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CBD and Inflammation: Will it Help?

CBD and Skin Inflammation: Will it Help?

The idea of combating inflammation has become a hot topic in recent years.

People are changing their diets, lifestyles and purchasing decisions based on the idea that inflammation could in fact be the source of many issues we face day-to-day.  From chronic pain to depression, it would seem inflammation is the culprit behind many of our problems – but is this current movement based on science…or is it just another trend?

Unfortunately, the epic struggle between our bodies and inflammation is all too real and leading researchers have associated ongoing inflammation with many health concerns and illnesses – even going so far as to claim that up to 20% of cancer cases are caused by long-term inflammation to localized areas of the body.

But what exactly is inflammation?

It’s caused by stress, pollution, poor diet, lack of exercise – all the things we know to avoid but plague the majority of our lives every day. Inflammation is our body’s natural response to these stressors – internal and external. When the human body detects a threat, our immune systems go to work battling whatever is invading our system – sometimes without regard for the system itself.

This is where inflammation gets its nasty reputation.

A healthy immune system will use inflammation to its advantage,

turning it on exactly when and where you need it but most importantly turning it off when you don’t.  The reality is, many of us experience non-stop signaling from our bodies to produce inflammation. Constant exposure to stress creates what’s known as chronic inflammation – and once that sets in, a cycle begins where damage caused by inflammatory response elicits even more inflammatory response, furthering the damage and causing destruction to our bodies.

So, to put it simply – a little inflammation is in fact a good thing. It’s only when the response becomes chronic that real issues begin to arise.

So where does CBD fit in?

There are multiple systems within our bodies responsible for maintaining a multitude of functions. The Endocannabinoid system, a series of receptors located all throughout our bodies (mostly concentrated in the brain, gut and pelvis) is responsible, in part, for regulating inflammation. 

A body subject to chronic inflammation most likely suffers from an imbalanced Endocannabinoid system, which in turn disrupts the natural production of endocannabinoids in your body – furthering this cyclical imbalance. Using CBD can help tip the scales back in your favor, working to re-balance your systems so that your body will stop signaling for inflammatory response when it doesn’t need it.

What's amazing is how quickly CBD can switch off the response signal.

Clinical observations have revealed that CBD can reduce redness and itching, two major symptoms of inflammation, within as little as 10 minutes of application. This positions CBD infused skincare products as a practical solution for those suffering from inflammatory skin conditions. Because, while many skin conditions arise from a variety of issues, anything you can do to reduce inflammation will ultimately help foster a better environment for your health to thrive.

How to find the best CBD Skincare:

With an influx of CBD Skincare products pouring into the market, it’s important to know what you’re buying and that you are actually using CBD. Here are some tips to help you make a better, more informed decision:

    1. Make sure the ingredients say “cannabidiol”. Some companies will try and slip by with “hemp seed oil” but this is in fact not CBD oil – rather, a carrier oil commonly used to suspend CBD within it. So be careful and always check the ingredients!
    2. Make sure the label clearly defines the total cannabidiol content in milligrams per fluid ounce. Some companies will even break it down further to milligrams CBD per milliliter or per drop.
    3. Make sure the company provides a Certificate of Analysis from an accredited testing lab. Usually you can access this by scanning what’s called a “QR code” on the back of the bottle with a smartphone.
    4. Look for stable packaging. Jars and clear bottles will expose your product to air which can in turn lessen the efficacy and shelf life of the CBD.
    5. Make sure the company specifies wether the CBD is an Isolate, Broad-Spectrum or Full-Spectrum product. There are major differences between the three, and knowing which you are consuming is vital to pinpointing an effective CBD regimen for yourself. For a deeper understanding of the differences between the types of CBD oil available, click here:

The research behind topical CBD application and its relation to chronic inflammation continues to develop, and as the bonfire of knowledge grows on the subject, its light reveal just how much was previously outside our understanding. We’re excited to see where the science leads, and hope you will continue with us on our journey to creating total wellness, inside and out. 

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Caleb Lee

Caleb Lee

Caleb is a graduate from the University of Louisville's School of Fine Arts program and is an emerging writer with a passion for research and spreading knowledge. A fascination with Cannabidiol and all its incredible healing properties has lead him down a path of exploration we hope you will join in on.

