Welcome to part four of a four-part series, where we are learning more about hemp CBD by talking to some of the experts at CV Sciences™, makers of PlusCBD Oil™, the #1 brand of hemp CBD supplements in the natural products industry.
In a CBD market that can be extremely difficult to navigate, CV Sciences stands out for its transparency and its commitment to creating high-quality CBD products. This company and its PlusCBD Oil™ brand have become leaders in educating the public and furthering scientific knowledge about this remarkable substance. In addition to its extensive quality control testing, CV Sciences is the first hemp CBD company to invest in the scientific research necessary to receive a Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status. It sees an exciting and evolving future, where we will continue to learn more about hemp CBD’s amazing benefits and is investing in making that future happen.
Meet Stuart Tomc, VP of Human Nutrition for CV Sciences. He is a recognized authority on dietary supplements, and a renowned educator known for his extensive print interviews, contributions to books on integrative medicine, and 4,000 radio appearances.
You have more than 20 years of experience in the nutritional health industry. How does hemp-derived CBD support human health?
Hemp extracts are technically superfoods. I think we often forget to remember that. If you’re making a super extract, a CO2 extract of the entire plant—the seed, the stem, and the stalk—there are hundreds of biologically active compounds in there, not just the phytocannabinoids.
To make sure that you’re getting the entire hemp plant, including the seeds and the stem and the stalks, look for the term, “aerial plant parts.” It has to say aerial plant parts to ensure that you’re taking a full-spectrum, full-plant extract. Full spectrum products contain naturally occurring terpenes, fatty acids, polyphenols, lignans, plant sterols and naturally occurring vitamin E. It absolutely has to say [this] on the Supplement Facts panel, not the front of the label, per FDA. So what people do is, they’ll throw it on the front of the package, “full spectrum, full hemp,” and then you look at the supplement and fact panel: If it doesn’t say “aerial plant parts of hemp oil,” you may only be getting one of the hundreds of molecules in the hemp plant. You may only be getting the isolated CBD molecule and not a hemp extract, a distinction with a huge difference. Everyone knows that ascorbic acid is not the same as complex vitamin C, with all the naturally occurring cofactors.
Hemp extracts with low-to-no THC—that’s what we’re selling—they behave more like adaptogens. Adaptogens are plant compounds that may actually help you adapt to stress. They’re subtler, for fine-tuning and optimizing, modulating an individual response, as opposed to something more aggressive. Hemp extracts with low-to-no THC behave more like adaptogens, and they support the coordination of homeostasis. So think of them like homeostatic regulators of balance. CBD is a modern-day aspirin alternative. Or a modern day wonder botanical, that also supports a healthy stress response. And that’s a big deal, because we’re all under so much stress.
Ultimately, we need a better grasp of the pharmacogenetics of these compounds, because the response to cannabinoids absolutely has a genetic background. [Every person has a unique DNA sequence. One of the most common types of variation in that sequence is something called single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs.] These SNPs are involved in the action, metabolism, and the transport of these substances in the organism. Single nucleotide polymorphisms explain why you may like cannabis and why you don’t, why you test positive on a drug test and why you don’t, why you sleep better, and why it keeps you up at night.
So, everyone is going to have a very unique response to hemp?
So much more so, that you have to refuse the temptation to even tell anybody else what you’re using, because it doesn’t matter.
The endocannabinoid system is often mentioned in discussions about CBD. Why is this system so important?
Endocannabinoid synthesis is an adaptive response to cellular stress, aimed at reestablishing cellular homeostasis. Every time there is an adaptive response to cellular stress, that’s what the endocannabinoids are doing; they are the response to the cellular stress, aimed at reestablishing homeostasis.
CBD is a cannabinoid with no significant affinity for the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) or the cannabinoid 2 (CB2) receptor. It also does not have significant affinity for any other site in your brain. CBD is not a key that fits into the CB1 or CB2 lock.
CBD’s real magic is it has no direct affinity for all those sites in the brain. How does it work then? CBD modulates endocannabinoid production, function, and metabolism. What does that mean? Endocannabinoids are created, and they die, and they’re created, and they die. CBD knocks out the enzyme that degrades the endocannabinoids, allowing them to hang around.
Why do you think hemp-derived CBD has become so popular recently?
