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Cannabinoid Therapy to Support Overall Wellness

With much thanks to research, we are all becoming more aware of the potential benefits of various cannabinoids for debilitating conditions. Understanding these benefits has brought more individuals to Realm of Caring recently to ask: can cannabinoid therapy support my overall health and wellbeing? The short answer is that research is pointing towards cannabinoids, like CBD, as strong candidates for antioxidant, preventative, and recovery benefits.  


Let us first discuss the more well known cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is one of the many phytocannabinoids, or cannabinoids from plants, found in cannabis and hemp and has been researched for its therapeutic benefits. CBD works as a modulator of cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, for example, as well as non-cannabinoid receptors such as the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor. 


Among others, the researched therapeutic actions of CBD are as an:












Endocannabinoid Deficiency


Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CED) was first presented in 2001 by Dr. Ethan Russo and has been further explored since then. This theory helps us to gain some understanding of why various phytocannabinoids have so much therapeutic potential. Endocannabinoids, specifically the endocannabinoids AEA and 2-AG, are generated by our cell membranes and either bind or activate cannabinoid receptors within our endocannabinoid system. These endocannabinoids are involved in different physiological and pathological processes such as regulating food intake, immunomodulation, inflammation, pain, cancer, addictive behavior, seizure disorders and more. Therefore, it would seem that if the levels of the endocannabinoids, or endocannabinoid function, were decreased, then we would witness a disturbance in digestion, pain threshold, mood, sleep, and others.


The greatest evidence for clinical endocannabinoid deficiency is present with PTSD, IBS, fibromyalgia, and migraines as they have common pathophysiological trends, one being that they all display elevated incidences of anxiety and depression. Another piece of evidence seen is that, for the most part, these conditions are treatment-resistant. There may be pharmaceutical drugs available to alleviate certain associated symptoms, resulting in one taking several different medications to target the various symptoms, but not one conclusive treatment. 


Through Dr. Russo’s research and the clinical trials that have taken place and continue to take place, we have seen the ability of cannabinoid therapy to offer potential relief to the researched examples of endocannabinoid deficiency among many others. 


Just as our bodies are naturally designed to produce these endocannabinoids to maintain homeostasis, or regulate processes throughout our bodies and brains; our bodies are also naturally designed to eliminate toxins through detoxification. CBD may help enhance the body’s natural detoxification system. 


Antioxidant Benefits


Oxidative stress takes place when potentially harmful free radicals, which are atoms that may cause damage to cells, proteins, and DNA, overwhelm the body’s natural antioxidants. We consume antioxidants through foods and supplements to assist our body in the prevention of or to decrease oxidative stress. The antioxidants safely interact with the free radicals before molecules become damaged. Endogenous antioxidants you may be familiar with are vitamin e, vitamin c, beta-carotene, and zinc; which many of us find in fruits and vegetables or as supplements.


Research has shown the ability of CBD and THC to be equally successful at blocking or modulating toxic levels of glutamate. Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter that is released by nerve cells in the brain and responsible for sending signals. Glutamate plays an important role in our learning and memory, however, it can also be damaging to nerve cells and the brain as a whole. When there are abnormally high concentrations of glutamate or when the receptors are overly sensitive (meaning less glutamate is needed to excite the cell) then the cells can become over-excited leading to their damage or death, in other words, oxidative stress. 


When studied, the effects of CBD and THC on toxic glutamate levels were comparable to the industrial antioxidant known as BHT, suggesting their role as an effective antioxidant. This also shows promise for the CBD as a neuroprotectant, which leads us to preventative benefits. 


Preventative Benefits


Movement disorders, like Parkinson’s Disease, are debilitating conditions linked to oxidative stress, neurodegeneration, and inflammation. Data reviewed in several studies carried out, mostly with rodents, have pointed to the role of CBD and THC in the prevention of certain movement disorders as they appear effective for primary and secondary dystonic movements. 


The reduction of oxidative stress by CBD has further shown in research that it may prevent nephrotoxicity, or liver toxicity, in mouse models.


Cannabinoids have become a strong candidate for the prevention of several conditions. The anxiolytic effects of CBD and CBDA for example may prevent stress and anxiety, which studies have shown effects more than just that behavioral component as it may prevent abnormal increases in blood pressure and cardiac output.


As an antiemetic CBD and, possibly moreso, CBDA may prevent vomiting or nausea caused by motion sickness, but also anticipatory nausea. 


Cannabinoids have been researched to be anti-inflammatory, in fact researchers use terms such as “novel” and “potent” to describe their anti-inflammatory actions. This can have an effect on the prevention of several inflammatory conditions as well as assist our body processes in decreasing harmful inflammation, one being our immune system as cannabinoids may be able to suppress cytokine production and induce T-cell activity to help fight off infections. 


