Cannabis Tolerance: An Expensive Nemesis

Cannabis Tolerance: An Expensive Nemesis

Ask any regular user of cannabis and they’ll tell you that they just don’t get as high as they used to, despite using an ever increasing amount of cannabis. Welcome to the world of cannabis tolerance, where the highs are lower and medicinal effects are blunted.


To help us understand what this phenomenon is and how to combat it, let’s start with the basics. First, let it be known that tolerance develops to many therapeutic compounds, not just cannabis. We see this with all sorts of things, from over-the-counter pain-killers to opioids, and coffee to alcohol. It’s a common response by the body and can be beneficial or detrimental, depending on the substance and the circumstances.


By definition, tolerance, is a state of adaptation in which exposure to the drug causes changes within the body, which result in a diminution of one or more of the drug’s effects over time[i].


Tolerance to many of the effects of cannabis can start to develop only after a few doses[ii], and studies conducted in normal subjects have shown tolerance develops to the effects of cannabis on mood, intra-ocular pressure, sleep, psychomotor performance, nausea, and the cardiovascular system.


There are two distinct ways tolerance develops in individuals: pharmacodynamic tolerance (which occurs at the cellular level), and pharmacokinetic tolerance (which develops at the tissue or organ level). Both these types will develop simultaneously in all individuals, but one will usually dominate.


Pharmacodynamic tolerance


A number of pre-clinical studies suggest that cannabis tolerance of the pharmacodynamic type is mostly linked to changes in the availability of the CB1 cannabinoid receptors to activation. There are two independent (but interrelated) molecular pathways producing these changes. First is receptor desensitization, which is where we see uncoupling of the receptor from the downstream signal events within the cell. Second, is receptor down-regulation, which results from the internalization and/or degradation of the receptor[iii].


To complicate the picture, within the brain, tolerance appears to vary according to different regions, which suggests cellular and tissue-specific mechanisms that regulate desensitization/down-regulation[iv]. This likely occurs in other tissues and organs as well, helping to explain why tolerance develops to some of the effects of cannabis and cannabinoids but not others, and why the clinical presentation of tolerance will vary from person to person.


In situations where cannabis tolerance has developed primarily through the pharmacodynamic pathway, a “tolerance break” is likely needed to help reset the body’s response. When executed properly, a tolerance break lasts two to four weeks, and requires abstinence during that time. This timeframe makes sense as it correlates with the elimination of THC from the body following daily use.


Pharmacokinetic tolerance


Cannabis tolerance of the pharmacokinetic type has also been reported[v]. As mentioned, this occurs at the organ/tissue level and includes changes in absorption (the body up-regulates certain enzymes that prevent absorption), biotransformation (the alteration of cannabinoids by the body, or by microbes in our digestive tract when cannabinoids are ingested), distribution (where within the body cannabinoids are sent to), and excretion (the body up-regulates enzymes related to the breakdown and elimination of cannabinoids).


In many cases, the natural tendency in most cases of tolerance is to use ever-increasing doses. Slowly over time, many users find themselves using greater and greater quantities, or products with stronger potencies. However, this can be a very costly situation for those who don’t grow their own medicine. In a clinical setting, it appears tolerance to the effects of cannabinoids can potentially be minimized by combining lower doses of cannabis or cannabinoids along with one or more additional therapeutic agents[vi]. There are products on the market that specifically target pharmacokinetic tolerance (e.g., Enhanced EffectTM by Cannanda) that work by improving absorption of cannabinoids and help to saturate receptors. Alternatively, a tolerance break would also be very effective in cases of pharmacokinetic tolerance.


Variability of Tolerance


As previously mentioned, the dynamics of tolerance vary with respect to the different effects; tolerance to some of the effects develops more readily and rapidly than to others[vii]. For example, a study of chronic daily cannabis smokers reported regionally-selective down-regulation of brain cannabinoid CB1 receptors[viii]. This finding helps explain the results from another previously published study that showed subjects who were frequent users of cannabis displayed blunted responses to many of the typical effects of THC. While THC can cause—or increase the risk of—cognitive impairments, psychotomimetic tendencies, altered perceptions, anxiety, and increased cortisol levels (compared to controls), frequent cannabis users experienced these to a far lesser degree. Interestingly, however, tolerance did not develop to THC’s euphoric effects[ix]. Similarly, another study reported that tolerance to some of the effects of cannabis, including tolerance to the “high,” but not to the appetite-stimulating effect[x].




