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What Are Phytocannabinoids?

The hemp and cannabis industries come with a whole host of new terminology that can get confusing even for those of us in the industry.  One term we are seeing questions about is “phytocannabinoid”, so let’s explore that one in this blog post.

While many people are now familiar with the term “cannabinoid” (the active ingredient in hemp and marijuana products: CBD, THC, etc), “phytocannabinoid” is a bit less well-known.  The difference between the two is pretty small and not all that complicated.

Our Endocannabinoid System

Our bodies contain an endocannabinoid system (much more detail here) that creates its own cannabinoids and it plays an important role in the release of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine for critical brain functions.  The same system also helps guide our immune system which includes our response to inflammation and pain.  This endocannabinoid system provides many opportunities for cannabinoids to bind to receptors, which, when activated, help to maintain a healthy body.

Cannabinoids made by our bodies (and mammals in general) are referred to as endocannabinoids while cannabinoids made by plants are known as phytocannabinoids.  That’s it.  Phytocannabinoids are just cannabinoids that our body doesn’t make.  It was thought for a while that only hemp and cannabis (I use the terms “marijuana” and “cannabis” interchangeably in this post) plants contained phytocannabinoids, which are found concentrated in the trichomes of the plants.  These are the little crystals found on the surface of the leaves and the flowers (“buds”) of a hemp or marijuana plant.  However, cannabinoids have been found more recently in black pepper, broccoli, carrots, and other plants.

How Many Phytocannabinoids Are there?

A lot.  While the prominent cannabinoids–THC, CBD, CBG, CBN–are the ones featured in most of the current hemp products on the market, there are one hundred or more total cannabinoids and many more terpenes and flavonoids on top of that.  I will discuss each of those in greater detail in future blog posts, but the short version is that these are also molecules found in hemp and marijuana plants that bind to our cells and affect the way we metabolize various cannabinoids.  I have written about my experience with CBD and what a profound impact it had on my daily life when it relieved my sciatica and osteoarthritis pain almost entirely.  But I’m also of the opinion that we are just getting started learning about the amazing properties of these plants as research has barely begin in the other 90+ cannabinoids about which little is known. And then there are the flavonoids and terpenes.  If I sound like a zealot, it’s because I am.  But with good reason!

The “Entourage Effect”

While my initial experience with CBD and the resulting pain relief that followed came from just four day’s use of CBD isolate–a form of CBD that is 99.9% pure CBD with no other parts of the hemp plant–mixed with water, I have learned since then about the “entourage effect”.  An Israeli doctor, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, came up with this phrase to describe the result of the various components of the hemp (or marijuana) plant acting together to deliver benefits to the user that are greater than the sum of the individual cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes.  

Dr. Mechoulam’s research showed that cannabis/hemp molecules team up to provide synergies that enhance the beneficial effects of the plant.  While I often recount my initial experience with CBD isolate and think it’s a great active ingredient in a number of products for a few different reasons, there is no doubt that there are a great many additional benefits to be found in the other parts of the plant.  While there is no definitive proof (yet!) to substantiate Dr. Mechoulam’s entourage effect hypothesis, count me among those who will be zero percent surprised when that proof does emerge after more research is conducted.

Cannabinoids are the compounds that bind to receptors in our body’s endocannabinoid system and play a key role in maintaining our overall health in a variety of ways.  Phytocannabinoids are cannabinoids made by plants and endocannabinoids are made by our bodies (and in other mammals).  The entourage effect is a term that refers to the synergistic effect of different cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids (both are good-for-you molecules also found in plants) all working together to accentuate the beneficial properties of hemp and cannabis plants.

puRelief Joint CBD Cream

5000mg CBD joint cream - CBD Pain relief.

Our puRelief CBD cream (5000mg in each of the different scent options) was among our earliest products.  We were planning a topical product with about 500mg, similar to most of our competitors, but a car accident changed that plan.  My wife was hit by another car which resulted in back pain that grew worse with time.  I decided to make a very strong version of our lotion which was not yet a finished Carolina Pure product back then.  I put in far more CBD than I had in my prior test batches to see if it would help with her back.  

Well, it didn’t.  She had ruptured a disc and it required surgery.  But I had enough of the very strong lotion left over that I gave it to a number of people who all LOVED it.  It was then that I realized the value in a high potency CBD topical and I switched our development of topicals to all have generous amounts of CBD for maximum relief.

