What is CBD? How does it work?

Many people are seeking alternatives to pharmaceuticals with harsh side effects and look to natures remedies thought to be more in synch with natural processes. By tapping into our endocannabinoid system, CBD may provide relief for chronic pain, anxiety, inflammation, depression and many other conditions.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring compound found in the resinous flower of cannabis and hemp plants with a rich history as a medicine that goes back thousands of years. CBD is one of 100+ phytocannabinoids, or cannabinoids, that can be found in hemp and cannabis, and endow the plants with a robust therapeutic profile. Today the therapeutic properties of CBD are being tested and confirmed by scientists and doctors around the world.

CBD, a non-addictive compound, is closely related to another important medicinally active phytocannabinoid: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - the chemical that causes the high that cannabis is famous for. These are the two components of cannabis that have been most studied by scientists. Research has proven both CBD and THC have significant therapeutic value.

Extensive scientific research – much of it sponsored by the U.S. government – and mounting anecdotal accounts from patients and physicians highlight CBD’s potential as a treatment for a wide range of maladies, including (but not limited to):

· Autoimmune diseases (inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis)

· Neurological conditions (Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Huntington’s chorea, stroke, traumatic brain injury)

· Metabolic syndrome (diabetes, obesity)

· Neuropsychiatric illness (autism, ADHD, PTSD, alcoholism)

· Gut disorders (colitis, Crohn’s)

· Cardiovascular dysfunction (atherosclerosis, arrhythmia)

· Skin disease (acne, dermatitis, psoriasis)

Unlike THC, CBD does not make a person feel “stoned” "high" or intoxicated. That’s because CBD and THC act in different ways in the brain and body. In fact, CBD can actually lessen or neutralize the psychoactive effects of THC, depending on how much of each compound is consumed. This is much of the reason CBD appeals to individuals wanting the health benefits of cannabis without the "high." 

Both CBD and THC can be found in hemp. But, CBD is most often extracted from cannabidiol rich hemp plants containing >.03% TCH. The fact that CBD is therapeutically potent as well as non-intoxicating, and easy to take as a CBD oils and edibles, makes it an appealing remedy for those who are cautious about trying cannabis and hemp products for the first time.

How does CBD work?

CBD interacts with our natural chemistry in several ways. One of the main ways it works in the body is by mimicking and augmenting the effects of thenatural compounds in our bodies called endogenous cannabinoids or endocannabinoids - so named because of their similarity to the compounds found in the cannabis plant. These endocannabinoids are part of an internal regulatory system called the Endocannabinoid System.

The discovery of the endocannabinoid system has given arise to significant advancements in our understanding of health and disease. It has major implications for nearly every area of medical science and helps to explain how and why CBD, and other cannabinoids are such a versatile compounds.

The endocannabinoid system plays a critical role in regulating a range of physiological and psychological processes that affect our everyday experience – our mood, our energy level, our intestinal fortitude, immune activity, blood pressure, bone density, glucose metabolism, how we experience pain, stress, hunger, and more.

Some may ask what happens if the endocannabinoid system doesn’t function properly? Or, what are the consequences of a chronically deficient or overactive endocannabinoid system? In short, the body will not work as efficiently or as effectively as needed and can result in disease and decreased levels of well-being. 

Recently, science has shown that the endocannabinoid system is dysregulated in nearly all pathological conditions. Thus, it stands to reason that “modulating endocannabinoid system activity may have therapeutic potential in almost all diseases affecting humans,” as Pal Pacher and George Kunos, scientists with the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), suggested in a 2014 publication. In summary, science suggests that by modulating the endocannabinoid system and enhancing endocannabinoid tone, CBD and other cannabinoids can potentially slow – or in some cases stop – disease progression.