The ABC's of CBD

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Now more than ever, information about CBD is booming. With articles, studies and laws being written, It can get a little confusing, so this week I wanted to break everything down and give you the facts. The use of cannabis as a medicinal practice isn’t anything new, although it has gained tremendous popularity in the past few years. Actually, the first recorded practice dates back to somewhere in the 19th century.

Cannabis Sativa itself is a plant (go botanical medicine!). It consists of stems, leaves, flowers and buds. The stems and leaves are referred to as the male portion of the plant; the flowers and buds are referred to as the female part of the plant. Hemp is essentially the same plant as cannabis, however, it contains no more than 0.3% THC whereas cannabis can have up to 30%.

Although cannabis has over 80 chemical compounds, THC and CBD are two of the most studied ones. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive component of cannabis. It produces that “high” or feeling of euphoria. CBD, or cannabidiol, does not contain any THC and is not addictive either. It is solely used for its beneficial effects on the body.

These compounds bind to receptors referred to as CB1 and CB2 - both of which are associated with different tissues in the body.

  • CB1 = the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord)

  • CB2 = the peripheral nervous system (our extremities), immune system and digestive system

These receptors and various enzymes constitute the endocannabinoid system. This system is naturally present in the body and is believed to have formed over time because our ancestors ate animals that ingested feral hemp, gradually exposing us to the plant. This system helps to balance the body and regulate a variety of bodily functions, such as appetite, mood or memory. Most importantly, it can promote healing and for that reason, I love utilizing CBD in my practice. Here are a few of the positive impacts CBD can have on our systems:

Mentally and Emotionally

  • CBD has been shown to produce calming effects on the brain. It also helps with sleep through increasing REM sleep (the deepest sleep) and the production of adenosine, a chemical that promotes sleep and suppresses arousal.

  • In this case, CBD is able to target specific tissues in the body to promote positive effects. On the other hand, THC only masks mental or emotional issues that may be occurring. 

Physically

  • Cannabidiol is anti-inflammatory and therefore, is excellent for pain. Additionally, it acts as a muscle relaxer which can alleviate discomfort. In comparison to many pain medications, CBD is a much less toxic route.

  • It is also wonderful for the immune system. Why? It is able to activate macrophages and neutrophils, two cells that are crucial for immunity. If you struggle with diabetes or obesity, CBD can also help curb insulin sensitivity.

  • Our body has more endocannabinoid receptors than any other kind of receptor in the body. As previously mentioned, this system helps maintain balance or homeostasis within the body. Some scientists believe that a lack of these receptors, referred to as Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency, results in chronic conditions. Migranes, IBS and fibromyalgia are among the ailments studied.

For Fertility

  • CBD has been shown to aid the timing of implantation, lending to a successful pregnancy. Even embryos have cannabinoid receptors! They are responsive to anandamide that is produced in the uterus. It is one of the main endocannabinoids in the body that naturally mimics the effects of CBD. Miscarriages are actually related to an imbalance in anandamide levels. 

As you can see, there are a multitude of areas in which CBD can be beneficial. Luckily, many forms of CBD are accessible and easy to incorporate into your routine. For example, a tincture in your bedtime tea, applying oil or a patch directly to the skin, taking capsules and consuming drinks, edibles or gummies. Be cautious of the latter, however, because of the hidden sugars and additives. The main takeaway for this Tuesday is that CBD is an incredible tool to supplement your wellness journey!

Lana Butner