Topicals: CBD Benefits vs CBD Side Effects

Probably the best thing about CBD lotions and other skin products is that they work within minutes of the first application for most inflammatory ailments.  People ask me: “how often can I use CBD cream” and the answer is “as needed”.  Because our products contain such a large amount of CBD, one application often provides relief for an extended period of time; a little dab will do you.  So the benefits become apparent pretty quickly as the pain diminishes.

As for side effects of external use of CBD, I am not aware of any at all.  As with all things hemp, more data is needed because research in this area was only made legal recently.  However, I have seen no literature regarding side effects of CBD lotion and I give it to both of my kids frequently.  

It is also important to remember the difference between CBD vs THC: THC is also effective for pain but it is psychoactive and can be absorbed transdermally through your skin.  Absorption through the skin is kind of the point, but CBD is NOT psychoactive and does not present the same risk of failing a drug test that THC does.

How Much Does CBD Cream Cost?

We have a number of topical products.  Our puRelief retails for $70 (but if you subscribe, you get 25% off all Carolina Pure products).  If this seems like a lot, check our competitors.  You can find CBD cream at Walgreen’s and pay a little bit less for their strongest topical which retails for $50 and has 750mg of CBD.  You are “saving” about 25% at Walgreen’s but you get 85% less CBD!  To get the same amount of CBD at Walgreen’s, you would need to spend $333!!  And if you subscribe for our product, it costs $52.50, anyway.  This is pretty much how it goes with the vast majority of our competitors who charge far, far more than we do.

So, how much does CBD cream cost?  The answer is, you can pay as much as you want to pay, but we suggest you just try ours and put all the leftover money to better use.

What About My Pet with Arthritis?

CBD is great for dogs and other animals.  However, you don’t want to use our human products on a furry pet because lotion and fur don’t mix well.  We have a topical product for pets that works great on their fur AND skin.   You can find it here.  

I hope you found that helpful and I’ll be writing more posts about our products and hemp in general soon!

Carolina Pure & rural advancement Foundation International

I’d like to highlight an organization that Carolina Pure supports through quarterly contributions: The Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI).  Based here in NC, RAFI supports SouthEastern rural, family farmers in a number of ways.  They advocate for small farms at the federal level and work to protect them from the collective might of Big Agriculture’s influence in Washington.  RAFI also supports farmers directly with a variety of programs and resources from helping to establish alternative food marketplaces for farmers to sell their output to disaster assistance to technical and marketing support.  

Since Carolina Pure sources its hemp from regional farms, it was a no-brainer to support an organization that supports the farms that produce our high-quality hemp.  Please take a look at their website and make a donation if you can!

I’d also like to introduce one of the newest additions to our product lineup: puReplenish, our CBD-infused body butter. Available in Watermelon, Mango, and Lemon Sugar.  Infused with 2000mg of full-spectrum CBD, pure rePlenish is a luxurious treat for your skin packing a strong punch of hemp goodness.  Watermelon puReplenish is currently available on our website and the other options will follow soon.  Or stop by our store at 7316 Market Street in Ogden, NC, and pick some up today!

In next month’s newsletter, I will be introducing another local band that we are sponsoring, fronted by a long-time friend of mine who is one of the best musicians I’ve ever seen.  Enjoy the start of Summer!

Why Carolina Pure Exists

I’ve decided to start incorporating testimonials into this space.  We’ll do that until we’re told to stop, anyway, as all stories will be anecdotal by definition.  There is insufficient clinical evidence at this point to make ANY claims for hemp or cannabis, other than the FDA’s approval to treat children’s epileptic seizures with CBD.  Of course, clinical trials have been impossible for most of the last century.  It’s almost like the pharmaceutical industry, America’s biggest lobbying group by a mile, is worried that their products might be rendered obsolete by one simple plant…

So, there’s a chance that I’ll need to redact this and other text in the future.  We formed this company 3 1/2 years ago and remained compliant with the “no health claims” rule until now.  But the feedback I’ve received and my own profound experience has led us to change our philosophy.  The average person still knows virtually nothing about what hemp can do and it’s time for that to change. I will write more on the many hurdles thrown at the hemp industry by “the man” in blog posts on our site, which will begin in the next week or so.  For now, my experience:

I had sciatica and osteoarthritis pain (right shoulder) for well over a year as an everyday companion.  I maintained a daily regimen of stretching, and physical therapy, and drank a gross mix of many powderized anti-inflammatory herbs with a few ounces of water.  Nothing made a dent.  I was skeptical of CBD and I wouldn’t fully believe my own stories if they didn’t happen to me.  So when I finally tried it, I was stunned when I woke up on day 4 (of 100mg/day CBD) to find my sciatica pain gone.  It remains gone. My shoulder pain subsided less dramatically over time and I was able to cancel scheduled arthroscopic surgery and am now able to throw hundreds of batting practice pitches to my Little League kids each week.  This is why Carolina Pure exists.