The cannabis plant not only has anti-inflammatory cannabinoids such as THC, THCA, CBD, CBDA, CBC, and CBG (to name a few) but it also contains anti-inflammatory terpenes such as caryophyllene, borneol, nerolidol, linalool, limonene, and pinene among the most popular. In addition, the other, less studied, compounds of the cannabis plant are the flavonoids that share the same mechanisms of some of these terpenes. Cannflavins A, B, and C are among some of the flavonoids with researched anti-inflammatory actions. When working together in a full-spectrum product, for example, each cannabinoid, terpene, and flavonoid may enhance each other’s actions – a concept known as the entourage effect


Recovery Benefits


Speaking of inflammation, CBD, as well as other anti-inflammatory cannabinoids may be helpful in reducing inflammation of the muscles and tissue as a part of post workout recovery, which may aid in preventing injury. The potential of alleviating the muscle inflammation may be able to enhance recovery time by decreasing muscle tension, soreness, and pain. 


When it comes to recovery, having quality sleep is very important. The first way cannabinoids may assist in improving our sleep is by mitigating the conditions that may be keeping us awake, such as pain, anxiety, and inflammation-related autoimmune disorders including arthritis, diabetes, IBS, and Crohn’s disease. All of these may have an effect on our body clock function, therefore leading to sleep disorders. 


Another way cannabinoids may assist is when we consider the actions of each. For example CBD may directly assist in aligning our circadian rhythms, one of which being the sleep-wake cycle. The actions of our endocannabinoid system appear aligned with our circadian rhythms, therefore may modulate them. CBD, being a modulating molecule, has the potential to improve our sleep wake cycles, leading to an increase in the percentage of total sleep overtime. 


THC on the other hand, has shown in studies as having an effect on mental and physical sedation as well as lessening nightmare presence and intensity in PTSD study participants. In addition, THC shares properties of our endocannabinoid known as Oleamide, which is known to benefit apneic events. 


CBN has become a popular cannabinoid when discussing sleep benefits. And while the CBN molecule itself does not show as providing sedating effects in what research is available, when it is presented in combination with THC, higher levels of drowsiness were observed. In addition, CBN, being aged THC, contains heavier terpenes that are slow to evaporate known as sesquiterpenes. These specific terpenes can be naturally more calming, such as nerolidol and caryophyllene oxide. 


Starting your cannabinoid therapy journey


If you are wondering if cannabinoid is right for you on your wellness journey, our care specialists are here to talk with you one-on-one. Reach out by calling 719-347-5400 or emailing






The Realm of Caring Foundation specifically invokes the first amendment rights of freedom of speech and of the press without prejudice. These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. the products discussed are not intended to diagnose, cure, prevent or treat any disease. Realm of Caring always recommends when and wherever possible that licensed local healthcare professionals be consulted.


The Realm of Caring Foundation is an independent nonprofit with its own governing board. We do not produce or sell cannabinoid products, nor do we receive funds from the sale of other company’s products.

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Antidepressant and Anxiolytic Effects of Medicinal Cannabis Use in an Observational Trial

Understanding RoC’s latest published research on cannabinoid therapy and anxiety/depression.


Between April 2016 and July 2020, 538 participants were enrolled in an observational research study between Realm of Caring Foundation and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Upon completion of a baseline survey, participants were invited to complete additional follow-up surveys every 3 months. 


The purpose of the study was to extend prior findings with a narrow focus on participants who reported having anxiety and/or depression. The goal was to provide insight into the effects of medicinal cannabis use for symptoms of anxiety and depression. 


About the Participants


The participants involved were those who were at least 18 years old and reported having anxiety and/or depression without a specific endorsement, as well as specific endorsements, including: major depressive disorder, postpartum depression, dysthymia, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, seasonal affective disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and agoraphobia. 


Of the 538 participants, 368 reported current use of medicinal cannabis products at the baseline. The other 170 participants, who were considering use but had not yet initiated, served as controls. Of the participants who completed the baseline survey, 211 completed at least one follow-up assessment (145 Cannabis Users and 66 Controls). 


Participants were 79% female and had a mean age of 46 years old at the baseline. The majority, at 51%, reported simultaneous diagnoses of anxiety and depression, followed by 34% reporting anxiety alone, and 15% reporting depression alone. As well, many participants, at 69%, reported a co-occurring chronic pain disorder and 36% reported use of a medication for the treatment of their anxiety and/or depression. 


Product-Type and Dosing Means


Among the 74% of participants who did know the cannabinoid content of their product(s), most reported the use of CBD-dominant products (82%), followed by THC-dominant (23%), a THC:CBD balanced ratio (7%), and minor cannabinoid products such as CBG or CBN at 5%. Most individuals who reported using a THC-dominant product were also using a CBD-dominant product. 


