drug and industrial hemp are both members of the species Cannabis sativa and contain the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), they are distinct strains with unique biochemical compositions and uses. Hemp has lower concentrations of THC and higher concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD), which decreases or eliminates its psychoactive effects.
This mention of CBD has especially important impact for us humans. Around 1990, the human body was found to have what is now known as the Endocannabinoid System. Again, from Wikipedia:
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a group of endogenous cannabinoid receptors located in the mammalian brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems, consisting of neuromodulatory lipids and their receptors. Known as “the body’s own cannabinoid system”, the ECS is involved in a variety of physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory, and in mediating the psychoactive effects of cannabis. The ECS is also involved in voluntary exercise and may be related to the evolution of the runner’s high in human beings and related aspects of motivation or reward for locomotor activity in other animals.
This system is a relatively new finding to the scientific community–and in the wake of it, there have been numerous studies looking at ways to nourish and support this natural part of who we are that has such a profound influence on:
- Pain modulation
- Degenerative conditions such as Type II Diabetes, multiple sclerosis and atherosclerosis
- Memory and neuro-cognitive concerns
- Physical movement
- Healthy stress response
- Motor activity of the nerves supporting digestion, reproduction and elimination
- Temperature regulation
As you can see, this relatively new kid on the block of our understanding of bodily functions covers A LOT! It really can be considered an integral component of our neurotransmitter system, regulating rest, sleep, appetite, mood and physical expression.
And the hemp plant, rich in naturally-occurring cannabinoids, is one of the best sources of nourishment of this system. Unfortunately, hemp has fallen off our collective radar screen for the last hundred years or so in the West. From Wikipedia:
Until the early 1900s industrial hemp was a valuable crop used all over the world for its strong fibers and oil seeds. Today, however, the common perception of the industrial hemp plant is generally negative and associated with the drug marijuana. This perception is the legacy of a century of powerful influences construing hemp as a dangerous drug, even though it is not a drug and it has the potential to be a profitable alternative crop. In the United States, the public’s perception of hemp as marijuana has blocked hemp from becoming a useful crop and product.
The recognition of the endocannabinoid system in our bodies has only helped us to recognize the nutritional value of this unjustly maligned crop. I will be the first to say that the “buzz” of marijuana is not my idea of a good time (but to each, his own)–and I certainly don’t want my kids nor my patients experiencing this aspect of marijuana through my recommendation. That buzz arises from another active constituent in the marijuana plant called THC–it is the source of the “high”.
In addition to the therapeutic essential oils, magnesium oil, acupuncture, LED light therapy, laser, near-infrared lights, moxibustion, gua sha, cupping and ultrasound I use in helping with pain and bringing balance to the body, I’ve also used oils topically for pain that have been derived from the marijuana plant, but I’ve found that I’ve needed to use quite a lot at the site of pain before the pain went away. This is costly (I’ve found this type of plant medicine to be on the high-end of expense), but eventually effective–and I do mean effective–the pain is not masked, it just stops. Unfortunately, it has just taken too much to reach the destination of pain relief, as the ratio of CBDs to THC was weighted too unevenly. And if I’d wanted to use it internally, the psychoactive “high” would be strong and completely NOT what I would want for myself, my family nor my patients.
Thankfully, there is now a company that has made its sole purpose the availability of potent, nourishing CBD oils that are created for health, without the psychoactive effects of high THC concentrations. And, the price-point and availability of these products make this type of supplementation available to more people than any other delivery system I’ve seen. The company is called Kannaway and I am excited to offer their products as a Brand Ambassador. Ordering their products is easy and they are shipped directly to your home–you can order retail, or set up a wholesale account, or join me in sharing this “grass-roots” (sorry, I couldn’t resist!) effort as a Brand Ambassador as well. In all transparency, this is a direct sales company and as a Brand Ambassador I stand to earn through sales of their products–but for the hassle I’ve experienced trying to find CBD-rich oils that are effective, reasonably-priced and that are easily shared with people in all 50 states, this company has been an incredible find. I’d be remiss if I didn’t share with you, too.
I hope you’ll look into the research around this incredibly important topic and consider this as a safe, effective and well-rounded form of plant medicine for you and your family–Take care!