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While you may have never heard of terpenes, chances are you’ve interacted them your whole life. Simply put, terpenes are what make things smell – yet, they are so much more than that. If you are familiar with “essential oils” you already have some experience with terpenes… For example, limonene is in the essential oil of lemons and limes. Alpha and beta-pinene are found in the essential oil of pine needles. While terpenes are responsible for giving the pine forrest its notorious aroma, they are also responsible for the relaxing effects of lavender and when combined in different concentrations, can elicit an astonishing variety of effects. Currently there are over 20,000 known terpenes in the natural world and the cannabis plant has more than 100 of these present within it.
Here are some you should know:
Myrcene – The most abundant terpene in cannabis – making up as much as 65% of the total terpene profile for most strains. It is described as having a fruity, red-grape like aroma with earthy and musky undertones. Myrcene has been reported to effectively reduce inflammation and aide in the reduction of chronic pain, and is commonly recommended as a supplement for those undergoing cancer treatments.
Limonene – The second most abundant terpene in most strains of cannabis, but not all strains contain it. As the name suggests, limonene produces a citrusy smell that resembles lemons.  This comes as no surprise as all citrus fruits contain large concentrations of the terpene, and it can be found in many household cleaning products as well as cosmetics. Limonene is known to improve mood and reduce stress and has also been found to have antibacterial properties.
Linalool – The terpene most responsible for the notorious smell of marijuana. Linalool can also be found in lavender, mint, cinnamon and coriander at various concentrations. It exhibits very strong sedative and relaxing properties that have led doctors to recommend this terpene as an aide to those suffering from arthritis, depression, seizures, and insomnia. 

Caryophyllene – This is the only terpene that will actually bind to cannabinoid receptors within the body, and while it exhibits anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties like other terpenes, many are finding it an effective tool for alcohol rehabilitation.  This unique aspect of caryophyllene make it a hot topic of research in the scientific community.

Pinene – As the name may suggest, pinene smells like pine trees, and can be found in large concentrations in rosemary, basil parsley and even orange peels. It exists in two varieties, alpha, which produces the aroma of pine, and beta, which is what’s more commonly found in  spices. Pinene can improve airflow and respiratory function, but also can interestingly help reduce memory loss related to chronic intake of THC.

Bisabolol – This terpene has a pleasant floral aroma and can be found in chamomile flower and the candeia tree. It is most commonly utilized in the cosmetic industry as an agent to help ingredients reach deeper levels of the skin, but is showing promise in the medical field as an effective tool for treating bacterial infections and wounds.

Humulene – Commonly found in hops, humulene can also be found in clove, sage and black pepper and is described as having an earthy, woody and spicy profile.  Early research has shown it can be an effective tool in the reduction of inflammation, fight bacterial infections and there is more data coming forth that it may be an efficient appetite suppressant. 

Carene – Found in a number of plants like rosemary, basil, bell peppers, cedar and pine, carene has a sweet aroma and resembles the smell of a cyprus tree. It is most commonly used in supplements as an aide to memory retention but is also showing promise in the medical sphere as an aide to healing broken bones, giving some relief to sufferers of osteoporosis, arthritis and even fibromyalgia.

Camphene – Often mistaken with myrcene, this terpene is described as having musky, earthy tones and resembles the smell of fir needles. It is used in combination with vitamin C as a common topical skincare option and shows powerful antioxidant properties. Camphene may also reduce levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, making it a viable tool for those at risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Borneol – Used in traditional Chinese acupuncture, this terpene has an herbal, minty scent and can be found in rosemary, mint and camphor. Some use borneo as a natural insect repellent, and it can be found in many places of the world as a preventative tool for avoiding West Nile Virus.

Terpineol – This terpene has a pleasant scent similar to lilac, and is a common ingredient in perfumes, cosmetics and flavor additives.  It exhibits antibiotic and anti-oxidant properties, and also is used as a sedative and relaxing agent for those suffering from sleep disorders.

Valencene – As it name may reveal, this terpene is found most abundantly in Valencia oranges.  It is described as having a citrusy aroma and taste, and is found in cosmetics as well as natural insect repellents.

Geraniol – Found in lemons and tobacco, its smell is reminiscent of rose grass, peaches and plums. Geraniol is widely used in aromatic bath products and body lotions and shows great promise as a neuro-protectant and antioxidant. 