The mean CBD dose taken orally was 61mg daily, with a median of 30mg and range from 0.4mg to 1,050 mg. The mean THC dose taken orally was 2.1mg daily, with a median of 1mg and range from ≤0.01mg to 40.3mg. 




Cannabis Users reported lower baseline depression, significantly better past-month sleep quality, a higher overall quality of life, and lower past-month average pain compared to Controls.


Cannabis Users did not report lower baseline anxiety, however baseline Controls who had initiated cannabis use reported a significant reduction in both mean anxiety and depression scores from baseline to follow-up surveys [evaluated using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS)]. This observation was not realized among non-initiators throughout the study. A similar effect was observed among participants who sustained medicinal cannabis use throughout the study, suggesting an improvement in symptoms of anxiety and depression with both the onset of cannabis use and with extended use. The CBD doses that were used in trials that found anti-anxiety effects were greater than the average reported by participants. 


Adverse Events


In response to the survey question “How has therapeutic use of cannabis harmed the participant?,” 61% of Cannabis Users reported no perceived harm or left the answer blank. Harms that were reported on included high cost (7%), social stigma/legal issues (5%), intoxication (2%), unpleasant effects associated with inhalation (2%), impaired cognition (2%), fatigue (2%), and gastrointestinal discomfort or nausea (1%). Ten participants reported worsening symptoms of anxiety with medicinal cannabis use and one participant reported worsening symptoms of depression. 


Concluding Remarks


The study suggests that CBD-dominant cannabis use is associated with reduced depression among a sample of mostly female, caucasian adults. Though antidepressant effects of CBD are consistently reported in preclinical observations, it is recommended that the effects be evaluated further in placebo-controlled clinical trials under observation. Future research is necessary to confirm best dosing practices to achieve antidepressant and antianxiety effects. 




Antidepressant and Anxiolytic Effects of Medicinal Cannabis Use in an Observational Trial is authored by: Erin L. Martin, Justin C. Strickland, Ph.D., Nicolas J. Schlienz, Ph.D., Joel Munson, Heather Jackson, Marcel O. Bonn-Miller, Ph.D., and Ryan Vandrey, Ph.D.. 


For general inquiries, please contact or call (719) 347-5400


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Realm of Caring and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have developed the Observational Research Registry (ORR) to better understand medicinal cannabis use and its impact on key health outcomes including healthcare utilization, chronic pain, anxiety and depression, caregiver burden, epilepsy, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Our registered clients provide critical information that leads to important insights into the therapeutic capabilities of medicinal cannabis. The ORR helps us develop client educational resources and may ultimately serve to legitimize the medicinal use of cannabis.



About Realm of Caring


Realm of Caring Foundation (RoC), is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that was established by parents in 2013 to support families who were out of medical options. By creating educational resources, conducting research, and assisting families with data-rich answers to their questions, RoC continues to be a leader in the cannabinoid (cannabis/hemp) field. RoC’s no-cost Care Team has served more than 65,000 clients worldwide and supports a network of over 2,000 medical professionals. To learn more about participating or to donate to this cause, visit or call 1-888-210-3772. 

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Which Strains Are Best to Avoid The Munchies?

If  you have tried a Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) potent cannabis strain, such as Jack Herer, you may  be all too familiar with the munchies. For newbies, the munchies are extreme hunger pangs that cannabis users often experience after indulging.


Contrary to popular belief, it is now emerging that not all cannabis types cause the munchies. If you are a regular user, you can probably recall an episode where you didn’t feel quite as hungry as you usually do. In case you are wondering why this happened, it might have been the strain.


Before we get to the cannabis strains that are best to avoid the munchies, here is what you need to know about the munchies.


What Causes the Munchies?


The munchies are generally associated with high THC strains. This means that most hemp strains (less than 0.3% THC) are less likely to cause the munchies. That’s already a hint right there. In short, the munchies are linked to THC. Synthetic THC products have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of cachexia (severe wasting syndrome) in HIV, for example, and are only available with a prescription form a licensed healthcare provider.


A 2013 study that was published Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology showed that THC interacts with ghrelin,  a hormone that revs up the appetite. A different study showed that THC stimulates the olfactory nerves to heighten the olfactory senses. This makes the smell of food more appealing.


Some studies have also suggested that Cannabidiol (CBD) can offset some of the less desirable symptoms  of THC. Perhaps, hunger is one of them. Research on THC’s appetite stimulating effects are not conclusive and it could be that this cannabinoid works through different mechanisms to cause hunger.


