You’ve heard the buzz about CBD Oil, and maybe you’ve heard about all the potential health benefits people seem to be experiencing, and you’ve even heard incredible stories of people being helped by CBD. What was once seen as a "Bad" natural illegal substance is finally being acknowledged for the benefits of both Physical and mental health. CBD is globally viewed as the natural medical alternative in health and wellness. But, what exactly is CBD, how does it help, and should you try it?
Here are the basics. CBD is short for Cannabidiol which is one of over 130 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, which is both marijuana and hemp. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the primary cannabinoid that seems to supplement the human Endocannabinoid system (ECS) and give it the boost it needs to help promote good health and help the body fight off ailments. So, CBD is basically the concentrated cannabinoid from cannabis/hemp that helps the body promote good health through the ECS.
CBD fuels the endocannabinoid receptors in our bodies, and all mammals have this system. Because of this, CBD seems to help give a boost to the ECS, thus inspiring homeostasis in the body and doing what it is meant to do, heal naturally. For a more detailed explanation read more below.
Here we cover the topic of CBD and the endocannabinoid system and how it helps maintain balance in the body.
There are over 130 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant and each of them occur in concentrations significant enough to produce certain effects. One of such cannabinoids you deliver by using hemp-derived CBD products is cannabidiol, the non-intoxicating constituent of the plant. How does CBD and other Cannabinoids interact with the body and brain?
Well, the answer lies in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). In this article, we will explain what ECS is and how CBD, along with other cannabinoids, can regulate an abundance of bodily and brain functions.
What is the endocannabinoid system.
The endogenous cannabinoid system (ECS) named after the plant that led to its discovery, is perhaps the most important physiologic system involved in establishing and maintaining human health.
Endocannabinoids and their receptors are found throughout the body: in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells. In each tissue, the cannabinoid system performs different tasks,
but the goal is always the same: homeostasis, the maintenance of a stable internal environment despite fluctuations in the external environment.
The endocannabinoid system, in short ECS, is a complex route which consists of endocannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors.
Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that tap to these receptors and thus trigger certain reactions in the body. As a matter of fact, the ECS is spread throughout the entire body, including mainly the nervous and immune system.
Cannabinoids promote homeostasis at every level of biological life, from the sub-cellular, to the organism, and perhaps to the community and beyond. Here's one example: autophagy, a process in which a cell sequesters part of its contents to be self-digested and recycled, is mediated by the cannabinoid system. While this process keeps normal cells alive, allowing them to maintain a balance between the synthesis, degradation, and subsequent recycling of cellular products, it has a deadly effect on malignant tumor cells, causing them to consume themselves in a programmed cellular suicide. The death of cancer cells, of course, promotes homeostasis and survival at the level of the entire organism
The purpose of the endocannabinoid system is to maintain homeostasis in the body. Homeostasis means that there is a chemical balance inside you. Whenever this balance is disturbed, you become prone to a variety of health conditions, some of which may turn to severe illnesses over time.
How does CBD interact with the endocannabinoid system?
The structure of endocannabinoids is identical as the chemical make-up of phytocannabinoids, the chemical compounds acquired from outside sources; in this particular example, from cannabis.
When you use CBD oil or other hemp-derived products, you deliver cannabidiol to your body. The moment it enters your system, it stimulates certain receptors in the immune and nervous systems.
There are two distinct receptors in the endocannabinoid system: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are spread throughout the entire body, while CB2 receptors are located mostly in the brain.
When it comes to THC and CBD, the two most thoroughly-researched cannabinoids, they act on different receptors. Tetrahydrocannabinol taps to CB2 receptors in the brain where it mimicks the qualities of anandamide. By interacting with CB2 receptors, THC releases its psychoactive properties; this is where the so-called high comes from.
Nonetheless, because THC interacts with the endocannabinoid system, it also helps regulate certain functions in the body.
CBD, on the other hand, doesn’t directly bind to cannabinoid receptors, but instead, it boosts the activity of CB1 receptors. This is why cannabidiol is believed to have strong medical benefits for patients struggling with serious chronic conditions.
But how exactly can CBD improve the quality of one’s life? To answer this question, we have to take a closer look at the characteristics of cannabidiol.
Why CBD matters in your body.
Like we said, the endocannabinoid system exists to maintain homeostasis in the body. It responds to endogeneous cannabinoids produced by humans, but researchers have discovered that ECS reacts to cannabinoids from outside sources, too.
By interacting with CB1 receptors in the body, CBD increases the levels of 2-AG ,one of the endocannabinoids. Like cannabidiol, 2-AG interacts with the endocannabinoid receptors. Its increased production boosts the overal effect on your health.
More interestingly, the contribution to the endocannabinoid system isn’t the only way CBD can affect the body. For instance, CBD taps to a G-protein receptor, also known as TRPV. This receptor controls the body temperature, impacts perceptions of pain, reduces inflammation, and improves the activity of serotonin receptors.
The Benefits of CBD
CBD has shown great promise as an alternative help for people struggling with severe diseases. Anecdotal evidence and preclinical research indicates that cannabidiol may succeed where the pharmaceutical treatment fails. On top of that, hemp-derived CBD is completely safe because it contains little to no THC. Therefore, it’s non-intoxicating.
Because cannabidiol interacts with CB1 receptors, which are found in high concentrations in the immune and nervous systems, the cannabinoid can:
- Reduce inflammation
- Relieve pain
- Combat anxiety
- Regulate hormone levels
- Control appetite
- Boost metabolism
- And much, much more – although we still need more in-depth clinical research on the use of cannabis for the above conditions to prove the anecdotal evidence right
What is Cannabinoid Synergy?
The Cannabinoids each have their own individual properties which is creating plenty of excitement in the scientific community. Besides the Terpenoids and Cannabinoids there are many other vitamins, minerals, phytosterols, pigments, proteins, enzymes, essential sugars, polyphenol antioxidants, flavonoids and essential fatty acids.
It is important to know that while isolated Cannabinoids have their own characteristic properties, the different compounds have synergistic effects when the whole symphony of phytonutrients are consumed together. Synergy means that the combined effect is greater than the sum of the individual parts. Another way of thinking of this is 1+1. You know 1+1=2. When Hemp phytonutrients are consumed together, as they naturally occur in the plant, then it is as if 1+1 now equals 3 or 4 more!
The future of CBD:
Many patients who approach CBD for the first time don’t have a clue about the endocannabinoid system. However, as they learn more about this complex construct and the way CBD interacts with ECS, they begin to understand the health benefits of using cannabidiol-based products.
Above all, CBD is safe; it won’t get you high and you CAN'T OVERDOSE on CBD unlike opioids or other prescription drugs and the side effects involve a dry mouth or drowziness in the worst case scenario.
Hemp-derived cannabidiol is LEGAL in all 50 states, which makes it an easily-accessible medication.
We need more in-depth research in order to discover the true medicinal potential of CBD. Nonetheless, current studies and self-reports from patients and recreational users makes us feel like there’s a bright future ahead of CBD.
The US Government makes many impressive claims about CBD in its patent (#6,630,507) titled CANNABINOIDS AS ANTIOXIDANTS AND NEUROPROTECTANTS stating that:
- "Cannabinoids are potent antioxidents...they easily penetrate tissues giving them the ability to enter the central nervous system and brain."
- "Non-psychoactive Cannabinoids such as CBD are particularly advantageous as they are non-toxic...and exhibit unique antioxidant properties without the undesirable effects of THC."
- "The antioxidant strength of CBD is significantly greater than that of either Vitamin C or Vitamin E."