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Types of CBD Products

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The Endocannabinoid System

In recent years, CBD has emerged as an amazing therapeutic compound that has gained immense attention from people around the world.  The primary source of CBD or other beneficial phytocannabinoids is Cannabis Sativa plant.

Cannabis has two main phytocannabinoids that are CBD or cannabidiol and THC or tetrahydrocannabinol.  Unlike THC, CBD is safe and non-psychoactive as it cannot cause intoxication. Phytocannabinoids offer exceptional health benefits because of their ability to interact with the human body. Research has shown that CBD can be helpful in alleviating chronic pain and inflammation among other related problems. Are you also wondering how CBD could be such a valuable substance?

The answer lies in the way it interacts with the body. CBD engages the endocannabinoid system (ECS) that is spread all across the body. If you are unfamiliar with ECS, read on to know more about it. 

The Endocannabinoid System 

The endocannabinoid system is a biological system that was initially discovered by an Israeli scientist, Raphael Mechoulam. Previously, scientists could not figure out the exact neurotransmitter functionality. Mechoulam jumpstarted the medical revolution which has transformed the debate around cannabis and the lives of so many people. The endocannabinoid system works by the production of Endocannabinoid by the lipid membranes of the cells. These chemicals bind to the receptors that are present throughout the peripheral and central nervous systems. ECS is responsible for neuromodulation that helps the body in performing the physiological function. It has a significant effect on:

  • Chronic pain
  • Muscle formation
  • Cardiovascular system function
  • Mood
  • Appetite and digestion
  • Motor control
  • Sleep
  • Metabolism
  • Learning and memory
  • Skin and nerve function
  • Inflammation and other immune system responses
  • Bone remodeling and growth
  • Liver function
  • Reproductive system function
  • Stress

The endocannabinoid system is made up of endocannabinoid, endocannabinoid receptors, and degradation enzymes. Let’s take a detailed look at each of these. 

Endocannabinoid Receptors

Endocannabinoid Receptors are present throughout the body, including the central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, immune cells, and all other organs of the body. There are varieties of Endocannabinoid receptors, but the most common are CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are concentrated in the CNS, fat cells, musculoskeletal tissues, immune cells, and reproductive tract. The distribution of CB1 receptors shows the importance of endocannabinoid system functionality. CB1 receptors can have a significant effect on nausea, appetite, pain, mood, cognitive function, and inflammation. 

CB2 receptors are densely concentrated in the immune system, including T and B lymphocytes and macrophages, along with the cells of the kidney, liver, and spleen. The human skin houses a considerable number of CB2 receptors. The primary function is the intermediation of inflammation and immunomodulation. Research suggests that CB2 receptors play a crucial role in maintaining bone density. 

Endocannabinoid Neurotransmitters 

Endocannabinoid Neurotransmitters or Endogenous cannabinoids are produced only when the body requires them instead of being stored in the cells and released on demand. Physiological stress such as pain, injury, illness, and inflammation are the most common triggers for the production of endocannabinoid. They are also produced to maintain homeostasis in the body. Two main endocannabinoids produced by the body are anandamide and 2-AG. These molecules interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors to carry out the desired physiological functions.

Degradation Enzymes

The endocannabinoid molecules are destined to be degraded when they are no longer needed by the body. Fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) are produced to degrade anandamide and 2-AG, respectively. 

Phytocannabinoids and ECS  

CBD is the most famous therapeutic phytocannabinoid that has shown to be quite helpful in balancing the Endocannabinoid system. CBD is an antagonist of both CB1 and CB2 receptors with low to moderate binding affinity for each of these receptors.  Research has shown that CBD also has a modulatory effect on the endocannabinoid system.  It can bind to the fatty acid binding proteins to reduce or slow down the degradation of FAAH to promote the reuptake of anandamide and enhance its activity.  Not only this, CBD can also interact with the 5-HTA1 serotonin receptors to boost the uptake of serotonin and stabilize mood.

THC is a partial agonist of both CB1 and CB2 receptors, but it has a strong affinity for the CB1 receptors. Research is being done to link how a controlled quantity of THC can be quite helpful in reducing pain, intraocular pressure, and insulin sensitivity. Since THC can form stronger bonds with CB1, it can cause intoxication and a long list of potential side effects. A combination of CBD and THC can cause reduced intoxication so that the patient can experience maximum health benefits of tetrahydrocannabinol. 

In addition to THC and CBD, many other phytocannabinoids including cannabichromene, cannabigerol, tetrahydrocannabivarin and Cannabidoil, could also be helpful for keeping the body at its best state. More research is required to know how these compounds can work in the body. However, we already know that all these phytocannabinoids, along with other nutrients such as terpenes, flavonoids, and healthy fatty acids work synergistically to produce the entourage effect. 

Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency 

CECD or clinical Endocannabinoid deficiency is considered to be a disease caused by the lack of endogenous cannabinoids. The concept of CECD was first introduced in 2004, and it is thought to be the potential reason behind many health conditions with no visible cause. Diseases such as migraine, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel syndrome could be because of endocannabinoids’ underproduction. Even though CBD may not be able to directly bind to the receptors but it can boost the uptake of the endocannabinoids. By inhibiting the function of FAAH, CBD can reduce the degradation of the endogenous cannabinoids, so even if the cells do not produce enough endocannabinoids, the ones already produced can serve the purpose.

