Chances are, by now you’ve heard the term CBD on the internet or from a friend. But what is CBD? There are a lot of amazing things about the hemp plant like its many uses and how it’s great for the environment. Yet, one of the most exciting things about the hemp plant is the contributions it can make to modern wellness because of CBD.
What is CBD?
CBD (cannabidiol) is a compound in the hemp plant that has amazing potential for our health.
The History of CBD
Historically, cannabis strains that were CBD-rich or CBD dominant were often used to manage pain. Queen Victoria was known to have used these strains to manage menstrual pain. In the 50s, research and a push for legality began. This is because scientists were able to isolate cannabidiol. More importantly, they could prove that it is a non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant. Today, almost 6000 years after the first cultivation of cannabis, CBD is legal in all 50 states.
How does CBD work?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how CBD works, we need to talk about physiology. We can’t answer the question “what is CBD” without understanding a system within the human body that you may not even know exists!
The Endocannabinoid System
Our bodies have a system known as the endocannabinoid system. We know what you’re thinking: how’s it possible that I have a system in my body that I’ve never heard of? But it’s true – you do. Scientists only discovered it in 1992, which is likely why it hasn’t been focused on very much (or at all until now). Scientists are only beginning to understand how the endocannabinoid system works with other systems – and how a healthy endocannabinoid system can impact the whole body.
Here’s what we do know: the body’s main objective when we talk about health is to stay in a state of homeostasis AKA “balance”. During homeostasis, systems are all functioning as they should and cells are performing at their performing optimally, resulting in good health.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a key role in maintaining homeostasis in all other systems of the body which means it’s crucial in all aspects of our health and wellbeing.
When the endocannabinoid system is properly nourished all the body’s systems come into balance or homeostasis.
CBD nourishes the Endocannabinoid System
This leads us to our original question: what is CBD and how does it work? Our endocannabinoid system naturally produces cannabinoids. However, sometimes our bodies aren’t able to produce enough for the ECS to bring all systems into homeostasis. CBD works by interacting with receptors in the brain and immune system. Chemical signals are passed between different stimuli and your receptors, which regulates things such as mood, pain, and nausea. By supplementing the ECS with cannabinoids from the hemp plant, namely CBD, you provide natural support to your endocannabinoid system. This could help your health in a variety of ways.
It’s because of the ECS’s involvement in every system of the body that CBD seems to have endless possibilities. You might have one friend using CBD to help them get a better night’s sleep while another is helping for smoother digestion. CBD and the endocannabinoid system work together, providing support in a variety of ways.
CBD and Chronic Pain
A 2008 review looked at several studies that examined the analgesic (or pain-relieving) properties of CBD and concluded that there is evidence to support CBD’s efficacy in pain management. The review even noted that CBD could help with insomnia related to chronic pain.
CBD and Anxiety
Physicians generally prescribe benzodiazepines to treat anxiety, but they can be habit-forming and may lead to substance abuse. Additionally, the most popular pharmaceutical options for treating anxiety may come with a host of side effects such as drowsiness, confusion and so forth.
A study has indicated that CBD shows statistically significant efficacy in treating social anxiety related to public speaking as compared to a placebo. Additionally, it can be beneficial in treating anxiety related to post-traumatic stress disorder in both children and adults.
It appears that these properties of CBD are because they work on serotonin receptors. Serotonin levels regulate mood and social behavior.
CBD and Cancer
The research on CBD’s efficiency in treating cancer and chemotherapy-related symptoms is still in its nascent stages. Most studies have been conducted on animals. Nevertheless, future research hopes to examine whether CBD could help with nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy and chronic cancer-related pain. We definitely need more studies before making definitive claims. Still, researchers and sufferers alike seem to be hopeful about these prospects.
CBD the Antioxidant
Numerous ailments ranging from neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s, ALS, multiple sclerosis to the rapid aging process of the human body can be linked to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when pollutants, UV rays, smoking and other stimuli lead to the production of free radicals in the body. Free radicals are essentially molecules that react with cells and change their structure and functioning. Several foods such as dark chocolates, blueberries, and kale contain antioxidants. However, they usually aren’t enough to counter the effects of free radicals.
The US National Institute of Health has recognized CBD’s incredible antioxidant properties that have earned it the title of being a possible ‘neuroprotectant’. This essentially means that CBD could minimize neural damage caused by oxidative stress. It could also potentially support the recovery of damaged neurons. This could mean wonders for the future of neurological research!
As you can see, there is a lot of science behind the ECS and CBD in general. To really dive in deep, we recommend you check out the most thorough guide to the ECS and CBD on the internet.
How to take CBD
There are many delivery systems that you can use to take CBD. The most common include:
Tinctures: CBD oil is dissolved in something such as MCT oil, coconut oil, olive oil, or raw hemp seed oil.
Capsules or Softgels: Get exact dosages in a capsule similar to other vitamins or supplements. This delivery system usually lasts longer throughout the day than others. If you are a vegan, be careful as most are made with gelatin shells.
Vape CBD: CBD vape oil can be put in an vaporizer (vape pen, box mods, etc) the same way you do any other e-liquid. Vaping CBD is a quick delivery system, but the effects will last for 1-4 hours.
Edibles: There are a wide variety of foods infused with CBD. This includes things like lollipops, gummy bears, cookies, and drinks.
A few quick facts about CBD:
- It is not psychoactive/mind-altering
- CBD is present in marijuana and hemp plants
- Most CBD extract in the market comes from hemp plants because it requires less processing
- The hemp plant has more than 113 cannabinoids – CBD is just one!
- CBD makes up about 40% of the compounds in the hemp plant
- Studies suggest that CBD taken in conjunction with the other compounds (AKA full-spectrum CBD) is more bioavailable than CBD isolate.
CBD is the hottest thing in modern wellness. Have you given it a try?