CBD and THC are the two dominant phytocannabinoids in cannabis. While THC causes the munchies, CBD does not. Anecdotal finding and early science suggest that consuming high CBD low THC strains may help users to avoid the munchies altogether.


High CBD Strains to Avoid The Munchies


Many popular cannabis strains will have less than 1% CBD content. Therefore, strains with over 4% CBD are considered to be CBD-rich or high CBD strains. The following high CBD strains may offer a number of therapeutic benefits without causing the munchies.


1. Remedy


Remedy is a lemon-scented cannabis strain with about 14% CBD and 1% THC. This strain is non-psychoactive and known for possibly relieving stress and anxiety.




This is another anti-munchies strain with at least 14% CBD and less than 1% THC. It is a strain users choose for help managing pain and providing relaxation.


3. Lifter


As the name suggests, Lifter is an energizing strain that is packed with CBD. It has about 16% CBD with close to zero THC. A favorite among daytime users, it is non-intoxicating and a  mood enhancing strain.


4. Charlotte’s Web


This is one of the most popular high CBD strains that boasts of at least 13% CBD. Users report it may ease anxiety and may alleviate symptoms associated with childhood epilepsy.


5. Cherry Wine


This wine-scented strain has over 16% CBD and less than 1% THC. It is a choice strain for relaxation after a hard day’s work, and it will not trigger the munchies.

Other high CBD strains that may not cause the munchies include Harle-Tsu, Ringo’s gift, and Sour Tsunami.


THCV on Appetite


A different cannabinoid called Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) has apparent appetite suppressing effects. Rodent studies have shown that THCV is able to decrease appetite, increase satiety, and increase energy metabolism. This may make it instrumental in weight loss, for obesity, and the prevention of type 2 diabetes. Cannabis strains that contain high amounts of THCV are likely to suppress appetite and reduce the munchies.


High THCV Strains 


The following strains have high THCV content which means that they may have appetite suppressing effects. THCV may also offer additional benefits such as improving bone health, although more research and human data  is needed to confirm this.


6. Durban Poison


Durban Poison is an award winning cannabis strain with a high THCV content of about 1%. This sativa strain has been reported as beneficial at suppressing appetite.


7. Doug’s Varin


Doug’s Varin is known for having the highest THC: THCV ratio which is about 5:4. Being high in concentration, it is a choice strain for concentrates, tinctures, and vape pens. This strain may offer mental stimulation as well as suppress appetite. 


8.  Pink Boost Goddess


Pink Boost Goddess, is a specialized strain that is an indica-dominant hybrid, compared to most other high THCV strains that are pure sativa. This limited strain is only available in select dispensaries in California. 


9. Pineapple Purps


This strain has about 4% THCV and is popular for its energizing effects. It has a sweet and citrusy aroma.


10. Jack the Ripper


Jack the Ripper is a high THC high THCV strain. It probably has the highest amount of THCV in the market with most types having about 5% THCV and about 22% THC.


Other Ways to Avoid the Munchies


The 10 strains mentioned above, as well as other high CBD or THCV products,  may be  a good way to consume cannabis while avoiding the munchies. Additionally, there are a couple of other things that you can do to prevent feeling hungry after consuming cannabis. For example, you can eat a wholesome meal prior to indulging to ensure that you are not doing so on an empty stomach. Additionally, you can keep all food away before consuming cannabis. Remember that THC may  induce hunger by stimulating the olfactory nerves. If you can avoid the smell of food you might be able to avoid feeling hungry. Lastly, try hydrating frequently as anecdotal reports have shown that this is helpful.






The Realm of Caring Foundation specifically invokes the first amendment rights of freedom of speech and of the press without prejudice. These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. The products discussed are not intended to diagnose, cure, prevent or treat any disease. Realm of Caring always recommends when and wherever possible that licensed local healthcare professionals be consulted.


The Realm of Caring Foundation is an independent nonprofit with its own governing board. We do not produce or sell cannabinoid products, nor do we receive funds from the sale of other company’s products.

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Arthritis and Cannabinoid Therapy

Arthritis is one of the most widespread health conditions in the United States, affecting over 54 million men and women and 300,000 children. Arthritis appears in many forms, with the most common being osteoarthritis (OA), followed by rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and psoriatic arthritis. 


As of today, there is no cure for arthritis (as well as rheumatic conditions), rather recommendations for combination therapies such as increasing physical activity, weight loss, OTC pain relievers, crutches or canes, surgery, and cannabinoid therapy due to recent research. 


What is the Endocannabinoid System?  


Our Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is the largest neurotransmitter system in the body, composed of endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and metabolizing enzymes. Endocannabinoids are arguably one of the most widespread and versatile signaling molecules known to man. Two key endocannabinoids that have been identified are anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG). The endocannabinoids activate different receptors throughout the body and brain called CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are found in high levels in the brain and central nervous system; whereas CB2 receptors are found in numerous immune cells and the peripheral nervous system. Modulation and activation of the cannabinoid receptors by endocannabinoids can have various effects within the body. 


