A Non-Cannabis “Cannabis” Product
Health Rising usually doesn’t review products, but this line of products hit a sweet spot for four reasons. It was produced by Lee Know, a naturopath who was way ahead of his time when back in 2018 he wrote “Mitochondria and the Future of Medicine: The Key to Understanding Disease, Chronic Illness, Aging, and Life Itself”. I used it as a backbone for Health Rising’s treating mitochondria series.
Know has produced a series of non-cannabis terpene products that don’t include THC or CBD, don’t appear to induce tolerance – a problem I’m running into with the cannabis product I use to help with sleep, and whose effectiveness can quickly and affordably be assessed.
If anyone remembers our 2019 “Marijuana as Medicine” series, which went into in great detail about the various properties of cannabis, the medical benefits from cannabis don’t reside only in the delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC (the great pain reliever) and cannabidiol (CBD – the stress reducer and anti-inflammatory) components in the plant.
- Marijuana as Medicine for ME/CFS and/or Fibromyalgia Pt I: The Science Behind Cannabis
- Marijuana as Medicine for ME/CFS and/or Fibromyalgia Pt II: Getting Started with Cannabis
- Marijuana as Medicine for ME/CFS and FM III: Cannabis – More Than Just THC and CBD
- Marijuana as Medicine for ME/CFS and FM IV: The Doctor Speaks – Treatment #I
- Pt V: CBD Oil – A Primer for ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia
The plant is much richer than that, and over time, other medicinal factors are coming to the fore. From pinene (improves focus, counteracts THC), to linalool (calming, sleep aid), to beta-myrcene (calming, sedative effect, muscle relaxant) to terpenes (muscle relaxant, sedative, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic) and others, many parts of the cannabis plant appear to have medicinal values.
Boosting the Endocannabinoid System – and ME/CFS/FM and Long COVID?
THC and CBD impact something called the endocannabinoid system – which is our internal cannabinoid system. It turns out that humans produce their own cannabinoid products, and the endocannabinoid system they affect is wide-reaching indeed.
If Know is right about the endocannabinoid system, then boosting it might be a good idea for people with ME/CFS, FM, long COVID, and similar diseases which feature nervous system activation. The endocannabinoid system is often portrayed as a kind of master regulator – when things go out of balance, it jumps in to return them to homeostasis. When the nervous system is too active, for instance – and my experience is that it is way too active in ME/CFS/FM – Know stated that the endocannabinoid system sends a signal back down the chain telling it to calm down.
“When it sees that there’s too much nervous system signals going down the nervous system chain, it sends a signal retroactively through a retrograde signaling. It goes from the postsynaptic neuron to the presynaptic neuron to tone down that signaling and tame that overactive nervous system. Whether it’s nerve signals or things related to inflammation.”
The status of the endocannabinoid system in diseases like ME/CFS, fibromyalgia and long COVID is, however, unclear. One review of the endocannabinoid picture in fibromyalgia concluded, though, there was “evidence for alterations in the endocannabinoid system in patients with FM”.
Two receptors – CB1 and CB2 – turn the endocannabinoid system in the human body on or off. The CB1 receptors that are activated by THC – the ingredient in cannabis that provides the high – are mainly found in the brain and the central nervous system. The CB2 receptors, on the other hand, that are activated by cannabidiol (CBD and other plant factors) are mostly found in the body and do not produce a high.
(Lee’s statement – repeated several times – that products that stimulate the CB2 receptors produce “all the health benefits, but none of the high” of products that stimulate the CB1 receptors – is obviously not accurate as the two receptors work in different parts of the body. THC and the CB1 receptors they activate through are much better at relieving pain and perhaps sleep. The CB2 receptors are, however, found in just about every organ and cell in the body and thus can potentially affect inflammation more thoroughly.)
Cannanda’s Terpene Approach
Thousands of different terpenes provide the aromas we associate with different plants. (I well remember decades ago the difference between the Mexican weed (which smelled like grass) and the much, much, (much) more potent northern California weed with its pungent aroma.)
Cannanda has chosen to build its products around a specific kind of terpene, which – to get around legal issues regarding selling cannabis-derived products – is derived from botanical oils (not cannabis plants). (It’s still the same terpene).
The terpenes most often found in cannabis include limonene, pinene, myrcene, linalool, eucalyptol, beta-caryophyllene, and some others. Studies indicate that beta-caryophyllene, humulene, and pinene have anti-inflammatory effects.