So if you’re a regular user of cannabis, you can bet that you’re experiencing some degree of tolerance. Further, your tolerance will develop differently than your friends or family members, and how you each experience tolerance will vary. Whether you decide to overcome tolerance by taking a tolerance break, or by using Enhanced EffectTM, it’s all an individual journey. Experiment with different approaches until you find what works best with your body and physiology, and get back to receiving the full benefits of cannabis once again.




Lee Know is a licensed naturopathic doctor, the recipient of several awards, and the author of Mitochondria and the Future of Medicine (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2018). He has previously held positions as a medical advisor, scientific evaluator, and director of research and development for major organizations, and currently leads Scientific Affairs for Cannanda.


Disclaimer: The information in this article is for educational purposes only, and not to be construed as medical advice. It is not meant to diagnose, or in any way replace qualified medical supervision. For diagnosing or treating any medical condition, consult with your health care provider.


[i] Lynch, M. E. and Watson, C. P. (2006). The pharmacotherapy of chronic pain: a review. Pain Res.Manag. 11: 11-38.

[ii] Institute of Medicine. First, do no harm: consequences of marijuana use and abuse. Marijuana and medicine: Assessing the science base. Joy, J. E., Watson, S. J., and Benson, J. A. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1999.

[iii] Wu, D. F., Yang, L. Q., Goschke, A., Stumm, R. and others. (2008). Role of receptor internalization in the agonist-induced desensitization of cannabinoid type 1 receptors. J.Neurochem. 104: 1132-1143.

[iv] Gonzalez, S., Cebeira, M., and Fernandez-Ruiz, J. (2005). Cannabinoid tolerance and dependence: a review of studies in laboratory animals. Pharmacol.Biochem.Behav. 81: 300-318.

[v] Maldonado, R. (2002). Study of cannabinoid dependence in animals. Pharmacol.Ther. 95: 153-164.

[vi] Pertwee, R. G. (2009). Emerging strategies for exploiting cannabinoid receptor agonists as medicines. Br.J.Pharmacol. 156: 397-411.

[vii] De Vry, J., Jentzsch, K. R., Kuhl, E., and Eckel, G. (2004). Behavioral effects of cannabinoids show differential sensitivity to cannabinoid receptor blockade and tolerance development. Behav.Pharmacol. 15: 1-12.

[viii] Hirvonen, J., Goodwin, R. S., Li, C. T., Terry, G. E. and others. (2012). Reversible and regionally selective downregulation of brain cannabinoid CB1 receptors in chronic daily cannabis smokers. Mol.Psychiatry. 17: 642-649.

[ix] D’Souza, D. C., Ranganathan, M., Braley, G., Gueorguieva, R. and others. (2008). Blunted psychotomimetic and amnestic effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol in frequent users of cannabis. Neuropsychopharmacology. 33:2505-2516.

[x] Haney, M., Ward, A. S., Comer, S. D., Foltin, R. W. and others. (1999). Abstinence symptoms following smoked marijuana in humans. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 141: 395-404.

Your Endocannabinoid System, Part 2: The ECS and Its Role in Health and Disease

Your Endocannabinoid System, Part 2: The ECS and Its Role in Health and Disease

In the previous article (Part 1), we discussed the basics of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). We talked about the two main endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and their role in maintaining physiological balance within the body. Here in Part 2, we look at a small selection of health conditions and the role our ECS plays.




Pain is both a general and common symptom of many diseases and even considered a condition itself.  Although chronic and/or severe pain is one of the worst things anyone can live with, there aren’t many safe pharmacological options available. In fact, one of the most prescribed classes of drugs (opioids) are notorious for there potential for abuse and corresponding death rate. The most promising approach, based on recent research, appears to be the ECS. Modifying the activity of the ECS with phytocannabinoids has shown to provide benefit to multiple forms of pain in a variety of clinical trials.