So…what does this mean for CBD?

The Entourage Effect is a real phenomenon that scientists and researchers are learning more about every day. It points to the naturally synergistic nature of cannabinoids and terpenes, and how different combinations of these chemical constituents can produce drastically different effects. In the case of CBD Oil, terpenes can lend the natural “earthy” flavors most people associate with ingestible CBD – but they can also lend various added benefits based on whichever plant strain the CBD was extracted from. For instance, a CBD product extracted from a Hemp plant with naturally high levels of the terpenes Linalool and Myrcene may be a better sleep aide, while a CBD extracted from a plant with higher levels of Camphene and Caryophyllene may have better anti-inflammatory properties. Determining what strain of plant your CBD comes from is admittedly easier said than done. However, any credible source of CBD products will be able to produce what’s called a certificate of analysis for you to review.  Here, you will find a breakdown of cannabinoids present within the CBD you’re considering which will help you make a better and more informed decision.
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The Microbiome​

The Microbiome

Probiotics have been a hot topic of skincare for much of the last decade. You see the word at the grocery store, on baby food – at the pharmacy, in supplements and vitamins – but how much do you really know about probiotics and what they actually do? The microbiome is a subject of fascination for many healthcare professionals and researchers worldwide – and, while its spotlight in the public sphere has only grown recently, it has been the key to total health and wellness for a long time. Wether you know it or not, you’ve had an intimate relationship with bacteria since before you were born. We are first exposed to microorganisms in our mothers’ wombs and continue to be exposed more and more throughout our lives. What’s fascinating is that the results are in fact not random: the human microbiome is composed of specific microorganisms that compliment each other and their host, fulfilling functions that are essential to life. These microorganisms can have two types of relationships with us:

Symbiotic or Pathogenic

In a healthy body, symbiotic and pathogenic microorganisms coexist without issue. It’s only when the balance is disturbed that we experience illness, disease, pain and even sadness. Ethan Russo, a prominent researcher and former Senior Medical Advisor for GW Pharmaceuticals has been quoted saying, “The brain and the gut speak the same language” and while this idea of having a “second brain” in our gut has been antiquated and is somewhat of a joke nowadays – the concept couldn’t be closer to the truth. Think of all the times you’ve had a fight or flight response, or to a time someone gave you butterflies, or the last time your stomach flipped with anxiety – our minds and our gut are intimately connected through what’s known as the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), and influence each other through their balance (or imbalance) of symbiotic and pathogenic microorganisms. So what do probiotics do?

Probiotics, as you may have guessed, are living bacteria that will restore balance to your microbiome. Generally, probiotics are most effective at both ends of the age spectrum because that’s when your microbes are least harmonious. However, probiotics can be very beneficial for those taking antibiotics or anyone who has been exposed to high levels of pathogens. To put it simply, Probiotics will restore balance to your microbiome. and CBD will help maintain that balance through the Endocannabinoid System. The entirety of our health is not only influenced but dictated by our microbiome. It could be argued that it is the only real factor in determining if someone is healthy or un-healthy. There has never been a consensus on the best way to take care of your microbiome but the research is slowly coming forth. More and more, people are realizing the intimate connection between the ECS and the Microbiome – and more and more, CBD products are being paired with probiotics to create a total solution for restoring and maintaining your health.

Shalia offers a full-line of probiotic skincare and CBD formulations that work together to create total wellness, inside and out.

Shalia believes knowledge is power. If you feel you’ve learned something or have anything to add - please, comment

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What is retinol?
If you’re invested in your skincare, chances are you’ve heard about retinol – but how much do you actually know about the amazing substance? It’s made from Vitamin A, and naturally boosts the amount of collagen your body produces – plumping the skin, reducing wrinkles and improving skin tone. Sounds too good to be true, we know – but retinol isn’t snake oil. In young, healthy skin, cells regenerate about every 28 days, but after hitting your early to mid 30’s, cell turn-over slows down to every 50-70 days. This degradation of cellular regeneration is what causes us to outwardly age.

Retinol increases cellular regeneration, essentially churning out healthy young skin by tricking your cellular infrastructure into thinking it’s younger than it actually is. Results don’t happen overnight, but with consistent use, retinol can be a life-changing and transformative tool that has already helped thousands look and feel better about the skin they’re in.