How does ECS play a role in arthritis and rheumatoid conditions? 


In a study with 32 osteoarthritis patients and 13 rheumatoid arthritis patients, it was found that cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptor protein and RNA, as well as the endocannabinoids AEA and 2-AG are present in the synovia of patients with end-stage OA and RA. This study helps to predict that the cannabinoid receptor system present in the connective tissue that lines the inside of a joint (synovium) may be an important therapeutic target for the treatment of pain and inflammation associated with both OA and RA. As was seen in this study, the endocannabinoids were present in the OA and RA patients where in healthy volunteers, those endocannabinoids were not present. 


In additional studies, the presence of cannabinoid receptors on cells of the immune system and anecdotal and historical evidence suggests that cannabis use has potent immunomodulatory effects. This has led to research directed at understanding the function and role of these receptors within the context of immunomodulating effects of cannabis in humans, animals and in vitro studies of immune cells, such as t-cells that have also provided important evidence. 


These findings have led researchers to discover the role endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids may have on inflammation and pain within the body, as well as our immune cells


Researched pain and inflammation relieving benefits of cannabinoids


Cannabinoids are commonly investigated as pain-relieving agents, but in recent years more evidence has accumulated on their potential immunomodulatory effect, supported by results in animal models of certain rheumatic diseases. While results that demonstrate the same effect in humans are lacking, cannabinoids and cannabis remain potential options to alleviate the pain associated with rheumatic diseases, as they were shown as safe and causing little to no adverse effects. 


It has also been suggested that cannabinoids have an inflammatory-modulating benefit that could offer therapeutic effects, as cannabinoids were shown to have overall anti-inflammatory effects on immune cells. These results were reinforced by studies in animal models of RA and systemic sclerosis. 


Animal models also suggest a possible therapeutic quality for cannabinoids in RA, with three studies using a rodent model with collagen-induced arthritis showing a beneficial effect of the cannabinoid CBD and synthetic cannabinoids JWH-133 and HU-308. These substances were found to be associated with clinical improvement. CBD was associated with a decrease in cytokine release and production as well as a decrease in lymphocyte proliferation. 


A study with 31 patients with RA suffering from chronic pain were given Sativex (a THC-CBD mouth spray legally prescribed in UK and mainland Europe) and 27 were given a placebo, the controlled trial showed a significant analgesic effect and disease activity suppression. Pain parameters and sleep both improved. In addition, the study found no serious adverse effects in the active treatment group. 


CBD Benefits


We know through research that CBD has a wide spectrum of biological activity, including anti-inflammatory activity. This is why its activity in the prevention and treatment of diseases whose development is associated with inflammation has been tested. Based on current research results, the potential to utilize CBD for the treatment of diabetes, arthritis, as well as cardiovascular disease, cancer, anxiety, psychosis, epilepsy, neurodegenerative diseases, and skin disease is being considered. Clinical studies have confirmed that CBD reduces the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, inhibits t-cell proliferation, induces t cell apoptosis and reduces migration and adhesion of immune cells. 


In addition, CBD creates a physiological response with several inflammatory mediator receptors within us. These are known as the PPARy, GPR, and Adenosine A2A Receptors. 


THC Benefits


The anti-inflammatory contributions of THC are also extensively studied, showing PGE-2 synthesis, decreased platelet aggregation, and stimulation of lipoxygenase, all actions related to reducing inflammation. THC has 20 times the anti-inflammatory potency of aspirin and twice that of hydrocortisone. 


Benefits of minor cannabinoids and terpenes 


Other minor cannabinoids in the cannabis plant may also contribute to anti-inflammatory activity. cannabichromene (CBC) was studied with mice, showing that it helped to increase intestinal motility by lessening intestinal inflammation. 


Animal studies have also shown Cannabigerol (CBG) to reduce the effects of inflammatory-related conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease. CBG has also been shown to have potent pain relieving abilities. 


The terpenes in cannabis additionally show analgesic and anti-inflammatory attributes. Myrcene is analgesic and blocks inflammation. The sesquiterpene, B-caryophyllene, also shows promising anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. 


If you are seeking data-driven answers to your questions about this cannabinoid therapy and arthritis, Realm of Caring (RoC) can help. RoC has 8 years of collected data and research based on individuals utilizing plant-based therapies. They can guide you through product selection, dosing and administration, how to talk with your doctor, and the results individuals are realizing.