Since CB1 receptors are found throughout the nervous systems in areas associated with pain, and because CB2 receptors are also involved in blunting the sensation of pain, THC, CBD, and anandamide can effectively reduce pain through its action on the ECS. Further, these cannabinoids can also work synergistically with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, such as acetaminophen) to enhance their effectiveness.


Obesity and Diabetes


Most people already know that smoking cannabis can often bring on the “munchies.” Many times, this well-known effect of cannabis is used therapeutically in cases of cachexia (muscle wasting syndrome seen with cancer) or anorexia. By interacting with various tissues (including fat, muscle, liver, and the pancreas), CB1 receptors encourage the body to store energy/calories as fat. It’s no wonder the dysfunction of the ECS is linked to obesity. CB1 receptors are up-regulated in the liver and fat tissues in various types of obesity, and this has been linked to weight gain.


Logically, most would think that inhibiting CB1 would counter this effect and even be exploited therapeutically as an anti-obesity strategy. In fact, this has been tried—with disastrous results. This is because CB1 receptors control a lot more than just weight, and as with biology in general, the deeper we go, we reveal a picture of increasing complexity, not simplicity. This is a perfect example, of the saying, “a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.” Without a full understanding, you can arrive at the wrong conclusions, and studies have revealed that cannabis consumption—even with its CB1 activation—does not correlate with obesity.


In fact, a 2011 study found that obesity rates were about one-third lower in people who regularly smoked cannabis (at least three times per week) compared to those who did not use cannabis at all. This observation remained true even after other factors were accounted for, like age, sex, and cigarette smoking. Another study in 2013 found that current cannabis users (compared to non-users) had fasting insulin levels that were 16% lower, had higher HDL cholesterol levels (the “good” cholesterol), as well as a smaller waist circumference. Observations were even better among those who reported recent cannabis use.


This suggests that the ECS is involved in preventing metabolic syndrome, and there are numerous studies that confirm this. Metabolic syndrome involves glucose/insulin regulation, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, blood pressure, and obesity. When endocannabinoid concentrations or receptor activation is unbalanced, it can result in increased abdominal fat storage, and higher risk of atherosclerosis, and type 2 diabetes.


Cardiovascular Health


The ECS is extensively involved in cardiovascular regulation, and CB1 receptors mediate many cardiovascular processes, including the dilation of blood vessels, and functioning of the heart. Discussed below are a number of cardiovascular conditions that are known to be modulated by the ECS.


Ischemia: Ischemia is the term used when blood flow is restricted. Maintaining proper blood flow is critical and anyone who has experienced angina (chest pain from reduced blood flow), a heart attack (blood flow blockage in the heart), or stroke (blockage in the brain) will know just how important it is. In one study, researchers administered CBD prior to ischemia as well as reperfusion injury (which is a negative consequence of restoring blood flow after ischemia). Results showed that CBD enhanced anandamide signalling, which caused a reduction in cell death and reduced the number of irregular heartbeats.


Atherosclerosis: Atherosclerosis is a condition that can increase the risk of other more sinister conditions, including a heart attack or stroke, and is one precursor to ischemia. Less serious consequences, but no less desirable, are things like erectile dysfunction and dementia. It is characterized by plaques that inhibit blood flow. The ECS is known to be active in cases of atherosclerosis, and given the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant functions of cannabinoids (both phyto- and endocannabinoids), they may be useful for addressing the health of the vascular system.


The immune-related cells found in atherosclerotic plaque are known to express CB2 receptors. Even though THC predominantly binds to CB1, here it exerts an anti-inflammatory effect via CB2 activation—potentially slowing progression of the plaques. However, most of the benefits probably come from 2-AG since it has a much stronger affinity for CB2.


Hypertension: Known as the “silent killer” since it can go unnoticed until it’s too late, hypertension can cause significant damage to the heart, arteries, brain, eyes, and kidneys. While we discussed CB2 receptors in arterial plaque, it should be pointed out that CB1 receptors outnumber CB2 throughout the cardiovascular system. Activating CB1 receptors with anandamide or THC can lower blood pressure. In fact, the higher the blood pressure, the greater effect anandamide and THC have—just as we’d expect for a regulator of homeostasis. In other words, the individuals with the highest blood pressure would receive the most benefit.


