Updated: Jul 13
CBD 101: WHAT IS CBD & IS IT RIGHT FOR ME?
You may not be aware of it but the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a part of each of our bodies. It is a regulatory system designed to bring us into homeostasis, which balances our health and wellbeing. Furthermore, this system is comprised of receptors that interact only with cannabinoids, the compound found in cannabis. This knowledge has aided further research and discoveries into the medicinal use of cannabis.
When it comes to cannabis, one of the most-studied areas is its use in pain relief. Studies show that including cannabinoids in the symptom management of various conditions, including cancer, the digestive and respiratory systems, the immune system, mental health, and the endocrine system is very beneficial.
CBD stands for cannabidiol, a compound found naturally in hemp that belongs to a larger family of compounds known cannabinoids. The natural properties of CBD that provide a wide spectrum of potential benefits set it apart from other cannabinoids. In the last decade, CBD has gained distinction for the way it interacts with the body systems, and studies suggest it may help support various aspects of health. As a result, thousands are turning to CBD products, such as oils, edibles, and supplements, to help them lead a healthier, more active life naturally.
CBD is an excellent option for those seeking a natural alternative to wellness support. Introducing hemp-derived products to the everyday routine can help with productivity, focus, and pain relief. In the beginning, it is best to try a low-strength product to make it easier for the body to adjust. Always consult a health practitioner or herbalist to determine the best type of CBD product and dosage to use.
WHAT IS HEMP AND IS CBD LEGAL?
Hemp is defined as plants of the Cannabis sativa species that contain less than 0.3% THC, meaning their extracts are non-psychoactive and legal. Hemp is very sustainable and renewable. It can be refined into countless commercial items, including food, paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, animal feed, insulation, and biofuel.
The Agriculture Improvement Bill, also known as the “Farm Bill”, was approved in December of 2018, making hemp legal in the United States. This bill removed industrial hemp from the federal list of controlled substances and recategorized it as an agricultural commodity to be regulated by the Department of Agriculture and individual state agencies. As a result, hemp-derived non-THC products are now available nationwide in the form of oils, edibles, and topicals. In the state of Tennessee, hemp-derived products containing THC are not legal and therefore not available without a doctor’s prescription.
THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM (ECS):
The endocannabinoid system is a large network of receptors and transmitters found throughout the body that are responsible for regulating numerous systems and functions. The ECS itself is made up of three parts:
· Receptors in the nervous system and around the body that endocannabinoids and cannabinoids bond with.
· Enzymes that help break down endocannabinoids and cannabinoids.
The ECS is a natural and crucial part of the body. It is responsible for homeostasis, the optimal balance and stability of the body’s internal environment. The body works continuously to monitor important levels and functions in the body, including temperature, hormone levels, heart functions, and cell health. When something is operating outside of the right range, the body activates the ECS to help correct it. The ECS does this via cannabinoid receptors found in select tissues. There are two types of cannabinoid receptors which are most plentiful in the central nervous system:
· CB1 receptors are found in the central nervous system including the brain and nerves of the spinal cord.
· CB2 receptors are found in the peripheral nervous system including the nerves in the extremities, the digestive system, and specialized cells in the immune system.
Through those receptors, the ECS helps regulate a lot of important functions, such as:
· Immune function.
· Reproduction and fertility.
· Motor control.
· Temperature regulation.
· Pleasure and reward.
The body activates the ECS with precision so that it impacts only what it needs to. For example, if the reproductive hormones are out of whack, it will work to regulate them without altering digestion or immunity. Once the endocannabinoids have done their job and brought things into balance, certain enzymes come along to break them down and prevent them from going too far and upsetting the balance in the opposite direction. It's a precise response. Homeostasis is essential to health and survival, so when the ECS isn't working properly, it can cause a lot of problems.
TYPES OF CBD: FULL-SPECTRUM CBD:
Full-spectrum hemp-derived products contain CBD and less than .3 % THC, along with other cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenoids, and other compounds found naturally in the hemp plant.
Cannabis terpenes are natural compounds found in the flower and bud of the Cannabis sativa plant. These compounds are responsible for cannabis’ aroma, and are thought to help increase the healing properties of the plant. Terpenes are found in essential oils, and are attributed to uplifting, relaxing, or healing effects. There are over 200 different kinds of terpenes that have been identified in the Cannabis sativa plant, and each individual terpene is associated with its own unique effects! The medicinal benefits of terpenes are still being researched, however, recent studies have shown that they work in synergy with CBD and other cannabinoids, to improve the value of cannabis products. The most important value of terpenes, when it comes to cannabinoids, is that they help speed up the absorption of cannabinoids into the bloodstream.
TYPES OF CBD: BROAD-SPECTRUM CBD & CBD ISOLATES:
Broad-spectrum hemp-derived products contain CBD, along with other cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenoids, and other compounds found naturally in the hemp plant, however, the THC has been removed.
CBD Isolates contain pure CBD only and no other cannabinoids or THC. Isolate-based CBD is very safe to consume because the only cannabinoid it contains is the CBD molecule. This means that CBD powder has been isolated and used to prepare the products, which causes them to lose the entourage effect and strong potency. Studies show that the potency of CBD isolate is lower than that of full-spectrum products. CBD isolates are easier to combine with other active ingredients, which makes them an outstanding addition for condition-specific supplements. For example, if you want to address sleeping issues, the combination of CBD isolate with melatonin is a great solution. Similarly, you may benefit from pain-relief creams that combine CBD isolates with lidocaine or capsaicin.