The research that has been completed suggests the benefit of cannabinoid therapy for arthritis and rheumatic conditions. Clinical trials and anecdotal evidence helps to point towards starting amounts and methods of administration, particularly for CBD and THC. However, to fully understand the utility of minor cannabinoids mentioned, human data is still necessary.


The RoC Care Team is here to assist. They care a lot about helping you to find success. Reach them by calling (719) 347-5400, emailing, or by scheduling an appointment.






The Realm of Caring Foundation specifically invokes the first amendment rights of freedom of speech and of the press without prejudice. These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. the products discussed are not intended to diagnose, cure, prevent or treat any disease. Realm of Caring always recommends when and wherever possible that licensed local healthcare professionals be consulted.


The Realm of Caring Foundation is an independent nonprofit with its own governing board. We do not produce or sell cannabinoid products, nor do we receive funds from the sale of other company’s products.

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Understanding CBN

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Getting to Know CBDA

Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) is one of three cannabinoid precursor compounds converted from Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA). CBGA also converts to the precursor compounds Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and Cannabichromenic acid (CBCA) or may convert to it’s non-acidic form, Cannabigerol (CBG). 


The cannabis plant produces cannabinoids as prenylated aromatic carboxylic acids, which are converted to their more neutral forms by way of heat, light, or aging. When decarboxylation occurs, by exposing the cannabis plant to either heat or light, CBDA may convert to CBD. 


Research has shown that CBDA may be more potent than CBD, although not as stable of a molecule. Given that CBDA and THCA simply decompose when exposed to light or heat means that they can very easily change from their state. However, chemists have discovered ways to stabilize CBDA so that we may take advantage of this cannabinoid’s potential benefits as an anti-inflammatory, antiemetic, anticonvulsant, and anticancer. 




CBDA inhibits the COX-2 Enzyme. These enzymes are associated with inflammation after injury or infection. Therefore, by blocking COX-2 Enzymes, CBDA may relieve inflammation and associated pain. In a rodent study, equivalent amounts of CBD and CBDA were administered to test efficiency in reducing hyperalgesia. The low amount of CBD was not efficient in reducing this increased sensitivity to pain when exposed to normal stimuli. The CBDA, on the other hand, did reduce hyperalgesia at that same low amount. In the same study, amounts of THC and CBDA so low that they were deemed “ineffective” were administered. When these ineffective, low amounts were combined it was shown in the animal models to have anti-inflammatory and anti-hyperalgesia effects on acute inflammation. 




CBDA affects 5-HT1A Serotonin receptors by enhancing their activation. This action shows promise for CBDA as an antiemetic (anti-nausea).


In studies carried out with rodents, the ability of CBDA to inhibit vomiting induced by toxins or from movement was examined. CBDA appeared to reduce involuntary vomiting and simultaneously delay the onset of nausea and vomiting in response to movement. The effects were more powerful than what was observed with CBD because of the ability of CBDA to enhance 5-HT1A receptor activation. 


In addition to discovering these potential benefits, there is also promise for the prevention of anticipatory nausea. Anticipatory nausea is conditioned or psychological nausea, often provoked by a reminder of something that leads to vomiting. An individual going through chemotherapy treatments may experience this, showing further promise as an alternative option to those who are sensitive to the euphoric effects of THC. 




CBDA is among other minor cannabinoids in cannabis sativa extracts being researched for its anticonvulsant effects in childhood epilepsies, including Dravet Syndrome. This is because there are various epilepsy-relevant receptors that CBDA may interact with, including 5-HT1A, GPR55, and TRPV1.


CBDA has shown to be anticonvulsant against hyperthermia-induced seizures in rodents. Children with Dravet Syndrome often exhibit seizures that are provoked by fever, suggesting that CBDA may benefit those who suffer from this epilepsy type. These reports are consistent with a report showing CBDA as anticonvulsant against pentylenetetrazole-induced seizures; which can be described as general seizures that are chemically induced. 




When it comes to cancer models, the anticancer activity of CBDA was investigated on acute lymphocytic leukemia, promyelocytic leukemia cells, and human prostate carcinoma androgen receptor positive cells. CBDA was found to be less active than CBD for all of these, until tested towards MDA-MB-231 cells, a highly aggressive triple negative breast cancer. CBDA was found to inhibit breast cancer cell migration. 


Although there is much promise for the therapeutic potentials of CBDA, it is still considered an understudied compound. Further studies carried out, beyond what preliminary research and anecdotal data is available, is necessary to deepen our knowledge of the possible uses and efficacy. Through a greater understanding we may also be aware of any adverse effects and how to administer so that therapy is most effective. 





The Realm of Caring Foundation specifically invokes the first amendment rights of freedom of speech and of the press without prejudice. These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. The products discussed are not intended to diagnose, cure, prevent or treat any disease. Realm of Caring always recommends when and wherever possible that licensed local healthcare professionals be consulted.