That being said, not all retinol is created equal. In fact, not all products you may think of as “retinol” are even retinol at all. Many people confuse retinol for retinoids, which most consider the Gold Standard of transformative skincare simply based on the fact a prescription is usually needed to obtain them.

But does this make retinoids better? 

The question quickly becomes “better for what?”, and although the common ideology is that a stronger product will produce stronger results, in the case of skincare it is undeniably true that less is in fact more.

When we talk about “less” what we’re really talking about is less mass and to understand the importance of mass in skincare it’s important to first have an understanding of daltons: a unit of measurement used to determine the molecular weight of atoms. The 500 Dalton Rule is a commonly discussed phenomenon in many skincare circles and refers to the scientifically proven fact that substances with a molecular weight greater than 500 Daltons will not penetrate the skin.

Your skin is composed of three main layers – the epidermis, dermis, and hypo-dermis from top to bottom respectively. The epidermis serves as the skin’s frontline of defense against foreign invasion, and is tough enough to keep debris, germs and other pollutants out while effectively holding onto essential nutrients and hydration. This is because the corneal layer of the skin, located just below the skin’s surface, can be thought of as having tiny, microscopic “gaps” that allow or don’t allow substances to penetrate into deeper layers of the dermis and hypo-dermis based on their Dalton level.

So what does that mean for retinol based products?

While most commercial retinol and retinoid products come in below the 500 Dalton level mark, many are on the heavy side and are still too large to penetrate deep enough for true collagen stimulation – only working to create irritation topically. This makes most retinoid products more effective in treating acne conditions and other skin concerns that exist on top of the skin.

Adapalene, for instance, coming in at a molecular weight of 412.52 Daltons, is a retinoid too large to penetrate the deep layers of the skin, and is marketed as a treatment for decreasing swelling and inflammation due to acne.

Retinyl Palmitate, the most commonly used retinol, has a molecular weight of 524.86 Daltons and is usually where people start when choosing a retinol product. However, with such a large mass, retinyl palmitate is generally thought of as a product for those with sensitive, dry skin and does not exhibit near as many transformative properties as its lighter counterparts.

The most effective and “life-changing” retinols are All-Trans Retinols. With a molecular weight of 286.46 Daltons, this form is far superior for collagen production and less irritating to the surface of the skin – making All-Trans Retinol products the optimal choice for anti-aging and true cellular regeneration.

In transformative skincare, irritation is the secret to achieving real results. Knowing where that irritation should occur, however, is the key to unlocking a product’s true potential. When choosing a retinol product, the 500 Dalton Level rule can be an effective way to determine what is best for you based on your specific needs. Whether you are looking for an anti-aging product or one to treat surface level skin concerns, knowing the Dalton level of what you’re using will drastically change your results. To determine a substance’s Dalton level, you can simply google an ingredient for its molecular weight, and and make an informed decision based off of that. The bottom line is knowing your skincare and what it does can be the difference between wasting valuable time and money and taking control of your beauty and, more importantly, your health.

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Balance: An Overview of The Endocannabinoid System​

Balance: An Overview of The Endocannabinoid System

Most of us are actively searching to achieve balance. In our relationships, in our lifestyles, with our diets and in our work – we all strive to live balanced lives. Our internal mechanics are no different. Every variable within us, from blood flow to temperature regulation, digestion and even mental health is involved in an active struggle achieve and maintain balance – or what is commonly called homeostasis.

Within the last few decades, it was discovered that the Endocannabinoid system is in fact responsible for maintaining homeostasis. Like most discoveries, the ECS was stumbled upon by accident, through an investigation of how cannabis “works” on the brain of rats. It was quickly revealed through numerous studies that there is a complex system within and throughout our bodies specifically designed to synthesize Endocannabinoids (eCBs).

You can think of eCBs like neurotransmitters – the chemical messengers of the nervous system. Like neurotransmitters, eCBs are the chemical messengers of the Endocannabinoid System – and if Endocannabinoids are messengers, then ECS Receptors can be though of like guards outside your mailbox. ECS receptors, like neurotransmitters, sit atop the surface of cells – dictating which chemicals may pass in order for cells to communicate with one another. In the case of the ECS, these receptors come in two varieties called CB1 and CB2 – located mostly in the brain, gut and pelvis, but are spread through our immune, nervous and circulatory systems as well.

