The Science Behind CBD (Cannabidiol)
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the main active cannabinoids present in hemp and cannabis plants, the other being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive. This means it produces no psychological effects and there is no ‘high.’ CBD works in conjunction with a major regulatory system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
How does CBD work?
The ECS is comprised of numerous endogenous cannabinoid receptors. The receptors are located all throughout the body. The endocannabinoid system is largely responsible for regulating many bodily functions including mood, memory, appetite, and pain sensation.
CBD primarily interacts with two receptors, known as CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors primarily are found in the brain and throughout the nervous system. CB2 receptors primarily are located in the immune system.
CB1 and CB2 receptors have different functions. CB1 receptors work with the rest of the body to produce and release various neurotransmitters. These receptors also are involved in the lipogenesis process, which is the metabolic formation of fat that occurs within the liver. On the other hand, CB2 receptors which mostly are found on immune cells, primarily are involved with immune system processes, including apoptosis and immune suppression.
The receptors located in the endocannabinoid system can be stimulated in two ways: by the body’s naturally occurring cannabinoids, or by cannabinoids such as CBD and THC. However, CBD does not directly stimulate these receptors. Instead, it signals the body’s naturally occurring cannabinoids to activate the receptors. This, in turn, causes the receptors to simply do more of what they normally do.
In addition to CB1 and CB2 receptors, CBD works with several other receptors as well. For example, CBD directly activates a receptor in the serotonin system called 5-HT1A. This receptor causes an anti-anxiety effect. Because of this effect, the receptor also is involved in a number of other biological and neurological processes, including sleep, nausea, appetite, and even addiction.
How to choose a CBD product
Before buying any CBD product, it’s very important to research the source thoroughly. Many factors go into a safe and effective final product, so keep those in mind. One of the most important things to remember is that only hemp-derived CBD is legal in all 50 states. The CBD also must be derived from hemp overseas, not hemp grown in the United States.
If you wish to buy cannabis-derived CBD, which typically contains THC as well, you should make sure you are well-educated on your state laws. Cannabis-derived CBD is still illegal at the federal level.
It’s also crucial to know the growing conditions of the plants from which your CBD was harvested. Ideally, the plants should be grown organically. This means they are free from herbicides, pesticides, and any other harmful chemicals.
The reason this is so important is because hemp actually absorbs nutrients and chemicals from the surrounding soil, both good and bad. So, if chemicals are used in the growing process, or if chemicals are present in the soil, they will end up in the final CBD product as well.
The final factor to take into consideration when purchasing a CBD product is the extraction method used. If a high heat method is used, the CBD likely will have lost the majority of its medicinal value and its integrity will have been destroyed. Instead, the ideal extraction method is carbon dioxide, or CO2. Using CO2 allows the CBD to remain unharmed and at its full potency.
→ For more information on how to choose a high-quality CBD product, click here.
How to administer CBD
There are several ways to administer CBD. Some products are administered topically, others orally, and some even sublingually (placed underneath the tongue). CBD products typically come in one of several forms, including tinctures, balms, oils, and more.
→ For more information on how to properly dose your CBD, click here.
Therapeutic applications of CBD
Preliminary studies have shown many promising health benefits of CBD.
Medicinal properties of CBD include:
- Antiemetic (reduces nausea and vomiting)
- Anticonvulsant (suppresses seizure activity)
- Anxiolytic (combats anxiety)
- Analgesic (relieves pain)
Due to its numerous medicinal properties, CBD may be effective in treating a multitude of health conditions. For example, because of its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD is helpful in treating arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and Crohn’s Disease.
In addition, people suffering from health conditions such as various anxiety/depressive disorders can benefit from CBD’s antidepressant and anxiolytic properties. Because CBD directly activates receptors in the serotonin system, consuming it enhances one’s mood.
These are just a few of the conditions CBD is known to assist in treating.
CBD is a cannabinoid with numerous medicinal and therapeutic applications. Because it works directly with the ECS, it is considered to be a natural alternative to many traditional therapies and medications. CBD contains numerous medicinal properties and may assist in the treatment of a number of health conditions.
Disclaimer: While initial studies have found promising evidence that CBD is effective in treating a multitude of health conditions, the findings still need additional scientific research to be accepted into the medical community. Remember to always consult your doctor or another health professional before incorporating CBD into your treatment regimen. This is especially important if you are already taking medication.
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