The Realm of Caring Foundation is an independent nonprofit with its own governing board. We do not produce or sell cannabinoid products, nor do we receive funds from the sale of other company’s products.

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How Cannabis Affects Dopamine

As more states move to legalize cannabis, increasingly more people are warming up to cannabinoid-based therapies. At the same time, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is gaining considerable interest in mental health. This is causing mixed reactions, with some questioning the long-term effects of cannabis use.


Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that mediates the feeling of pleasure, motivation, and satisfaction in the brain. The release of dopamine motivates one to pursue a pleasurable activity or occupation. A dopamine surge is what makes you feel good after achieving something significant. The right balance of dopamine is vital for both physical and mental wellbeing.


THC is a major cannabinoid of the cannabis plant with clear intoxicating effects. It binds to the CB1 receptor in the brain to elicit its psychoactive properties.


Anandamide, also known as the bliss molecule, is an endogenous cannabinoid that also binds the CB1 receptor. It is not surprising that both anandamide and THC are associated with a feeling of happiness and satisfaction. However, anandamide, unlike THC, is quickly broken down by enzymes and taken out of circulation. 



What’s the Link Between Cannabis and Dopamine?


The endocannabinoid system modulates the dopaminergic system through CB1 receptors and endocannabinoids. 


Endocannabinoids stimulate the release of dopamine. Certain CB1 antagonists can block this effect, demonstrating that CB1 receptors are involved in the dopaminergic effects of cannabinoids.


The link between cannabis and dopamine has to be the CB1 receptors (part of the endocannabinoid system). 


There is evidence of varying effects of acute vs. chronic THC exposure on the dopaminergic system.



Acute Vs. Long-term Cannabis Use


Animal studies have described the interactions that exist between amphetamine (promote dopamine release) and THC. These preliminary studies have demonstrated that the dose of THC consumed potentiates or antagonizes the effects of amphetamines. The researchers in this study proposed that dopamine is “a prime candidate for…the mode of action of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol”. 


Acute versus longer-term use of THC could have complex effects on dopamine synthesis and release.  While early studies with rodents show that low doses of THC increased dopamine synthesis and release, some studies show high doses of THC resulting in decreased dopamine synthesis. 


The results from human studies have not been consistent, however there is evidence that there may be reduced dopaminergic function among cannabis users. 


Indeed, THC has profound effects on the dopamine system, contributing to its recreational and harmful effects. Unfortunately, there are no randomized human trials that have been carried out to investigate this phenomenon. Additionally, inconsistencies between preclinical and clinical findings pose a significant challenge. One major inconsistency between animal and human studies is that THC, even in acute studies, was not administered to humans in the habitual manner in which it was typically consumed. 



The Crux of the Matter


THC’s rewarding properties are triggered by the firing of dopaminergic neurons and the release of dopamine in lower doses. Interactions with the CB1 receptors underpin this process.


Evidence suggests that acute vs. chronic THC exposure to the dopaminergic system will produce different effects; that is the crux of the matter.


Acute exposure to THC may cause increased dopamine release, which is associated with a feeling of pleasure.


On the other hand, chronic or long-term exposure to THC has been linked to blunting of the dopamine system. 


While acute exposure to THC may increase a sense of reward and satisfaction, long-term exposure may produce opposite effects. However, the premise of this argument is based on inconclusive, preliminary evidence. Future studies will shed more light on how cannabis affects dopamine over time.




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How Cannabis Concentrates Are Made

At the turn of the century, cannabis enthusiasts began noticing a steep shift in the market. Regular users started smoking less and dabbing more- heating oily extracts to inhale high concentrations of cannabis. These extracts varied from shatter to wax to batter to dabs and honey. Not only were they more potent, but they were also a cleaner and a more convenient way to consume cannabis. This heralded the beginning of a new era.


At the start, cannabis extracts were made using highly flammable hydrocarbons right in their backyards and garages. This was a precarious affair with consequences of explosive proportions, quite literally.


In recent times, the technology of extracting cannabis has grown in leaps and bounds, and we will take you through each of them in great detail.



What Are The Popular Methods of Cannabis Extraction?


When it comes to cannabis extraction, two main methods exist.


Solvent-based extraction: In this method, solvents are added to the plant material to dissolve the resin, which is the concentrated part of the cannabis plant containing the cannabinoids and terpenes. The solvent is then removed, leaving behind extracts such as shatter, vape oil, or wax.


This method yields what is known as a cannabis extract.


Mechanical or solventless extraction: Mechanical or solventless extraction methods do not use solvents. Instead, the resin is pressed, beaten, or rubbed out of the plant, resulting in kief, rosin, or hash.