Cannanda, and other companies like Copaiba, focus on beta-caryophyllene because it’s the only terpene that binds to the CB2 receptor and thus directly activates the endocannabinoid system. Because it binds more effectively to the CB2 than CBD, it’s probably a more potent activator of that system. Plus, beta-caryophyllene also activates the μ-Opioid receptor, potentially enhancing its effectiveness with pain.
While Know reports that because terpenes are essential oils that evaporate quickly, our food distribution system – which often requires shipping fruits and vegetables vast distances – can leave our food less terpene-rich.
While human studies appear to be lacking, animal and laboratory studies suggest beta-caryophyllene may be able to reduce inflammation in the brain and function as an antioxidant, reduce anxiety, relieve pain, and even improve bone density.
Another review suggested that beta-carophyllene may be able to improve mitochondrial functioning. A black pepper extract called Viphyllin™ containing 30% β-caryophyllene reduced anxiety-like behavior, brain antioxidant status, intestinal inflammation, and intestinal barrier function in an animal model.
An extensive review stated that “beta-caryophyllene may be highly effective in the treatment of long-lasting, debilitating pain states” in part because it triggers β-endorphin release which, in turn, activates the body’s opioid pain-reducing system. The article concluded:
“The data accumulated so far both in in vivo and in vitro studies show that BCP (beta-caryophyllene) is a good candidate in the treatment of chronic inflammation due to its specific molecular targets and very low toxicity.”
Know stated that the three main health conditions that people used his products for were pain, sleep issues, and anxiety. He also noted that he’s seen some incredible stories from migraine to Alzheimer’s patients. It seems that when the right biology meets the right product or approach, things can really pop.
Cannanda reports that its products “often work within the first week or two—with many users reporting it works from the very first use, almost instantly!” – meaning that one bottle will tell the tale.
Beta-caryophyllene Combination Treatments
- Beta-caryophyllenes are chemicals found in cannabis and other plants (such as black pepper) that are able to activate the endocannabinoid system in humans.
- The endocannabinoid system in humans is tasked with returning our systems to balance, or homeostasis. Among the things it purportedly can do is to calm an overactive nervous system and reduce inflammation – not a bad thing to do in people with diseases like ME/CFS, fibromyalgia, and long COVID.
- While better-known chemicals in cannabis such as cannabidiol (CBD) activate the endocannabinoid system, beta-caryophyllene is actually more effective at activating a branch of the endocannabinoid system that helps with inflammation, mood, and sleep.
- A review article concluded that, “The data accumulated so far both in in vivo and in vitro studies show that BCP (beta-caryophyllene) is a good candidate in the treatment of chronic inflammation due to its specific molecular targets and very low toxicity.”
- The Cannanda products featured in this blog are enticing because Cannanda reports that its “often work within the first week or two—with many users reporting it works from the very first use, almost instantly!” – meaning that one bottle will tell the tale (!).
- Note, though, that some studies have found that beta-caryophyllene may work better when combined with cannabidiol (CBD) or other factors such as pregnenolone (see end of blog).
- Health Rising is not affiliated with nor receives any money from the selling of Cannanda products!
The trial included beta-caryophyllene (40 mg) (inflammation and pain), pregnenolone (40 mg) (inflammation), St. John’s Wort (150 mg) (autonomic dysfunction), Boswellia serrata gum (100 mg) (inflammation), DHEA (30 mg) (HPA axis/anti-inflammatory), bromelain (416 mg) (anti-inflammatory/antiviral), quercetin (40 mg) (anti-inflammatory/immune modulator/antioxidant), zinc compound (12 mg) (preserve tissue barriers, immune functioning), vitamin D (25 ug). All nutraceuticals were taken twice a day with food. (Note that people taking serotonin-related antidepressants should not take St. John’s Wort extract.)
The study found that 88% of the participants benefited from the treatment, with most participants stating that most of their symptoms were improved, and 59% of the participants reported an overall improvement of their wellbeing.
Could beta-caryophyllene help with pain, anxiety, or sleep in ME/CFS, FM, or long COVID? I don’t know. I’ve never tried Cannanda’s products (or other brands that focus on beta-caryophyllene) but its approach using a factor found in cannabis which does not produce a high – and does not appear to produce tolerance – is intriguing.
Like the green light products that Health Rising reviewed recently, these products hit a nice sweet spot – they are readily available, are affordable, and can quickly be tested out. They might be worth a try! (Note that beta-caryophyllene might be more effective when taken with CBD, pregnenolone, or other products). If you’ve tried them, please tell us how it went.
Please note that Health Rising is not affiliated in any matter with Lee Know or Cannanda and does not receive any funding from the sales of its products.
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