What is CBD?
CBD is one of 400 different compounds produced by the cannabis plant. Out of these 400 compounds, approximately 60-70 are unique to the plant genus cannabis which scientists call cannabinoids. CBD is one of these cannabinoids and exerts its medicinal and therapeutic effects by interacting with our Endocannabinoid System. CBD is non-intoxicating and as such cannot get you high.
CBD has two main sources from which it is principally derived, hemp plants and marijuana plants. CBD from industrial hemp (and industrially grown Cannabis Sativa plant principally grown for fiber and seed) has less than 0.03% associated THC. CBD derived from marijuana plants may have associated THC levels ranging from 0.03% all the way up to as much as 15-20% in some hybrids. In a marijuana illegal state your CBD will principally be hemp derived. The general consensus is that CBD derived from marijuana is more potent and effective, the entourage effect, or that multiple cannabinoids work better than one in isolation. Extracting CBD from cannabis flower keeps the other cannabinoids intact which is why most manufacturers and individuals prefer it. Simply stated, the flower of the cannabis plant is richer and has a wider complement of cannabinoids compared to an industrial hemp plant for which most of the CBD is principally derived from the stalk and leaves with few other, if any, cannabinoids.
What is the Endocannabinoids system?
The Endocannabinoid System is a body wide surveillance and signaling system designed to keep us in good health. As a system, its discovery in the late 1980s occurred while researching how THC exerts its effects in the body.
The Endocannabinoid System monitors our intracellular and extracellular chemistry and responds to changes that might occur as a result of disease, illness or injury. When these changes occur, the Endocannabinoid System initiates, on demand, the production of certain molecules (called Endocannabinoids) which send out biological signals designed to improve the situation and bring us back into good health.
What are cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are a class of diverse chemical compounds that act on cannabinoid receptors. Think of cannabinoids as a key and receptors as a lock. When the key enters the lock with the right fit the lock turns resulting in a biological signal. That signal could be to decrease pain perception, lower blood pressure, manage inflammation, reduce anxiety or increase appetite just to name a few. Cannabinoids are divided into 3 main types. The first type of cannabinoid are Phytocannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids are those produced and concentrated in the resinous glands of the Cannabis Sativa plant of which approximately 113 have been identified to date. The second group of cannabinoids are Endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are a group of cannabinoids produced in almost every organism in the animal kingdom, is naturally produced, and binds with cannabinoid receptors forming our Endocannabinoid System. The third type of cannabinoids are synthetic cannabinoids. Synthetic cannabinoids are, as stated, fully synthetic or created in the lab. The most common synthetic cannabinoid would be Dronabinol which is a synthetic delta 9 THC under the trade or brand-name of Marinol.
How does CBD work?
CBD is a cannabinoid, which is a compound, and is able to lock or bind to certain sites on cell surfaces. The cell surface binding interaction between the CBD and the receptors will result in some modification of that cells activity, unique to that individual cell type. A few examples of these modifications may include 1. CBD binding to receptors on the surface of immune cells to decrease cytokine production resulting in decreased inflammation. 2. CBD binding serotonin receptors to help modulate depression. 3. CBD binding to Central nervous system cannabinoid receptors to modulate the effects of THC. 4. CBD binding to receptors at nerve cell synapses to modulate nerve conduction. 5. CBD supplementing our natural Endocannabinoid levels during states of deficiency. 6. CBD’s ability to modulate certain enzyme activity to increase our natural Endocannabinoid levels specifically and Anandamide. This is but a few of the multitude of activities and functions that CBD performs in the body to help keep us in our best state of health.