There are many studies that talk about the promising health benefits of CBD, but how does it actually work? Here’s a closer look into CBD science.
What exactly is CBD and what does science have to say about these purported benefits?
Cannabinoids, the Endocannabinoid System, and Homeostasis
Believe it or not, there’s an entire system in the human body named after cannabis. Called the “endocannabinoid system”, its discovery resulted from the study of cannabis.
In essence, it’s one of our body’s biochemical communication systems. It affects physiology, mood—or in short—homeostasis.
Homeostasis is the body’s ability to keep physiological processes in constant balance. From internal temperatures to moods, this process maintains the body’s equilibrium. In simpler terms, it’s the process that helps to balance your body’s basic functions.
Think of it this way: If your body temp is too high, you’ll start sweating, right? That sweating is your body’s natural response to bring the temperature down and keep you cool.
These reactions stem from the ECS at work to keep your internal environment balanced.
To do this, the ECS uses cannabinoid receptors present in certain tissues. Scientists say we have at least two of these receptors, known as the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Most of the CB1 receptors are in the central nervous system (in the brain and the spinal cord’s nerves). Whereas the CB2 receptors are in the peripheral nervous system and digestive system. Some are also present in special immune system cells.
Introducing CBD into the body enhances the endocannabinoid system’s efficacy.
A Briefer on Cannabidiol (CBD)
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of several hundred known cannabis constituents. These constituents include dozens of documented cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are active compounds found in cannabis.
In fact, of all these cannabis compounds, CBD is one of the two most researched. CBD and THC are the subjects of most studies since they appear to have the greatest effects on the body.
Unlike THC, cannabidiol doesn’t send your mind and body into a euphoric state. In short, CBD is non-intoxicating, so you won’t get “high” from using it.
How Does CBD Work?
So, how does CBD work to deliver its purported benefits? To understand this better, let’s look at how THC works first.
THC has powerful intoxicating powers because it mimics anandamide. Anandamide is an endocannabinoid said to give people a “rosy disposition.” It not only mimics this substance but also binds to CB1 receptors even more so than anandamide.
This binding action results in an exaggerated response from the body. That rosy disposition turns into a euphoric state. It causes the classic “high” associated with marijuana.
CBD doesn’t have the same tight binding affinity to CB1 or CB2. It does, however, have gentle stimulating (and blocking) effects on both receptors. This then causes a mild activation of the receptors, as well as an increase in CB1 and CB2 production.
This increase sensitizes the body to all the endocannabinoids already present within. As a result, consumption of CBD products may boost mood and pain tolerance without the high.
CBD is Scientifically-Backed, but More Studies are Needed
Thanks in part to scientific literature, cannabis is gaining traction in the medical world. The potential benefits of hemp are beginning to outweigh its bad rap.
Several studies have been performed, but further research is needed to reveal the full potential of cannabinoids and other nutrients found in hemp.
It is our hope that the federal legalization of hemp and hemp-derived products (made possible by the 2018 Farm Bill) will offer more opportunities to study the benefits of this versatile plant.
If you’re new to CBD, check out this list of tips we have to make your first buying experience a success!