What is CBD and the Endocannabinoid System?
If you want to approach the cannabis plant in a proper manner, it’s best to start with learning the science behind the human endocannabinoid system and cannabinoids. Only then will you be able to understand the whole potential of CBD and other phytocannabinoids that bind to certain receptors in the human body.
How well do we know cannabis?
The cultivation of cannabis holds a historical record of 8,000 years. Is it long?
Well, given that the cannabis plant has been growing in the wild all over the world for nearly 37 million years, it’s a ridiculously short period.
But do you know what worries us more? The fact that it took as much as 100 years of false propaganda to make this once revered plant a gateway to hell.
Chewie, we’re home!
Fortunately, now that CBD is legal in all 50 states, and the legalization of cannabis gains pace in the US, the cannabis industry has entered the golden period. People start to recognize CBD and other cannabinoids as a safe alternative to pharmaceutical drugs in terms of dealing with a myriad of chronic diseases.
More importantly, they are eager to learn about the plant. And today, I would like you to learn the science behind the human endocannabinoid system and CBD.
All you need to know about the human endocannabinoid system
The endocannabinoid system is a complex route that is spread throughout the entire human body. This system contains cannabinoids, or simply put, chemical compounds in the cannabis plant that bind to certain receptors in the body.
In order to gain a better understanding of the endocannabinoid system, think about a “key and lock” relation.
In other words, your body comes equipped with a set of locks on the surface of different cells. These locks are known as cannabinoid receptors. The body is also capable of producing keys (endocannabinoids) that bind to these receptors and unlock them.
Cannabis plant, in turn, contains over 85 cannabinoids, or to be more precise, phytocannabinoids. These compounds are capable of binding to endocannabinoid receptors, too, and therefore, they trigger certain reactions in the endocannabinoid system.
The human endocannabinoid system is responsible for a plethora of bodily functions: it brings the balance in the nervous system, regulates metabolism, moderates the work of the immune system, and much more.
This is why CBD, THC and other cannabinoids are believed to help patients combat plenty of chronic illnesses.
Speaking of CBD, let’s bring this cannabinoid a little bit closer.
What is CBD (Cannabidiol)?
CBD is one of the most popular compounds in the cannabis plant. Contrary to THC, cannabidiol has no psychoactive effects whatsoever. In fact, recent studies show that CBD can counter the mind-altering effects of tetrahydrocannabinol.
Now that cannabidiol comes back with all of its glory, scientists are excited to examine its potential in treating a variety of serious conditions. These are:
- chronic pain,
- inflammatory diseases,
- oxidative stress.
It’s quite an impressive list, isn’t it? But how exactly does CBD interact with the human endocannabinoid system?
CBD and cannabinoid receptors
Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol, CBD doesn’t bind directly into any type of cannabinoid receptors. Nevertheless, it does stimulate the activity of both CB1 and CB2 receptors without tapping to them. This results in systemic effects of CBD on the human body.
More interestingly, cannabidiol has been shown to inhibit the mind-altering effects of THC by blocking CB1 receptors from receiving signals from the psychoactive cannabinoid.
A study by the National Institute of Health found that CBD causes the body to release more endogenous cannabinoids, typically 2-AG. Moreover, cannabidiol inhibits the degradation of anandamide.
Last but not least, CBD seems to promote neurogenesis. In short, it supports the growth of new, healthy cells. This, in turn, is why some researchers believe that the combination of concentrated THC and CBD may cause a breakthrough in helping many patients.
The two above features are still not confirmed by double-blind clinical trials, also known as the gold standard for medical studies. There is, however, a lot of anecdotal evidence backed by both animal research and preclinical human studies, so we must stay positive about future findings.
Is CBD safe?
As for now, there has been no scientific record of cannabis-induced deaths. Moreover, while investigating the health benefits of CBD, the medical world has come to a common conclusion. CBD comes with no side effects that could place your health or life at risk.
Is CBD legal?
Yes, CBD is legal in all 50 states. Products based on cannabidiol are completely THC-free, as they are derived from the hemp variety of cannabis. Given this, you won’t face any legal repercussions for using CBD oil, tinctures, or topicals.
Nevertheless, we strongly recommend checking for independent third-party lab testing. Some CBD companies are not transparent when it comes to their products’ content. Therefore, consumers can’t tell what exactly they’re ingesting. Although it’s probably not likely to happen, you may end up buying a CBD product whose THC levels exceed 0.02%, which will be considered illegal in the light of the law. Bottom line? Look for CBD manufacturers who display third party testing evidence on their products and websites.
How to apply CBD?
CBD can be administered in a variety of ways. Thus far, among many popular methods of application, you may find CBD oil, tinctures, capsules, topicals, sprays, concentrates, and even pet care products. In order to decide on a particular product, you must determine your condition and consult the potential use of CBD with a trusted medical professional.
Final thoughts on CBD and the human endocannabinoid system
There is a growing body of evidence that CBD may succeed where prescription drugs fail. The cannabinoid is void of psychoactive properties, helps you regulate both the nervous and immune system, and above all, is safe for use.
Like we said, understanding the relationship between CBD and the human endocannabinoid system is a must if you want to unveil the true potential of cannabidiol. We hope that this article has encouraged you to dig deeper into the subject, as the science behind cannabis is, least to say, exciting.