That made me a believer of course, but that’s not all.  About a year ago, I felt an occasional strange sensation in my thumbs–like the tendon to my thumb was not long enough.  It started happening more often and I mentioned it to my father.  He told me that Dupuytren’s contracture ran in our family in a mild way.  I had never heard of it and had to look it up just now to find the name again.  You can probably see where this is going.

It somehow took months to occur to me to try hemp for this.  But I finally did start putting puRelief or puRecover from my hand to my shoulder.  Within a week, no more whatever-it’s-called.  I was amazed but not surprised this time.  Nothing I write should ever be construed as medical advice, as I haven’t been to med school and don’t plan to.  My doctor readily points out this fact when I disagree with some of his advice.  I don’t know that I actually “cured” this problem or my other issues; I DO know that none of them bother me anymore. 

It really is incredible stuff for a solid portion of the population for a variety of ailments.  Send your stories to me @ and I’ll send you a discount code for 25% off your next purchase.  For the rest of you, use TOPICAL25 to get 25% off any of our topical products for the next month.

Ben Erichsen

Founder, Carolina Pure

Justin Cody Fox & Peter Maguire

I would like to introduce you to the person who convinced me to try CBD and therefore to the formation of Carolina Pure: guitarist extraordinaire and all-around super cool person, Justin Cody Fox.  I met Justin 19 years ago when I first moved to Wilmington, NC.  My brother and I both play guitar and we were heading out to a new bar when we heard what we thought was a VERY loud Jimi Hendrix bootleg CD (under 35?  look it up..) coming from across the street.  We went over to see what was up. As we watched Justin, bassist Dave Morse, and Justin’s cousin, Jeremy Summers on the drums, tear through their first set of amazing blues-based rock, we looked at each other and one of us said something like “are there bands like this just hanging out in Wilmington all over”?  Answer: no.  There is only one Justin Fox, and I’m pleased to call him my friend.  Check him out live if you’re in the area or online if you don’t.  I promise you won’t regret it.

Justin and I have been talking about collaborating on hemp stuff for years.  Well, Justin, we’re finally doing it!  

I would also like to introduce you to another local non-profit founded and run by my friend, person extraordinaire, Peter Maguire.  Peter has a doctorate in history and taught for 20 years at Columbia University, is an accomplished writer with an awesome substack and too much material to his credit to list here, was a war correspondent covering the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, and has been a military contractor and is maybe the only person who hangs with both some of the world’s best known big wave riders as well as the world’s best mixed martial artists–Peter counts Gracie family patriarch, Rickson Gracie, as both a friend and Jiu Jitsu mentor.  Don’t mess with either of them.  DO read “Breathe”, Rickson’s biography that Peter co-authored.  
I could go on, but the point is that Peter is a kind of real-life Indiana Jones.  I mean, his kids (Hey Joe and Sea!)  are more accomplished than half the adults I know.  His foundation, Fainting Robin is also super cool.  For the most part, it focuses on recognizing and supporting underpaid and under-appreciated college professors with a little-to-no chance at tenure.  That alone is pretty cool, but it gets better. Fainting Robin also has a “special activities” component, that does all kinds of fascinating stuff.  Most recently, it was instrumental in bringing a Cambodian killer to justice and supported Peter’s friend, “Nug”, a former operator who has been killing time in Ukraine, rescuing Americans trapped in the war-torn country.  If you stop by Peter’s house, you’re as likely to find a teams guy training as you are the mailman.  I told you it was super cool.

Carolina Pure & Signal Fire

I am happy to announce that Carolina Pure is now sponsoring Wilmington, NC-based Signal Fire.  They are an awesome reggae-infused rock band.  Or maybe they are a rock-infused reggae band.  Either way, they rock and their most recent single, “Lift Up”, debuted at #1 on the iTunes Reggae chart.  They have shared the stage with Stephen Marley, SOJA, the Dirty Heads and others. 