Brain, Cognition, and Neurological Health


Studies have shown that the ECS is involved in protecting the nervous system and nerve cells in a wide variety of situations. From acute injuries to the brain or nerves, to chronic neurodegenerative disorders (like multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease), the ECS is constantly helping to bring a pathological state back to balance and health.


Traumatic Brain Injuries: The ECS also activates a number of other signalling pathways that protect cells. The ECS and cannabis have shown to be involved in modulating mitochondrial metabolic rate and oxygen demand. It allows cells to have greater survivability in the face of low oxygen levels or reduced blood flow. For example, both anandamide and 2-AG protect nerve cells in the cerebral cortex when deprived of oxygen and glucose (the brain’s main source of fuel). This is especially useful in cases of traumatic brain injury, and a recent study published in the latter part of 2014 revealed the incredible level of neuroprotection endowed by THC. In this study involving over 400 patients suffering from traumatic brain injury, researchers found that those testing positive for THC had an 80% lower probability of dying than patients who tested negative for THC.


Multiple Sclerosis: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease where the body’s immune system attacks the its own cells (an autoimmune disease). In MS the immune system’s target is the myelin sheaths that surround and insulate the “arms and legs” of the nerve cells, which allow nerve signals and communication to proceed normally. As more and more neurons lose their myelin sheaths, nerve communication and signalling gets progressively worse. Two common symptoms of MS are spasticity and tremors, both of which appear to be helped by cannabis via activation of CB1 and CB2 receptors. A couple double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials have confirmed that both THC and CBD can improve many aspects of MS in humans, including spasticity, mobility issues, pain, and bladder problems.


Alzheimer’s Disease: While there are many forms of dementia, the most common form is Alzheimer’s disease, which is characterized by the accumulation of toxic proteins in the brain (called beta-amyloid). Although there are currently no conventional medical treatments for this disease, there are varying degrees of success being reported with specific dietary protocols and natural therapies—including cannabis. Here again, the CB1 receptor plays an important role, where its activation inhibits the toxic effects of beta-amyloid through a number of ways. CB2 receptors also play an important role here, where it can then help reduce inflammation.


Anxiety: Anxiety is a great example of the balancing act of the ECS, and also shows how the right substance in the right amounts (not too little, not too much) will bring about homeostasis in a person. Here, research has shown that small quantities of cannabinoids such as THC has an anti-anxiety effect. However, as many novice cannabis users can attest to, the same compounds can result in anxiety when taken in higher doses. Similarly, both blocking and overstimulating the CB1 receptor has the same effect of causing anxiety, which is a clear example of this fine balancing act.

Gastrointestinal Disorders


Even though most people associate the gastrointestinal (GI) system with digestion, in actual fact, it plays a major role in many body systems and functions. It is the throne of the immune system (with a estimated 70-80% of the immune system being located in the GI system), and plays a major role in health of the nervous system (including mood and cognition), cardiovascular health, skin health, etc. CB1 receptors, along with the endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-AG, are prominently distributed throughout the nerves that regulate the GI tract. CB2 receptors are also present, including on a type of white blood cell called a macrophage. The ECS is involved in many functions of the GI system, including stomach acid secretion and GI motility (the muscle contractions that move food through the GI tract).

Activation of CB1 and/or CB2 receptors inhibit GI motility. This would suggest phytocannabinoids would be useful in cases of diarrhoea, and a clinical trial has confirmed this. Further, numerous studies have shown anandamide protects against ulcerative colitis (a form of inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD). As with other conditions, the ECS is often up-regulated as a protective mechanism.


Other than ulcerative colitis, IBD can also refer to Crohn’s disease. A small pilot study in 2013 examined the effectiveness of cannabis therapy for Crohn’s disease. In this double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 5 of 11 subjects in the cannabis group achieved complete remission compared to only 1 in the placebo group. Almost all of the cannabis subjects (10 of 11) experienced significant therapeutic benefits—compared to 4 in the placebo group—as well as better appetite and sleep; all this with no significant side effects!


