Be it leafy greens, sweet fruits, or aromatic herbs, If you remember learning anything about the food pyramid in school, you know you don’t have to be a health guru to know how they help you achieve optimal health. However, what many don’t know is that all plant life -- including cannabis -- contains a number of essential nutrients that can do the body a whole lot of good. Think raw, cold-pressed juice. There are many different juices available, however, in order to reap the benefits in full, you might opt to purchase that one that provides a healthy serving of whole fruits and veggies -- the same can be said for whole-plant hemp extracts.
Most hemp extracts are typically "filtered” to make for a cleaner looking product, but strip away all of the benefits cannabis has to offer. Whole-plant extracts, on the other hand, are mainly formulated to provide a full range of other health-giving compounds including flavonoids, proteins, terpenes, key vitamins, fatty acids, enzymes, minor cannabinoids, and other plant materials -- all of which, according to science, provides an even greater therapeutic effect. For those who aren’t well-schooled, in this article, we discuss the power of whole-plant cannabis flower.
The Medical World Acknowledges Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)
A whole-plant extract that has garnered the attention of the medical sector for quite some now is what’s known as, Rick Simpson Oil (RSO). RSO gives its consumers the added qualities of the THC along with other cannabinoids.
In 1997, an engineer named Rick Simpson worked in a poorly ventilated boiler room full of asbestos and other harsh chemicals, which caused him to suffer from dizzy spells, nervous shock, and skin cancer. While he did receive medical attention, his ailment continued to plague him so he began to seek out medical marijuana for relief -- and it worked. Having heard of the benefits of the cannabis plant for a cancer diagnosis, in 2003 Rick was able to extract its elements, turn them into oil and apply it to areas of his skin affected by cancer. After keeping the bandage on for only four days, the cancerous spots had disappeared.
Rick then began growing his own cannabis plants so that he could extract the medically beneficial parts, pioneering one of the first ever cannabis extracts, known as RSO. At the very least, his oil has served to provide relief from pain for a lot of people with various painful ailments. THC in combination with other chemical compounds in cannabis, specifically the cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) has been shown to help with cancer-related pain and illicit hippocampal-dependent memory impairment. This combination has also shown in a study conducted at the California Pacific Medical Center of San Francisco to produce potent anti-tumor effects on patients with brain cancer and breast cancer.
The Gospel of Whole Plant Extracts -- Because the Difference Matters
The truth is, CBD works a little better with the rest of the plant: terpenes, flavonoids, etc including THC. With cannabis, specifically hemp and CBD heavy strains, whole-plant extracts — completely raw and without the removal of not a single chemical compound — conveys therapeutic benefits without causing dysphoric or euphoric effects. This is quite different when we think about the drive of creating drugs with a single active ingredient by the greater pharmaceutical industry. Where medicine is typically created by isolating one active ingredient, RSO combines multiple compounds to increase therapeutic effects in the body.
The appearance of RSO might not look like what you imagine. Because it’s a whole plant extract, it takes on a deep dark green color, almost like very dark green juice. Yet, despite its appearance, RSO provides all of the necessary bioactive components for producing a synergistic effect in the body -- we’ll explain more on that later. As for non-whole-plant extracts such as broad-spectrum or isolates, once refined, they typically come out in powder form or are far lighter in color. But be not mistaken, a clean-looking appearance doesn’t necessarily mean better.
Like the above-mentioned raw juice example, there is a number of juices that utilize advertising, artificial flavors, and other ingredients to add to their appeal. Although they may appear “healthy”, these beverages come without many of the nutrients found in whole fruits and veggies, which typically get removed during the extraction process — again, the same can be said for whole plant extracts. If you’ve got all of that, you might be wondering then, what are the differences between full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolates in CBD?
Isolates are made nearly entirely a pure extract. In essence, they only contain one particular cannabinoid and no other. As such, you won't get any other cannabinoid -- more specifically, they won’t contain THC, CBN, CGB, etc. The only drawback of isolates is that they will not be able to provide you the full benefits of cannabis, therefore, you will not have the benefit of the "entourage effect".
You can think of broad-spectrum as a little bit of both isolate and full-spectrum. The biggest advantage of broad-spectrum is that it is still able to offer the entourage effect that full-spectrum provides but without the chance of THC being ingested. However, broad-spectrum extracts typically undergo an extensive extraction process for further refining, which causes significant loss of terpenes and cannabinoids compared to full spectrum.
Full-spectrum contains all cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, including THC, among other wellness-promoting chemical compounds. Unlike isolates or broad-spectrum distillates, studies have shown full-spectrum products to be more effective due to what scientists refer to as the "entourage effect" -- what occurs when all the cannabis compounds act synergistically to create an enhanced therapeutic effect in the body. In other words, when these compounds interact with the body, they can work to create an even stronger effect than they would on their own.
THC: The TLC for Your CBD
Along with Simpson’s cultivation of his own, this health-giving oil has inspired many others in the industry to create new products that serve to help the industry evolve and people heal. And as science proceeds, so too will the evolution of the industry for creating new products with even more of the benefits that showcase the medicinal value of whole plant therapeutics.
Curious and want to experience the chemical synergy of whole-plant extracts? If so, we’ve had the pleasure of developing a proprietary blend of our own version of RSO with the mission to further promote the use of the whole cannabis plant. Containing over 100 effective cannabinoids, our CBDRx blend is a 100% organic, full-spectrum oil that comes with 0.06% THC so you can reap all of the benefits of the entourage effect, without the bull.