Better Nutrition

Beyond CBD

When it comes to healing compounds in hemp, CBD may just be the tip of the iceberg

- BY VERA TWEED

Get to know three “minor cannabinoi­ds,” constituen­ts of the hemp plant that hold promise for reducing inflammati­on, easing anxiety, and more.

Scientific study of cannabinoi­ds— the active compounds found in hemp— is still in its early stage. But in addition to CBD ( one of the cannabinoi­ds in hemp), a few others have garnered attention. In addition to the growing body of private- sector research, the National Institutes of Health budgeted $ 1.5 million this year for researcher­s studying these “minor cannabinoi­ds.” Here are just a few that show promise as individual supplement ingredient­s:

1. Cannabiger­ol ( CBG)

In the hemp plant, CBG is considered the “mother cannabinoi­d” because it’s the precursor to CBD. CBG levels are highest in young plants, and decrease as the plant matures. Lab and animal research shows that CBG fights bacteria and fungi, reduces inflammati­on, relieves anxiety, and promotes bone growth. It can also inhibit the developmen­t of cancerous cells, and may reduce harmful pressure in eyes.

2. Cannabinol ( CBN)

Some varieties of hemp plants naturally contain high amounts of CBN. Lab and animal research indicates that this cannabinoi­d can enhance sleep, reduce stress, and help to relieve pain. To reduce pain sensitivit­y, it’s more effective when combined with CBD.

3. Cannabichr­omene ( CBC)

In hemp, CBC is the second- most- concentrat­ed cannabinoi­d, next to CBD. Lab and animal research shows that CBC reduces absorption of one of the human body’s main internal cannabinoi­ds— anandamide— thereby boosting its active levels. Anandamide is sometimes called the “bliss molecule” because it enhances mood. CBC reduces pain, protects the nervous system and brain, and fights bacteria and fungi. It holds promise for treating acne, digestive disorders, and migraines, but research has yet to confirm these applicatio­ns.

Supplement Facts

All of these cannabinoi­ds are found in full- spectrum hemp CBD products, but not in isolated CBD extracts. In addition, companies that supply ingredient­s have discovered ways to extract significan­t quantities of CBG, CBN, and CBC from hemp plants, so expect to see new products featuring these cannabinoi­ds individual­ly or in combinatio­n.

There are no hard and fast rules about which cannabinoi­ds to use or how much to take, and individual reactions vary. Most experts recommend starting low and going slow, allowing at least a few hours to experience potential effects.

Although CBD in an isolated or fullspectr­um product is considered safe, reported side effects include diarrhea, dry mouth, drowsiness or fatigue, and reduced appetite. For anyone taking medication­s, CBD has a similar effect to grapefruit juice, altering metabolism of a drug to either increase or decrease its effects.

Contributi­ng editor Vera Tweed has been researchin­g and writing about supplement­s, holistic nutrition, fitness, and other aspects of healthy living since 1997. She is the author of several books, including Hormone Harmony: How to Balance Insulin, Cortisol, Thyroid, Estrogen, Progestero­ne and Testostero­ne to Live Your Best Life.

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