WHAT IS CBD?

CBD is the common abbreviation for Cannabidiol. It’s one of over a hundred naturally-occurring compounds known as phytocannabinoids that are unique to the cannabis plant. CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning that there are no mind-altering effects. It works by interacting with an extensive system of receptors in your body called the endocannabinoid system. 

Because non-psychoactive, hemp-derived CBD has only recently been legalized across the country, most research on the medical applications of CBD is still in the preclinical phase. Preclinical research on CBD points to a wide variety of potential medical and wellness applications, including the reduction of inflammation, management of pain, and regulation of mood and sleep cycles.

WHAT IS THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM?

Nearly every animal, from the simplest multi-cell creature to the most complex mammal, has an endocannabinoid system. The system has two main parts: cannabinoid receptors and the endocannabinoids themselves.

There are actually two kinds of cannabinoids: the kind produced by our bodies, called endocannabinoids, and the kind produced by the cannabis plant, called phytocannabinoids.

In the early 1990’s, a scientist by the name of Raphael Mechoulam was researching the phytocannabinoid THC. That’s the phytocannabinoid found in marijuana that’s responsible for its mind-altering effects. But how does THC change our feelings and perceptions? That’s what Mechoulam was trying to figure out.

His research revealed that phytocannabinoids bind to an extensive network of receptors in our bodies. That’s why they can have such strong physical and psychological effects. Receptors in different areas of the body regulate different systems. There are receptors in our spine that help regulate pain perception, and receptors in our gut that help regulate appetite and digestion. Although research on the endocannabinoid system is far from complete, many scientists hypothesize that every major system in our bodies is impacted in some way.

This monumental discovery paved the way for a new generation of neurological research. Within a few years, scientists learned that there are actually more cannabinoid receptors in the brain than any other neurotransmitter. Mechoulam told the world, “By using a plant that has been around for thousands of years, we discovered a new physiological system of immense importance. We wouldn’t have been able to get there if we had not looked at the plant.”

We now know that the endocannabinoid system regulates pain, inflammation, appetite, metabolism, sleep cycles, hormones, gastrointestinal function, immunity, memory, and mood. That’s why CBD, a powerful phytocannabinoid, can have so many beneficial effects on our bodies. By working with our endocannabinoid system, it can bind with our cannabinoid receptors to support the healthy functioning of our most important biological systems.