Singal Fire Band

We are off to a good start with our collaboration.  Their drummer, Kenneth, had been playing with carpal tunnel pain in his wrists for some time to the extent that the band has had to cancel a few shows. He ended up getting surgery on one of his wrists but still experienced pain in both.  When I first met with SF, I gave them a bunch of our products to try out.  Kenneth, to his amazement, found that our puRelief and puRecover topical products alleviated the pain almost completely.  While I want to make sure to note that not all types of pain are alleviated by CBD and that not all people experience such dramatic results, when CBD works for someone, the level of relief can be substantial.  It was for me.

Signal Fire is playing in Emerald Isle this week, followed by an appearance at the Beaufort Music Festival.  Keep up to date on their tour schedule here.

puRestore After-Sun Care Lotion.

The just-in-time-for-Summer addition to our product lineup of puRestore, is an after-sun care balm that contains Aloe Vera Gel, Mango Butter, Beeswax and other good stuff.  It comes in an 8 oz pump bottle and has 4000mg of CBD per bottle to maximize the soothing.

Check our website toward the end of next week–we are just waiting on the labels and then we’ll be able to get it into your hands.  Or, if you are local to us in the Wilmington, NC area, come visit our Carolina Green Provisions holistic market located 7316 Market Street St in Wilmington, NC.

As always, please send any questions, comments, or stories to

A Message From Our Founder

About the Founder

Which is me, Ben Erichsen. I was a stock trader for the better part of 20 years until 2018, when I first tried CBD. I had been plagued by constant back pain (sciatica) as well as osteoarthritis in my right shoulder. Nothing–natural anti-inflammatories, daily stretching, ibuprofen–made much of a difference. This went on for over a year until I bought some CBD isolate online after a friend suggested it. I was absolutely stunned when I woke up with no sciatica pain on the 4th day of my 100mg per day regimen. I learned a bit more about hemp and CBD and founded Carolina Pure with my brother based on my experience. (The shoulder pain didn’t go away right away but it did largely dissipate after a few months).

Now I spend the day working out of our FDA & NCDA-certified production facility in Wilmington, NC producing and developing products and often head from there to a baseball field to coach Little League & 12U travel baseball teams. I haven’t traded a share of stock in almost two years.

About Carolina Pure

There are a million hemp companies out there. I’m not discouraged by that fact. The rest of the world is starting to learn what I already know about CBD and the target market will eventually be everyone on the planet–my kids eat one of our gummies every day. But how to distinguish ourselves in a crowded market?

A nice label and website are a good start. Customer service that is guided by a philosophy of “always make things right with the customer” also doesn’t hurt. But where we really try to set ourselves apart is on price. When we launched, our prices were substantially below virtually every competitor I could find and they largely remain that way. The fact is that hemp just isn’t THAT expensive that you need to spend $100 on a bottle of CBD oil. We want to make money, yes, but we also don’t feel that CBD should be a wealthy person’s supplement, and we set our prices accordingly.

We do not sacrifice quality to be able to charge what we do. All our hemp is grown in the NC region by farms that abide by OMRI (organic) standards. Our facility isn’t certified organic so we can’t use the word on our labels, but what goes into our products is pure.

What’s to Come

I’m closing in on 500 words which is basically War & Peace in the context of a hemp newsletter so I’ll wrap it up. In future newsletters, I will highlight and talk a bit about one of our products, discuss upcoming products, share customer’s experiences, and keep you updated on Carolina Pure’s involvement in our NC community. We support several local non-profits and are partnered with a variety of athletes, artists and organizations.

I’m looking forward to discussing all of that and more with you! Please send any comments/questions to me at

Ben Erichsen
Founder, Carolina Pure

What People Are Saying

  • Here at Elite Chiropractic, we depend on high-quality products to provide relief to our patients. Carolina Pure CBD has embodied this through its professionalism, quality, and attentiveness. We can not recommend their products enough!

    Elite Chiropractic
  • Carolina Pure CBD has been a huge help for me personally. It takes effect quickly and I don't suffer side effects of harsh drugs.

    Sue - Wilmington NC
  • Carolina Pure works for me. It's that simple. I take it every day now.

    Laura - Leland, NC

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© 2023 Carolina Pure LLC
Carolina Pure hemp oil products are not for use or sale to persons under the age of 18. Our products contain full spectrum hemp-derived hemp oil, legal in all 50 States and compliant with United States H.R.2 - Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.