What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is the second most abundant phyto-cannabinoid occurring naturally in the cannabis or marijuana plant. Until recently, Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)––the primary active cannabinoid in cannabis––has received the majority of the attention from law enforcement agencies, lawmakers, and everyday people because of its psychoactive properties. But unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive. So in short, CBD does not get the user “high.”
So why haven’t you heard much about CBD until recently? In short, decades-long breeding and hybridization efforts of cannabis have been focused primarily on increasing THC content, while consequently lowering CBD levels. In addition, most research conducted on cannabis has focused on Delta9-THC, not CBD.
Many of these CBD varieties are now satisfying the legal definition of “hemp ” (< 0.3 percent THC). Thus, high CBD cannabis flowers––not just the stalks and leaves––are now being grown legally in multiple states across the U.S., including Kentucky, Oregon, and Colorado, and others.
Full Spectrum & Isolate CBD
Full-Spectrum = CBD + CBG + CBN + Terpenes Isolate. This highly desired cannabinoid is extracted from the hemp plant utilizing a process in which CO2 is placed under low temperatures and high pressure. This allows us to capture CO2 in a liquid state and efficiently draw the CBD and terpenes from the plant material. Though expensive, this safe and gentle extraction method is critical for yielding the highest quality cannabinoids, terpenoids, essential oils, and other compounds found in the hemp plant.
The Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system is comprised of cannabinoids and their receptors. CB1 receptors are primarily found in the brain, while CB2 receptors tend to be found in the body.
Anandamide binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors, and is also known to modulate TRPV-1 receptors (vanilloid receptors).
There are two kinds of cannabinoids that can affect the body. The first group is known as the endocannabinoids. These are cannabinoids produced naturally within the body, and this group includes anandamide and 2-AG.
The second group is known as the phytocannabinoids. “Phyto” is the Greek root for “plant", meaning these compounds come from plants such as marijuana. These include THC, CBD, CBN, and CBG, among others.
Within the endocannabinoid system, there are also enzymes which help break down cannabinoids. FAAH is the enzyme that breaks down anandamide. Interestingly, CBD inhibits this enzyme, causing levels of anandamide in the body to increase.
Endocannabinoids are interesting because they go against the typical flow of neurotransmitters. This kind of signaling is called retrograde transmission, and it is a signature of endocannabinoids, contributing to their unique effects in the body.
Anandamide and other endocannabinoids travel backward and change the flow of other neurotransmitters. This explains why they are often described as modulators — they impact how other systems in the body and brain work.
Where Do Endocannabinoids Come From?
If your body cannot produce enough endocannabinoids, you might be in for some trouble. But, where do endocannabinoids come from, anyway? This question has another simple answer: diet.
Your body creates endocannabinoids with the help of fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are especially important for this. Recent research in animal models has found a connection between diets low in omega-3s and mood changes caused by poor endocannabinoid regulation.
Fortunately, hemp seeds are a quality source of omega-3s. However, fish like salmon and sardines produce a form of omega-3s that is easier for your body to put to use.
Cannabinoid receptors are often what we associate with the endocannabinoid system. But, the ECS is more complicated than that. Enzymes also have a crucial role to play in the process. In the ECS, enzymes break down leftover endocannabinoids.
While THC binds with cannabinoid receptors directly, CBD does not. Instead, it works it’s magic on an enzyme. The enzyme in question is called FAAH, and it is responsible for pulling excess anandamide out of circulation. CBD puts a stop to this. Psychoactive THC works by mimicking the body’s own endocannabinoids. But, CBD increases the amount of endocannabinoids in your system.
CBD stops the enzyme FAAH from breaking down all of the anandamide and therefore makes more of it available for use by your cells. This is why CBD is a natural mood-lifter without psychoactive effects.
This is just a brief overview of the endocannabinoid system. Each year, new studies shed light on what this amazing network does inside our bodies.