The Cannabinoids And Their Peer-Reviewed Benefits And Risks – Mark T. Hamann, PHD

The Cannabis Sativa Plant.

The hemp or Cannabis sativa plant has been used in traditional medicine and religious ceremonies since the beginning of recorded history. The Native Americans used the plant as a stimulant to promote the recovery from a number of diseases and ailments. These early stains of hemp were not selected yet for THC production, which only occurred in the last half century, and as a result the recorded benefits of Cannabis by the Native Americans would have been at least in part due to CBD content. While Cannabis is not a native to North America the time of introduction to Native American culture and medicine is uncertain. Some speculate that hemp seed was introduced to the Americas by Christopher Columbus and others speculate that based on the presence of hemp fiber in garments that predate Columbus’ arrival, hemp seed may have arrived with the first Native Americans some 15,000 years ago. Regardless of the time of introduction to the Americas the application of Cannabis was among the documented thousands of unique plants used in Native American medicine.

Super-Critical Fluid (SCF) Processing.

Super-critical fluids involve a process in which a gas is compressed to a unique physical state which has both gas-like and liquid-like properties. In a super-critical state the fluid has exceptionally strong solvent strength and his highly effective at removing organic small molecules from the biomass. Both SCF butane and carbon dioxide are used in the extraction of Cannabis sp, however; due to the retention of a trace of solvent in the extract carbon dioxide is superior as it is completely benign in trace amounts. The use of SCF technologies provides a superior product as no heat is require to remove the solvent.(Elkins, Deseo et al. 2019) The cannabinoids as well as the Omega-3 acids found in hemp are easily oxidized causing the oil to go rancid during processing if heat is used to remove solvent. Hemp and cannabis oil is like any other highly unsaturated vegetable oil and without careful attention to processing can very easily become rancid due to accelerated oxidation. Thus the application of SCF processing is the best method available to provide the highest quality product achievable. If a better processing technology was available we would use it. You can see, taste and smell the difference that SCF processing technologies make in the quality of the hemp products. Our all hemp products are clear, nearly colorless and very pleasant in regard to odor and taste. This is the way any fresh vegetable oil including hemp should smell and taste. If the hemp product you are using smells or tastes bitter or rancid it has gone rancid just like any other high quality vegetable or olive oil.

Cannabidiol (CBD).

The cannabinoids are part of a relatively rare group of molecules known as the biphenyls. In the case of cannabinol (CBN), which has been shown to possess significant activity as peripheral analgesics(Wong and Cairns 2019) the biphenyl is linked further by a pyran system. Currently we use about 40,000 tons of biphenyls produced from petroleum for the control of fungi, bacteria and hypertension. An important value of hemp is that it allows use to replace these petroleum based products with renewable plant based materials. Cannabidiol (CBD) contains a reduced from of a biphenyl system in which one ring is not yet aromatized. Thus far there have been about 150 cannabinoids reported and about 500 phytochemicals in total characterized to date from Cannabis or hemp. To date there are 27,995 publication in describing the chemistry, biology and pharmacology of the cannabinoids, with a large share of these focused on CBD.

CBD And Pain

Pain is a complex disease with a number of potential pharmacologic interventions. While the cannabinoids have not been approved by the FDA for the control of pain there have been numerous preclinical and clinical studies to help understand the potential for CBD to control certain types of pain. A review of cannabinoids and chronic pain (Romero-Sandoval, Kolano et al. 2017) showed improvements in some aspects of chronic pain including sleep, general quality of life and some forms of cancer chronic pain, however; postoperative, abdominal and rheumatoid pain does not seem to be impacted by the cannabinoids. Thus the cannabinoids may not be universally effective in the control of pain it is noteworthy that aiding in sleep, improving quality of life and controlling cancer related pains are not trivial. It is also noteworthy that in animal models CBD and CBN where shown to reduce myofascial pain without any evidence of the psychotropic effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)(Wong and Cairns 2019). One important application that remains to be investigated is the value of CBD and CBN in combination with other pain controls.

CBD And Inflammation

Although the FDA has yet to approve CBD as an anti-inflammatory agent there is a growing volume of data in animals and human clinical trials for the potential benefits suggesting that approval at some point in the future seems highly likely. Osteoarthritis (OA). OA is a multifactorial disease involving inflammation, joint degeneration and peripheral neuropathy. In a study in rats the prophylactic treatment with CBD prevented the development of pain and nerve damage in OA joints. These studies suggest that CBD may be a safe treatment for OA induced neuropathic pain.(Philpott, OʼBrien et al. 2017). This is significant as the CDC indicates 32.5 million American suffer from OA and an individual over the age of 60 suffers from at least some degree of OA.


  1. Elkins, A. C., M. A. Deseo, S. Rochfort, V. Ezernieks and G. Spangenberg (2019). “Development of a validated method for the qualitative and quantitative analysis of cannabinoids in plant biomass and medicinal cannabis resin extracts obtained by super-critical fluid extraction.” J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci 1109: 76-83.
  2. Philpott, H. T., M. OʼBrien and J. J. McDougall (2017). “Attenuation of early phase inflammation by cannabidiol prevents pain and nerve damage in rat osteoarthritis.” Pain 158(12): 2442-2451.
  3. Romero-Sandoval, E. A., A. L. Kolano and P. A. Alvarado-Vázquez (2017). “Cannabis and Cannabinoids for Chronic Pain.” Curr Rheumatol Rep 19(11): 67.
  4. Wong, H. and B. E. Cairns (2019). “Cannabidiol, cannabinol and their combinations act as peripheral analgesics in a rat model of myofascial pain.” Arch Oral Biol 104: 33-39.
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