I think hemp’s popularity goes hand-in-hand with the resurgence of plant powered remedies. I’ve done this for thirty years, and I’ve watched over the last maybe ten years, that people pulled away from plants, because they couldn’t fully understand their complexity. And then the millennials arrived in health food stores and scratched their heads and said, “this stuff’s been here for millions and millions and millions of years; there’s got to be some kind of a communication between all these plants and all these animals on the earth including us.” And there was a huge resurgence of plant medicine that you could not synthesize or fake, which went hand in hand—in my opinion—with the generation that grew up with digital technology. They were even more drawn to the real. So hemp is finally being embraced by more mainstream forces, as a universal, sustainable botanical profit center of healing.
Hemp extracts are also easily accessible for the most part, and one of the most effective ways to help maintain balance and a healthy mental state of being. The timing for the popularity of hemp CBD is pitch perfect, because we all need more balance, more well-being. We’re all suffering more than we need to. And hemp may be exactly what we need today, and as it continues to grow, one could only fantasize about the possibilities. Once this is so prolific that its next to things like Zicam in the checkout lanes at large grocery store chains, this could really be one of, if not the greatest, saviors of the earth, this plant.
Medical marijuana has also become popular in recent years. How does hemp-derived CBD compare to medical marijuana?
I think that where we are failing, and where the market is failing, is to make an intelligent argument to explain different products, different markets, and different customers. That’s where I think we’ve got a gross misunderstanding.
We’re growing agricultural hemp seeds. We’re growing Fedora 17 and Futura 75. So if you go into a dispensary and you see ACDC or Ringo’s Gift or Tsunami Tsu, all those high-CBD cultivars. Those plants are remarkably different than what we’re growing. True hemp is genetically different than marijuana, first of all. Most people have no idea. Because the gene that makes the THC, is not fully activated in the true hemp plant. That can be identified through genetic testing. Even if you put bright lights on the hemp plant, it won’t produce copious amounts of THC. So, it’s good for a variety of conditions and functions, primarily as an anxiolytic for anxiety, and as an anti-inflammatory. Hemp contains CBD, CBDA, CBG, CBGA, it has a panoply of cannabinoids. It also MUST test at less than 0.3 percent THC, in the dry weight leaves. Remember that true hemp extracts also contain terpenes, fatty acids, polyphenols, lignans, plant sterols and naturally occurring vitamin E. Ask for a certificate of analysis that shows the cannabinoid content to make sure the extract is indeed derived from certified agricultural hemp. Cannabis products that don’t meet these criteria and may not be hemp derived, are only sold in cannabis dispensaries and not available to the general public.
There is a lot of conflicting and confusing information out there about CBD. What advice would you give to somebody interested in trying CBD for the first time?
Less is often more. Less is often much more effective with hemp extracts, and you may get even better results starting low and going slow. You could take too much the first time, and have somnolence as a side effect, and only need half a milligram to slowly seed the system over days and days, if not weeks, versus all of it at one time. For internal use, we want to tell people to start with the lowest possible concentration. We start with 100 mgs per 30 ml bottle and sell for only $22. They deliver one milligram—only one milligram—of CBD per two sprays. So what clinicians are doing is they’re gradually increasing until you reach optimum symptom relief.
It’s about the decentralization of power, and individual personal empowerment. Can you imagine? The fact that each recommendation, will be truly individual is incredible. The one size fits all narrative is being replaced with evidence based personalized medicine.
Plus CBD Oil™ is tested multiple times throughout the production process, by both CV Sciences and independent laboratories. Why is there so much testing?
Most botanicals sold in health food stores are tested multiple times. It’s industry standard for supplements. I want people to join AHPA [American Herbal Products Association] and learn to make the label the way the FDA wants you to. So, to anybody reading this, if you’ve got a little CBD company, I’d love for you to please join AHPA and the American Botanical Council, so that you know how to label your stuff. Those are great resources.
[The extensive testing by CV Sciences is due to the belief that] someone needed to do the right thing and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that hemp—agricultural hemp—is safe for human consumption, even though most people already assumed that it is. We thought someone needed to invest the time and energy and money to demonstrate that what they’re selling is proven safe, per stringent FDA guidelines. Our contribution to the scientific literature was only part of our vision and goal. So yes, to be transparent, we wanted to be the first Hemp CBD company to report GRAS self-affirmation, however, we also want to encourage our competition, and force the entire industry, to prove the safety of the hemp product that we’re all selling, that we all assume is safe. We hope that will create an impenetrable wall regarding the current safety concerns. Hemp is the people’s remedy, and CV Sciences is committed to keeping it that way.