Immune System Modulation


As mentioned above, since the GI system houses about 70-80% of the immune system, it has a critical (and direct) role to play in helping to modulate our body’s immune response. Due to the presence of cannabinoid receptors on immune cells, and anecdotal and historical evidence suggesting that cannabis use has potent modulating effects on the immune system, there has been considerable research directed at understanding the function and role of these receptors within the context of immune response. Studies from chronic cannabis smokers have provided much of the human evidence for the immuno-modulatory effects of cannabis, and animal and laboratory studies on immune cells have also provided important evidence.


In fact, many may know that Echinacea has been used in traditional medicine for a very long time as an immune booster. Modern research has now shown that this herb’s traditional benefits are due to compounds called alkylamides, which activate CB2 receptors, which are plentiful on immune cells. A recent study published in 2015 compared the effectiveness of an Echinacea product to Tamiflu (oseltamivir), which is regarded as the first-line therapy for resolving flu symptoms among conventional medicine authorities. This study found that 50.2% of those in the Echinacea group recovered after 5 days, compared to 48.8% in the Tamiflu group (no statistically significant difference between groups, meaning Echinacea and Tamiflu were equally effective). Even more impressive, however, was that those in the Echinacea group reported far less adverse effects from the treatment, with the Tamiflu group reporting the usual nausea and vomiting associated with the drug. The study included over 400 patients, including children, which shows that Echinacea (and therefore, immune enhancement through ESC and CB2 activation) was also safe. This suggests a bright future for CBD or CBD-heavy cannabis strains in immune modulation.




As mentioned earlier, this is just a small sample of health conditions linked to a dysfunctional ECS. It’s incredibly exciting to see more research come out and I fully expect to see this turn into an avalanche of studies as prohibition comes to an end in Canada, which will further help legitimize cannabis as a powerful natural medicine and reduce its stigma globally.



Disclaimer: The information in this article is for educational purposes only, and not to be construed as medical advice. It is not meant to diagnose, or in any way replace qualified medical supervision. For diagnosing or treating any medical condition, consult with your health care provider.


Lee Know is a licensed naturopathic doctor, the recipient of several awards, and the author of Life: The Epic Story of Our Mitochondria (FriesenPress, 2014). He has previously held positions as a medical advisor, scientific evaluator, and director of research and development for major organizations, and currently heads up Scientific Affairs and Product Development at Cannanda.

Your Endocannabinoid System: A Primer (Part 1)

Your Endocannabinoid System: A Primer (Part 1)

Life is all about balance. You never want too much or too little of anything, but instead, just the right amount. When things veer too far from that balanced sweet-spot, that’s when trouble starts. Health is no different, and health is the foundation to all else in life.


Given the the importance of balance in a healthy life, it’s important to have at least a basic understanding of the body system that’s responsible for this—the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which has evolved to be the major messaging system for maintaining physiological balance. The scientific term for balance is “homeostasis,” and the ECS is present in all vertebrates (organisms with a spinal cord and vertebrae), not just humans. When an organism is in homeostasis, there is health. If an organism is not in homeostasis, there will be some degree of disease—whether this is experienced by outright clinical symptoms, or subclinically at the cellular level. In these unbalanced situations, if homeostasis can be restored, then diseases should naturally resolve.


As a cellular messaging system, the ECS is all about communication. When cells communicate efficiently, everything works smoothly. If you’re reading this, you probably already know that cannabis is the most obvious therapeutic agent in this endeavour, and it’s especially useful because its phytocannabinoids (plant-based cannabinoids) are structurally similar to the endocannabinoids (the cannabinoids produced within our own bodies). This means that these phytocannabinoids can mimic the actions of our endocannabinoids, such as activating specific receptors located all throughout the body, which are called cannabinoid receptors. Phytocannabinoids are highly therapeutic in situations where it is not possible for the body to make enough endocannabinoids to bring the body back into balance. This is why cannabis is an extremely important and valuable medicine and the scientific, medical, and even political communities are reawakening to this reality after decades of prohibition.


Your Endocannabinoid System


Present in all vertebrates, the endocannabinoid system is a biological messaging system that consists of:

  • endocannabinoids (those internally-made cannabinoid compounds),
  • enzymes (specialized proteins) that produce or breakdown endocannabinoids, and
  • cannabinoid receptors (the target for the endocannabinoids).


These three basic components work together to ultimately to maintain homeostasis in our bodies—with far reaching effects on the major boy systems that gives us life and health.


