What Is CBD?
What Is It, Why Should I Take It, What Will It Do?
Welcome to your introduction to the health science behind cannabis and CBD, and a truly Irie body and mind. Understanding is the first step towards better health.
CBD: A User’s Definition
CBD stands for Cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is one of at least 113 active cannabinoids identified in the Cannabis Sativa plant. It is a major phytocannabinoid (phytocannabinoid is the name for cannabinoids that occur naturally in plants), accounting for up to 40% of the plant’s extract. Cannabinoids (CBD and THC among many others) are one group of chemical compounds found within the Cannabis plant that provide therapeutic and supportive effects when consumed.
The Endocannabinoid System
The human body naturally produces cannabinoids, which are a key compound responsible for moderating how cells
communicate with each other. This system of regulating cellular function is called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), and it is responsible for maintaining internal stability (homeostasis) and health. When there is a deficiency or problem within the endocannabinoid system, a variety of physical symptoms and imbalances can manifest.
Amazingly, one of the only places in nature cannabinoids occur outside of those humans produce, is in the cannabis sativa flower. By imitating our natural cannabinoids these compounds are able to bind to receptor sites throughout our bodies, helping to insure healthy regulation of all our physiological systems.
The most common Cannabinoids: CBD vs. THC
Perhaps the most commonly known cannabinoid produced by the cannabis plant is Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. THC is the compound that produces a psychoactive effect on the brain, or makes you feel “high”. This high occurs because the receptor sites in the body that THC binds to are found primarily in the brain (CB-1 receptors), and when they bind to these receptors they produce a euphoric effect.
CBD prefers to bind to a variety of different receptor sites found throughout the body (CB-2 receptors). CBD produces no psychoactive effects. Consuming CBD does not affect the way you think or function, but can support a variety of bodily systems by binding to CB-2 receptors.
Different cannabinoids have different effects, depending on what receptors they bind to. CBD and THC are just two members of the cannabinoid family, and though they are the most abundant to occur in the plant naturally, they are not the only ones that can provide relief and health and wellness benefits. CBG, CBN and THCV are other compounds that make up this diverse network, and though more research is needed to truly understand their full nutritional and supplementary effects, new benefits associated with each one are consistently being discovered and analyzed.
It’s a simple idea with infinite implications. The term Entourage Effect was coined by famed cannabis researcher Raphael Mechaloum, organic chemist and professor of Medicinal Chemistry (and the first person to isolate and map the structure of THC). It refers to the beneficial synergy of the myriad of compounds found within the cannabis flower; the way in which all the cannabinoids, essential fatty acids and terpenes work together, increasing each one’s affect on the body. The takeaway is this: the medicinal benefit of using the whole plant far out-strips isolating any single compound. It means the broad spectrum, terpene rich quality of our products actually increases the health benefits of you receive from consuming the CBD.
In recent years, the scientific community’s understanding of terpenes and their nutritional and supplementary properties has grown exponentially. Terpenes, which are produced by the same glands in the cannabis plant that produce cannabinoids, are the oil compounds in cannabis that give each strain its unique scent- they are what make one strain smell like pine, and gives another a distinctly fruity sniffing experience. But terpenes also work in concert with cannabinoids to provide specific health benefits. Some provide gastroprotective effects (like caryophyllene). Others can affect the receptor sites of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, helping to regulate moods and aiding with treatment of anxiety and depression. The terpene myrcene can aid in the passage of beneficial chemicals through the blood-brain barrier. CBD, if accompanied by linalool and limonene, is being studied as an acne treatment. Terpenes mediate our body’s reaction to CBD, and provide a whole new understanding of the health benefits found in whole plant extracts, topicals and concentrates.
Supporting the body’s Endocannabinoid System holistically, with whole plant derived, terpene rich CBD products, allows for a gentle and effective return to healthy regulation and cell communication. With no negative side effects, CBD extracts deliver the benefits of cannabinoids and terpenes by working with your body, not suppressing or altering any part of it. CBD is intriguing in its ability to affect not only the cannabinoid receptors in the brain, but other neurotransmitter receptor sites as well. CBD can also increase the naturally occurring cannabinoids in the body by affecting the enzymes that break them down. This can provide symptom support for everything from depression, anxiety, cancer, inflammation, digestive disorders, epilepsy, seizures, to skin ailments, chronic pain or acute injuries. A powerful neuroprotectant, everyone can benefit from the anti-oxidant effects, and the increased vitality found when our natural systems are properly nourished.