Cannabis tinctures are a great delivery system. Cannabis and hemp can be soaked in high percentage alcohol, or a fat like coconut oil, and deliver whole plant extracts, including THC/CBD and other cannabinoids, terpenes etc. It’s an ancient way of delivering the active ingredients in the plants, as well as being portable, discreet, fast acting and easy to use.
Numerous companies produce tinctures for the Oregon marketplace with varying ratios and amounts of THC and CBD. Protanicals is taking a unique approach by offering four distinct THC/CBD ratios, but also adding additional botanicals. This approach is overseen by two naturopathic physicians, with the goal of engaging the Endocannabinoid System, or ECS, and using the entourage effect.
Dr. Shena Vander Ploeg and her business partner, Dr. Glen Nagel, have 50+ years of collective botanical medicine experience between them. Vander Ploeg began formulating cannabis and botanical products in 2008, born from her desire to use cannabis plant medicine to address stress-induced anxiety—which she developed in medical school. That’s when her interest in seeing cannabis restored as an ingredient in products made with other plants began. “Can we integrate cannabis into botanical medicine where it belongs?” she asked me.
Vander Ploeg explains that “we start with the scientific evidence when creating these botanical elements of these formulas. The ECS within us directly responds to endocannabinoids (molecules our bodies produce), and cannabinoids (cannabis derived compounds,” says Vander Ploeg. “The ECS is involved in governing homeostasis in the body, meaning that it restores and maintains human health. It regulates function of things like eating, sleeping, relaxing, forgetting, and protecting (immune function). The science so far supports that the ECS is the most important homeostatic body system,” she concludes.
The “entourage effect” says Vander Ploeg, “demonstrates superior desired effects when using full-spectrum cannabis extracts that have phytoconstituents present, beyond the isolation/use of primary cannabinoids or synthetically created ones. Cannabis has over 454+ active constituents, it is easy to imagine the potential synergy of the other supportive botanicals.”
The tinctures have various ratios of THC/CBD, with more than .3% THC, and thus only available in dispensaries. The “Universal” is 1:1 CBD/THC, while the “Relief” is 2:1, “Digest” is 5:1 and “Emerge” is 7:1. Each product is designed to support specific goals, addressing stress, pain, digestion and general health maintenance. Additional botanicals which are complementary to each formula include skullcap, passionflower, gentian root and others found in many over-the-counter herbal supplements. Each has various amounts of full-spectrum cannabis extract added.
When I saw the products at a dispensary, I asked the budtender whether he’d used them or had feedback from those who had. “Both!” he said, and began enthusiastically sharing his experiences. Soon two other budtenders crowded around sharing similar stories. Budtenders are an understandably fussy lot, but the whole shop was down with these.
Vander Ploeg and Nagel partnered with Muru and recently released the tinctures. The Emerge contains Ashwagandha, an adaptogen herb believed to help the body counter stress that I already take as a daily supplement. The other botanicals selected are also used to counter stress, and a serving later, I was less tense while still fully engaged. The low THC did not offer any impairment and made for a great daytime option. The Relief (8 mg CBD/4 mg THC per serving) was a great downshift option which included Kava, a daily supplement which I also take to help me sleep. (Vander Ploeg added “studies support that kava has constituent (yangonin) that has demonstrated binding affinity at CB1 receptors!”)
All of Protanicals’ ingredients are certified organic or organically grown, and its website offers some impressive “research source” links. The careful crafting of each product offers users an option for achieving a specific effect.