The two primary endocannabinoids are anandamide and 2-AG. There are at least three other known endocannabinoids, but most of the research has been focused on these two main ones. Although these compounds are produced within the body, they have similar chemical structures to the external phytocannabinoids in the cannabis plant. This means that cannabinoids, whether produced by the body or obtained from external sources, will bind to cannabinoid receptors, and result in a biochemical and physiological response.


When the work of these endocannabinoids are done, the body must break them down, and that’s where certain enzymes enter the picture. Anandamide is degraded by fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), whereas 2-AG is degraded by monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL).


This brings us to the third component of the ECS, the cannabinoid receptors, and what makes all the magic happen. When these receptors are stimulated by either endocannbinoids or phytocannabinoids, a biological response is initiated, resulting in a signaling cascade. These cascades are a series of biochemical reactions, which are ultimately responsible for the effects of cannabinoids.


There are two main cannabinoid receptors: CB1 (cannabinoid receptor type 1) and CB2 (cannabinoid receptor type 2). CB1 is the main receptor in the brain and central nervous system (although it is also found in much lower concentrations throughout the body). This receptor, when activated, is responsible for the psychoactive (mind-altering) effect of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the most notorious phytocannabinoid in marijuana.


In the brain, there is an uneven distribution of CB1. The highest concentrations of CB1 are in the:

  • basal ganglia, which is involved in coordination of movement
  • hippocampus, thought to be the centre of emotion, memory, and the autonomic nervous system
  • cerebral cortex, which plays an important role in consciousness
  • cerebellum, which functions to coordinate and regulate muscular activity, and
  • amygdaloid nucleus, which plays a role in the sense of smell, motivation, and emotions.


One of the key points needing attention here, however, is that cannabinoid receptors are absent from the brainstem. The importance of this is that the brainstem controls breathing, and due to the lack of CB1 receptors, THC cannot affect the function of the brainstem—meaning there is just no way an overdose of cannabis can cause death by stopping respiration. On the other hand, we know that opioids (heroin, morphine, fentanyl, and many other prescription painkillers) can cause death by overdose, and that’s simply because the brainstem contains numerous opioid receptors, and too many opioids will cause breathing to stop.


As for CB2 receptors, they are distributed primarily throughout the immune system (intestines and white blood cells) and the hematopoietic system (blood-making organs, mainly the bone marrow, lymph nodes, and spleen). Smaller quantities are found in the brain, pancreas, and liver.


Activating CB2 receptors is showing to be tremendously therapeutic, and a lot of research activity is taking place in this area. For example, anti-inflammatory activity appears to be one of the main benefits of CB2 activation, but unlike CB1, it does not result in psychoactive effects.


There are a number of other receptor types that are getting more attention from the research community, and given that various endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids bind to these, there could be a handful of other receptors that get classified as being part of the ECS.


Next Issue: The ECS and Its Role in Health and Disease


So with a basic understanding of the components of the ECS and how it works, Next issue of The Highway, I’ll continue this article by discussing some of the health conditions its dysfunction has been linked to. In some cases, ECS dysfunction plays a starring role in the disease pathology, yet in others it may just play a minor aggravating role. In any case, keeping this system in tip-top shape is a goal we should all work towards. Until next time, stay healthy and happy!




Read part 2 of this article in the next issue of The Highway. Lee Know is a licensed naturopathic doctor, the recipient of several awards, and the author of Life: The Epic Story of Our Mitochondria (FriesenPress, 2014). He has previously held positions as a medical advisor, scientific evaluator, and director of research and development for major organizations, and currently heads up Scientific Affairs and Product Development at Cannanda.


Medicinal Cannabis Has Arrived!!!

Medicinal Cannabis Has Arrived!!!

Medicinal Cannabis – it’s in!  We are SO excited! 

We’ve searched and searched for quality medicinal marijuana products that make actual medicinal claims and openly discuss the medicinal benefits of all the components of the Cannabis sativa plant.

It’s the Wild West in Canada right now!!!  As our rules and regulations shift and change, and as provinces try to decide where they are going to land on this controversial herb, companies are cashing in and making all kinds of claims!  When you start digging, these companies come up short with little science to back up their claims, and no details to show the efficacy of their products.  It’s been a struggle to find a reputable company.    But we found one!