This method yields what is known as a cannabis concentrate.  



Solvents Used to Make Cannabis Extracts


As discussed earlier, the solvent-based extraction method has been used for quite a long while now.


Let us look in detail at how these solvents work.


Hydrocarbons (Butane, Propane, Hexane, etc.)


Hydrocarbons are used to make butane hash oils (BHO) which includes budder, sauce, wax, shatter, and crumble among others.


Because hydrocarbons are highly flammable, a closed loop system of extraction should be used.


The process of extracting cannabis can be either open-looped or closed-looped. Open-loop systems have exposure to the external environment. When flammable compounds are present, open loop systems can easily cause a fire accident.


Closed-loop systems, on the other hand, are safer but more expensive to implement. Securing the equipment could cost upwards of $30,000 for an average-sized model.


It is also a requirement for manufactures using hydrocarbons to blast-proof the premises. The cost of blast proofing a room could be around $100,000.


CO2 (Supercritical CO2 Extraction)


Supercritical CO2 extraction uses CO2 to separate the different compounds from the cannabis plant material.


The carbon dioxide is subjected to supercritical conditions that causes it to fluctuate between a gas, liquid, and solid-state. It is then passed through the cannabis plant material in a closed loop system to extract the compounds and then the CO2 is evaporated. Because CO2 is a green gas, the extract produced through this method is relatively safe.




Ethanol is a popular solvent used to make super-concentrated Rick Simpson Oil.  It follows the same principle used in creating BHO. With ethanol, the solvent is dripped over the flowers and buds of the cannabis plant, which dissolves these compounds. The next step is to eliminate the solvent and remain with the cannabis extract.


However, ethanol has a higher polarity than butane. This means that it extracts impurities such as chlorophyll, which may affect the quality of the final extract.



Non-Solvent-Based Methods for Making Cannabis Concentrates


Solventless extraction is often used when creating concentrates for medicinal use. This is because the concentrates produced through this method are relatively safer.


Shaking, Sifting, and Dry Sifting-Used to Make Kief


Kief, a type of cannabis concentrate, can be made using different mechanical techniques. 


One technique that has stood the test of time and is exceptionally safe is the use of a mesh. The cannabis plant material is passed through a mesh and the kief collects at the bottom. The kief is then graded based on the level of purity.


Ice Water Extraction


Bubble hash is a popular cannabis extract that is made using kief that has been Ice Water Extracted. It is the brainchild of Neville Schoenmakers, founder of the first Cannabis Seed Bank.


In this method, the cannabis is placed in a simple jar or bubbleator with water and ice and agitated. The resin is separated by the mechanical force and it is collected. Because it uses water, this method is considered to be one of the safest and cleanest ways of making a pure, high-quality hash that has no impurities. It is also a pretty wholesome method of extraction that leaves you with most of the cannabinoids intact.


Heat and Pressure (Rosin Press)


Rosin is a viscous sap whose appearance can range from clear to very dark, and it can be used in its extracted form or as a base for cannabis edibles. Both a rosin press and a rosin bag use pressure and heat to force the trichomes out of the cannabis leaves and buds.



Types of Cannabis Extracts & Concentrates




A runny consistency characterizes wax or budder. These oils are opaque and gooey rather than being hard. It is also easy to roll them onto “a pin and dab,” but they tend to stick to the sides of the packaging container.


Pie Crust/Honeycomb


This is a form of wax/budder which is generally crumbly and brittle. It is, however, softer than shatter. Pie Crust is easier to get out of a jar but is very prone to crumbling.




Shatter is an impressively pure cannabis concentrate that is very brittle and translucent, much like glass candy.  It is mainly extracted using hydrocarbon solvents such as butane and or propane, making it a particularly potent substance.


Caviar/Jelly Hash


Caviar, also known as moonrocks, are a recent fad in the cannabis scene. Making them involves coating cannabis buds with very high-quality resin, which are then rolled in kief.


Caviar doesn’t always have to be rolled in kief, a resin coat may just suffice.






Cannabis extraction is just in its formative stages. With time, we expect to witness the creation of more efficient and purer methods geared towards the production of medicinal cannabis extracts. We hope that through this article, we have helped you understand how cannabis concentrates are made. Feel free to let us know if we left out anything.




About Realm of Caring

Realm of Caring Foundation (RoC), is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that was established by parents in 2013 to support families who were out of medical options. By creating educational resources, conducting research, and assisting families with data-rich answers to their questions, RoC continues to be a leader in the cannabinoid (cannabis/hemp) field. RoC’s no-cost Care Team has served more than 65,000 clients worldwide and supports a network of over 2,000 medical professionals. To learn more about participating or to donate to this cause, visit or call 1-888-210-3772.

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