In this first feature from "Your Essential Guide to Cannabis Wellness" we look at the molecule that is CBD, where it comes from and how it works.
Cannabis is a fascinating plant that has been used throughout history for its healing qualities. Its modern medicinal uses are only starting to be revealed. What we know so far is that its many parts and constituents have shown remarkable potential to help everything from anxiety to pain management, sleep to skin care.
CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is a type of cannabinoid, and is a non-intoxicating compound found in the cannabis plant. CBD is the compound responsible for the overwhelmingly positive side effects and benefits of Cannabis, whereas THC is solely responsible for the ‘high’. While CBD can have many positive side effects (aiding in sleep, pain relief, and easing anxiety) our CBD will not get you high.
Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that make up the Cannabis plant. There are over 113 unique cannabinoids, CBD and THC being the most well-known and studied. Both are unique cannabinoids with separate properties and offer an array of therapeutic benefits. They work by imitating compounds our bodies naturally produce, called endocannabinoids, which activate to maintain internal stability and health.
CBD was discovered in 1942, two years after the first individual cannabinoid discovery was made. CBD until recent years was believed to be a natural precursor to THC because of its molecular similarity. We now know that this wonder compound is produced independently from THC in the cannabis plant.
How CBD works?
- In recent years, scientists discovered that we have a complex network of cannabinoid receptors in our bodies which work to improve communication with our brains
- This network of receptors is now known as the endocannabinoid system or ECS (just like a respiratory system, immune system, nervous system etc.)
- As a communication network, the ECS alerts the brain to where there too much or too little activity in these various systems and other parts of the body - working to regulate and restore balance (“homeostasis”)
- Cannabinoids like CBD stimulate the ECS, improving communication with the brain, and its ability to restore biological balance results in a variety of physical and mental health benefits.
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