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The Extraction Process using Co2 and Distillation

CBD in Switzerland is growing fast. Switzerland is becoming one of the greatest spots vis-a-vis the market for hemp in Europe. Courtesy of its numerous therapeutic benefits, CBD is now legal in various parts of the world, including Switzerland. Cannabidiol is not prohibited under Swiss narcotics legislation. The Swiss Government understands the useful effects of CBD as a potentially medicinal product. Switzerland is probably the most forward-looking country in Europe concerning the CBD usage legislation. The commercialization, use, production, or possession of CBD containing less than 1% THC is permitted within the Swiss laws.

Production of hemp products was legalized in August 2016 in Switzerland.

CO2 Extraction:

Plants produce essential oil but require advanced machinery or methods to extract it. There are many different forms of extraction, which can be divided into two distinct methods: mechanical or solvent. 

Mechanical methods do not require equipment but are still regarded as processes for extracting oil. This category includes ice water hash, rosin presses, and dry sieves. 

Solvent-based machines require a solvent-based system to remove oil.

CO2 is a high-pressure solvent. Add temperature variations, and you have a superior mechanical solvent capable of extracting specific compounds from the plant without destroying their substance. Other forms of extraction are not as accurate and may destroy flavonoids or fragrance compounds that are widely desired in a product. They are recognized as terpenes and contain many components that have proven successful in a wide range of medical issues. The combination of terpenes and all other cannabinoids in the plant produces a broad range of oil, including the known CBD oil. 

CO2 is not an explosive or volatile solvent. In fact, CO2 is the main component of fire extinguishers. The most safety equipment required by the operator is a CO2 monitor in the event of a leak. However, no special safety equipment is needed in the CO2 laboratory, as is the case in other forms of extraction.

There are four steps to extract CBD with CO2:

  1. Filling
  2. Pressurizing
  3. Extracting
  4. Recovery

To extract CBD effectively, you need a large proportion of CBD source material. Hence, hemp is a strong contender. The plant is extracted and fully dried. CO2 doesn’t do well with water – it evokes from the extract and reduces the yield. The plant is hanged or put in an oven to dry it fully.

After drying the plant, the content is lowered to a coffee-ground consistency (approximately 100 microns). This is the optimal surface size for CO2. Any smaller and there is a chance that the plant material will slip through one of the filters and contaminate the process. If the surface size is any bigger, there is a risk of channeling. It means that the CO2 will find the path of least resistance through the plant material, and not all the plant material will be exposed to the solvent.

As supercritical CO2 is utilized in the extraction of CBD, its gas properties allow it to fuse through all organic matter, while its liquid properties allow it to remove chemicals effectively. The exact method differs, and some laboratories commence extraction with liquid CO2 while others start with CO2 in gas form. 

In order to attain the supercritical state of CO2, producers add CO2 in a chamber that contains plant matter and use the same pressure and temperature required for CO2 to enter its supercritical state.

In that stage and with the help of some additional heat, CO2 acts as a solvent and allows the plant material to detach. Owing to the pressure, the CO2 transforms from gas to liquid, which is a perfect solvent. It takes up the oil in the plant as it flows through until it goes to the extraction chamber, where it passes through an orifice that depresses it and transforms it back into a gas. The oil in the flow drops out of the gas stream into the collector’s cup. The CO2 runs in a loop, passing through the content until it reaches the chosen time at which point the run stops. 

Depending on the circumstances, the operator may have to interrupt the extraction run for the oil. When finished, CO2 is isolated from organic compounds, and the producers are left with full-spectrum CBD crude.

Although it needs trained manpower and there are higher costs associated with the equipment required for supercritical CO2 extraction, it is by far the most effective and fastest method of extracting CBD. It is also environmentally sustainable due to the small amount of pollution and cleaner than the extractions that use such solvents. All Zéna CBD oil are made using the CO2 extraction method.

It is the most efficient method, CO2 is generally safe, environmentally safe, but expensive and needs qualified personnel.

Steam Distillation:

Steam distillation is a centuries-old procedure that is widely used to distill alcohol and remove essential oils from organic matter. The procedure is much less complex than the CO2 extraction of CBD. The plant matter is inserted in a distillation tank first. Through the use of water and heat, the generated steam brings oils to the top of the tank and then passes through the condenser, resulting in a mixture of water and oil. The mixture then goes through further distillation to separate water and oil, and the result is full-spectrum CBD oil. 

While this CBD extraction process is a lot easier, there are several downfalls. It is more vulnerable to error, much less effective, and can potentially harm a part of the plant’s essential oil profile. Owing to these purposes, steam distillation is rarely used to remove CBD. Although many laboratories do use some form of distillation in the process of isolating CBD from full-spectrum crude.

The Distillation Process is relatively easy to perform, with low cost, but not very efficient and consistent, and the oil is less potent.