Most cannabinoids can bind to both receptors but interestingly, CBD is one of the only known cannabinoids that doesn’t bind to either receptor. Unlike it’s counterparts THC, CBG, CBN and the other known cannabinoids – which fit inside receptors like keys in a lock – CBD modifies the receptors ability to to bind to the other cannabinoids. Which brings us back to balance.

The ECS is complex and there is not a one-size fits all solution to an imbalanced system. Some will benefit from boosting their natural levels of eCBs, through diet and exercise, while others may need relief from an overstimulated ECS – brought on by chronic imbalance – which is where CBD can be most beneficial. 


Think of it like an injured leg. Normally you are able to balance your weight, but once one leg is injured, you are forced to put more weight on the other. For a while, this is okay and your body will adjust by making you limp. Over time however, that adaptation will become a detriment and could cause even further damage to your healthy muscles and joints. 


Similarly, your body’s eCBs can be thrown out of balance by poor diet and lack of exercise but the most common detriment to the ECS is of course – stress. 


When exposed to stress, our ECS reduces the levels of Anadamide (an Endocannabinoid naturally produced in our bodies – commonly referred to as the “bliss” molecule) which causes feelings of anxiety, agitation and anger. At the same time, your ECS increases levels of 2-AG (another naturally occurring Endocannabinoid) which can dull our perception of pain. 


Eventually, after constant exposure to the stress, your body will adapt to the fact it cannot escape. High levels of 2-AG will eventually overstimulate CB1 receptors in the brain, resulting in a natural reduction of those receptors (another attempt to maintain homeostasis). With fewer eCB receptors now in your brain, it will be very difficult to maintain emotional balance, which can lead to depression, substance abuse and a myriad of other mental health issues. 


So, instead of stimulating (and possibly overstimulating) your ECS, CBD modifies your receptors so that they are harder to activate and thus over-activate. CBD also boosts your natural level of Endocannabinoids by reducing their reuptake and degradation. This aspect of CBD has a balancing effect on many people and is why so many have found beneficial use from the molecule. 


As you would expect, not all Endocannabinoid Systems are created equal. Some people are born with low levels of Endocannabinoids and must find ways to naturally boost their systems. Here are some ways to naturally boost your Endocannabinoid levels. 


Exercise: An hour or more of moderately intense exercise can naturally raise the level of Anadamide in your blood – leading to what many have described as a “runner’s high” or euphoric sensations following physical exertion. 


Diet: Endocannabionids, like neurotransmitters, are made of fatty acids called lipids. By consuming foods that have a high fatty acid content, like seafood and fish oil, you can naturally stimulate the production of Endocannabinoids in your body. Flaxseed oil, chia seeds, and hemp derived food products are also excellent ways to increase your Omega-3 fatty acid content. 


Phytocannabinoids are also excellent receptor-stimulators. In addition to cannabis, phytocannabinoids can be found naturally in hops, ginger, truffles, nutmeg, black pepper and chocolate. 


Fasting: A 24 hour fast can drastically boost your levels of 2-AG. Interestingly, many of the benefits attributed to intermittent fasting can be compared to the benefits of a balanced endocannabinoid system, namely: reduced inflammation, better cardiac health, neuroprotection and even the prevention of cancerous cell growth. 


Detoxification: Chronic abuse of alcohol and THC can over-stimulate your CB1 receptors, causing your ECS to decrease the number of receptors available. This imbalance is particularly strenuous during the detox phase, but evidence shows that your receptors will return to their natural levels after 3-4 weeks of abstinence. 


Vitamin D: Many are aware of how Vitamin D can boost your mood by how sunlight can affect us – especially during the winter. Just 15 minutes of sun exposure can naturally raise your levels of Endocannabinoids. Just remember to out on an effective sunscreen! 


The Endocannabinoid system is an extremely complex and diverse system. It’s functions and efficacy are individualized from person to person and it seems as the bonfire of knowledge on the ECS grows, the more its light reveals just how much we still have to learn. If you feel you are out of balance, it may be beneficial to try and naturally raise your levels of Endocannabinoids through the methods listed above. However if the imbalance persists, it may just be you need to incorporate a CBD product to help bring your ECS back into homeostasis.