Nature has been the key driver for medicine since it’s inception. However, western medicine prefers single compound molecules derived from plants in laboratories, not holistic whole-plant compounds that have benefited societies for millenniums. Somewhere along the way we lost the idea that Hippocrates gave us about plants: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” While man believes he can synthesize nature, it is nature in it’s most basic form that is again showing us the way.

Today cannabinoids, hemp and CBD oils are the rage for health and wellness due to their patented (by US Department of Health) benefits as antioxidants and neuroprotectants. However, like all dietary supplements, consumers must be careful when choosing a CBD product as all are not created equally.

What Is The Difference Between Full-Spectrum Whole-Plant Hemp Cannabinoids and Isolated CBD?

“Full-spectrum”, or “whole-plant” means that the company is using the entire range of dozens of cannabinoids that are naturally found in the hemp plant rather than one molecule like typical western medicine. While most people believe that they get better, more consistent and safer results from whole-plant compounds, there are several CBD companies that sell isolated CBD compounds.

While CBD and THC are the most famous compounds found in cannabis, there are over 400 different compounds found in hemp such as, terpenes, flavonoids, terpenoids and other cannabinoids. These compounds work in harmony to create a beneficial impact naturally and without side effects.

The Entourage Effect of CBD

“The Entourage Effect” terminology originated in Israel in the 1990’s to describe the theory that the collective of natural compounds in cannabis have more efficacy by working together than does any single, isolated compound from the plant.

Again, there are dozens of cannabinoids found in hemp beyond the most famous, cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), such as cannabigerol, cannabinol, cannabichromene and tetrahydrocannabivarin. Only THC is psychoactive and as such is the key differentiator between hemp and marijuana. Only trace amounts of THC are found naturally in hemp.

All mammals have what’s called an Endocannabinoid System (ECS) and we all naturally produce cannabinoids. Sometimes our bodies get deficient in cannabinoids due to genetics or environmental stresses and thus the addition of the natural, plant-based phytocannabinoids found in hemp can be of great benefit. The ECS is believed to play a key role in regulating our neurological, central nervous, and immune systems so it is logical that it can obviously impact a multitude of health related issues.

Growing the Knowledge

In 2015 Israeli scientists discovered that the single-molecule CBD did not yield consistent benefits while, whole-plant CBD worked quickly to reduce inflammation and associated discomfort. Researchers also found that a variation in dosing of whole-plant CBD products also produced results (many needed less to achieve the same benefit).

While clearly more research is necessary to prove or disprove the Entourage Effect, there is great promise in the holistic relationship of the cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes found naturally in hemp as compared to single compound molecules. Given our education and upbringing, it can be easy to dismiss nature’s ability to solve problems compared to western medicine. Fortunately, many are realizing that there is another way that is more directly related to nature and are exploring whole-plant cannabinoids.