We also learned that a lot of companies are playing it safe right now; simply not making specific claims about CBD (for example) to avoid seizure in stricter provinces and territories.  Finding a product of high quality, that actually makes CBD content claims on the label proved impossible.   Finding a company that complies with Canadian laws was also challenging – but we found them!

During our search we asked a lot of questions!  We learned a lot about THC and CBD.   And we learned a lot about the other medicinal components of the Cannabis sativa plant including Beta Caryophyllene (bayta-car-ee-o-FI-leen) (which has over 19 000 studies on PubMed).  Beta caryophyllene is a super healing component of the Cannabis plant (and many other plants such as nutmeg, oregano, cinnamon, and black pepper) and it is it’s presence that helps alleviate pain.  Beta-Caryophyllene can bind to CB2 receptors (strong) and activate many of benefits of the endocannabinoid system.


Some Of The Key Takeaways About BCP:

  • It improves metabolism (by increasing mitochondrial function)
  • It protects against neurodegeneration (by reducing a leaky blood-brain barrier and inflammation)
  • It reduces pain (by up-regulating natural endorphins)


Most legitimate companies selling hemp products in Canada are focusing on Beta caryophyllene because it is not a controversial substance like THC and CBD still are in most of the provinces and territories.   However a very few companies are open and interested in the wider health benefits of the entire cannabis plant.


North American Herb and Spice is one of those companies.

We chose NAHS to supply our CBD-rich hemp products because they were  able to answer the hard questions!  First, and most important to our customers, NAHS openly discusses their CBD content – most other companies skirt around this gray area of Canadian law.  Because NAHS’s sales rep openly discussed the benefits of CBD, understood what we were looking for, and was able to answer all of our questions we looked deeper into their product line and were mightily impressed!

NAHS offers WHOLE FOOD, FULL SPECTRUM, RAW, WILD Hemp Extract which is rich in CBD (9-14%) as well as Beta-Caryophyllene.   They’re able to do this because they grow their own Cannabis sativa hemp plants on certified organic soil.  And all of their herbal products are RAW and WHOLE – NAHS believes in the health benefits of the whole plant, and doesn’t mess with Mother Nature too much.  Their hemp, oregano and turmeric extracts are CO2 extracted preventing any chemical residues or heat damage to the healing properties of the plant.  Because of these careful processes, NAHS’s extracts are FULL SPECTRUM and wide reaching in their health benefits.  Plus, NAHS’s hemp is a WILD strain.

NAHS is also working with Health Canada to obtain NHP numbers for all of their products – which means, despite their high CBD content, they are perfectly legal to sell.  Plus the additional health benefits of  these products are pretty special and we couldn’t pass them up!


Here’s an outline of one the the products we’ve brought in that we are most excited about:


Powerful, supercritical, certified organic cannabis extract—full cannabis profile, including rare, powerful terpenes


Hempanol-CF is the cannabis extract-based “be calm and focused” formula for overall health support. It’s the only whole food, raw cannabis extract available, a supercritical CO2 extract. Nothing is added, and nothing is taken away. This is the exclusive, original, organic-source, supercritical cannabis extract. It is derived from cannabis plants grown only for NAHS on certified organic soil and therefore is not the type that is extracted industrially through solvents. That’s right, much of the cannabis extract on the market is merely residue cannabis from the textile industry, where the active ingredients are extracted with solvents.Solvents typically used in material made into supplements include acetone, butane, which is lighter fluid, hexane, and alcohol. The solvents, including the petrochemical ones, are driven off by heat; however, in many cases significant residue remains. Furthermore, homeopathically these solvents can never be removed. Regardless, who would knowingly consume herbal or plant extracts treated with noxious solvents, the latter being categorical carcinogens? With Hempanol-CF, no such solvents are ever used, and it is extracted only through supercritical CO2, which is entirely a cold process. This means that only Hempanol-CF is raw. Thus, all the key nutrients, including the enzymes, are intact.Most cannabis extracts are processed with heat, which can be as high as 250 degrees. Both heat and solvents damage the delicate compounds in cannabis, including the terpenes and cannabinoids. Since Hempanol-CF is free of all such noxious chemicals and not heat treated, the natural substances contained in this formula are fully intact, including the highly sophisticated and exceedingly potent terpenes. This means that these molecules are far more biologically active than those found in heat- and solvent-treated types.This is the original, raw, crude, unprocessed cannabis extract from organic hemp stalks. Accept no cheap imitations made from heat-extracted and/or solvent-corrupted hemp. Hempanol-CF is exclusively organic cannabis extract without any other ingredients in an extra virgin olive oil and hemp seed oil base. It’s easy and beneficial to use every day. The whole family can feel confident that Hempanol-CF is a blessing in a bottle.Directions: Take 10 or more drops under the tongue or in juice/water once daily.

Are you curious about the other products we carry?   Check this out:  


These are the ONLY RAW extracts on the market – they are not distilled after the CO2 extraction.
There are no chemicals used in their production.
Raw extraction ensures that all the terpenes as well as hundreds of cannabinoids in the extract are intact and active.

All NAHS products are NON-PSHYCOACTIVE because they contain NO THC.




HEMPANOL CF Super Strength – 14%



14 drops = 10mg


600 drops
per bottle

Maximum Strength Daytime Calm & Focus:
3000mg crude hemp stalk extract
(=420mg CBD)+ CO2 Extracted Hemp+ Hemp Seed Oil+ Rosemary





23 drops = 5mg


600 drops per bottle

Daytime Calm & Focus:
1500mg crude hemp stalk extract
(=135mg CBD)+ CO2 Extracted Hemp
+ Hemp Seed Oil
+ Rosemary




33 drops = 5mg


2oz/1200 drops per bottle

Supports a Healthy Nervous System, and has an Anti-Inflammatory Effect: 

2000mg crude hemp stalk extract
(=180mg CBD/bottle)

+  5300mg turmerones

+  1000mg curcumenoids





14 drops = 1mg


600 drops per bottle

Sleep & Wellness Support: 

500mg crude hemp stalk extract
(=45mg CBD)

+  Wild New Zealand Hops, Blue Chamomile



1.2mg / cap Daytime Calm & Focus:
CO2 Extracted Hemp, Hemp Seed Oil,


0.9mg / cap Supports a Healthy Nervous System, and has an Anti-Inflammatory Effect:

2000mg crude hemp stalk extract

+  3500mg turmerones

+  1050mg curcumenoids



0.45mg / cap Sleep & Wellness Support: 

CO2 Extracted Oregano Oil, Organic
Hemp,  Chamomile, Hops



No CBD claim Transdermal Support:

CO2 extracted hemp, wild nettles,
Oregano Oil, Royal Jelly, Myrtle …



Did you know that we also carry Nano-Enhanced CDB Water?:


30mg/bottle Nano-Enhanced CBD:

3mg of Nano-Enhanced CBD is as effective
as 30mg of regular CBD, and is absorbed
faster for quicker results.


We’re ready to answer your questions about CBD, Beta Caryophyllene, Hemp Oil and more!  Pop in and check out our new Medicinal Hemp section at the front of the store!

#InsiderTip:  More products are coming at the end of the month!






No Bake Energy Bites

No Bake Energy Bites


~ 1 cup crispy brown rice cereal (no sugar added)
~ 1/2 cup dried unsweetened coconut, + extra for rolling
~ 1/2 cup gluten free oats, coarsely ground in food processor
~ 1/4 cup almond butter, preferably raw
~ 1/4 cup hemp hearts
~ 1/4 cup maple syrup
~ 1 tbsp Beyond Greens®
~ 1 tsp Udo’s Oil™ 3•6•9 Blend
~ 1 tsp dark cocoa powder
~ A pinch sea salt


In a bowl mix the brown rice cereal, hemp hearts, coconut, oats, and salt.
In another bowl combine the almond butter, maple syrup, Beyond Greens®, Udo’s Oil™ 3•6•9 Blend and cocoa powder.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients to thoroughly combine.
Take a golf ball size of the mixture and squeeze it into a ball, then roll in the extra coconut. Continue until all of the mixture is used up.

Store in the freezer for an easy snack, anytime.

Makes 20 Bites


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