CBD is one of the buzziest, most-talked about supplements in the health and wellness sphere these days.
Everyone from celebs to influencers on the ‘gram are raving about the benefits of CBD. While it’s fairly impossible to miss the buzz about CBD, it’s even harder to find any clear-cut info on its benefits and how it actually works in our bodies.
If it seems like there’s been a serious boost in CBD oil’s airtime in the press lately, it’s because there has been.
Science and the general public continue to examine and uncover benefits of CBD to learn more about its effects, though we’re likely just at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fully understanding the possible effects and healing benefits of CBD oil.
CBD is being hailed as a powerful answer to a range of health woes without the mind-altering effect of THC, or the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs.
From anxiety to insomnia (and many more benefits), CBD is being hailed as a powerful answer to a range of health woes without the mind-altering effect of THC, or the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs.
As with any trending health supplement or ingredient though, the more hype there is around it, the more mumbo-jumbo gets introduced to the mix.
This article will help you sort through it and learn the truth about CBD, just what it is, how it works, and how it can benefit you.
Let’s Begin with the Basics: What is CBD?
In short, CBD is cannabidiol oil, one of the naturally-occurring components of the substance collectively known as cannabis. CBD is extracted from the hemp plant and works with your endocannabinoid system. CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it is THC-free and does not make you high.
In fact, the hemp plant is a lot more complex than you might have realized, with somewhere in the neighborhood of 85-100+ known distinctive compounds that can be extracted from it.
You’ve probably heard of the other well-known compound in cannabis – THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the different part of the plant responsible for the psychoactive effect of marijuana – AKA what makes you high.
In a cannabis plant, THC is the most abundant compound, though different plants have different ratios of THC and CBD, hence what makes one “strain” different from another.
You may have also heard CBD referred to as hemp-derived CBD oil, or CBD-rich hemp oil, but whatever you call it, this natural compound is safe to be used and studies show CBD can alleviate a wide variety of medical ailments from more serious things like seizures and epilepsy to eczema, anxiety, and menstrual cramps.
Another common point of confusion? CBD is not the same thing at all as its cousin THC – and it’s also not medical marijuana – and is therefore is legal and easy to purchase wherever you live – no prescription or card needed.
How Does CBD Work?
We sat down with Caryn Dunayer, Co-Founder and President of cbdMD, a leader in the CBD industry, to help us understand the ins and outs of the “gold rush” of CBD. Our first question: How does CBD work, exactly?
Caryn Dunayer: Like any medicine (natural or man-made in a lab), when we take CBD oil, a certain effect is triggered in the brain. CBD oil specifically works through the body’s endocannabinoid (ECS) system, which is at the helm of many processes in the body ranging from sleep to appetite to pain.
YogiApproved: What are endocannabinoids exactly?
Dunayer: Within the endocannabinoid system, our body creates neurotransmitters which bind to the cannabinoid receptors housed in our nervous system. These receptors are found throughout our brain and entire body.
When we take THC, the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors are activated. However, CBD doesn’t mess with these receptors in any way—hence the lack of high and the difference in the way our body uses it.
YogiApproved: So, what does CBD do?
Dunayer: Unlike with THC, when we consume CBD, through an oil or gummy or any number of ways, it stimulates different receptors such as the vanilloid pain receptor, adenosine, and serotonin receptors which promote overall wellness.
Which brings us to the next main point . . .
The Health Benefits of CBD
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As one example of CBD’s power, when the adenosine receptors are activated, they in turn regulate the release of dopamine and glutamate. This affects cognition, learning, memory, and even more abstract things in the body like motivation and reward mechanisms.
The adenosine receptors have also been linked to significant cardiovascular function, blood flow, in the body, and broad anti-inflammatory effects.
At higher doses, CBD can activate certain serotonin receptors and create an antidepressant effect, while also helping with issues related to addiction, appetite, sleep, and pain perception.
Here’s a List of Common CBD Benefits:
- Pain management
- Improved sleep
- Increased circulation
- Regulate hormones
- Stress and anxiety support
CBD Is an Antioxidant and Therefore Fights Free Radicals
You’ve almost certainly heard of terms like “antioxidants” and “free radicals” and surprise surprise, CBD plays a role there too. CBD itself is a powerful antioxidant, responsible for fighting the harmful effects of free radicals in the body.
When you read an article that recommends eating more blueberries or pomegranates (just to name a few well-known antioxidants), the reason is the same: all antioxidants – including CBD – swoop in and bind to the free radicals (which left unchecked can wreak havoc in our systems).
By halting the destructive powers of free radicals, antioxidants are able to slow aging, decrease inflammation and oxidative stress, and more.
Basically every major illness from cardiovascular to autoimmune to cancer have their basis (at least partially), in free radical damage. To put it simply, CBD has been found to be a potent remedy for just about every chronic disease out there.
While we’re only starting to understand the full impacts of CBD, people have noticed its effects for a lot longer than you may think . . .
Archeologists have found records of cannabis sativa being grown around the birth of agriculture itself, and humans throughout history used it for its medical benefits.
CBD Can Help Block Cancer Cells
Studies have found that CBD has a direct impact on the role of GPR55 in our bodies—another specific receptor, and particularly important one at that.
Since GPR55 has been found to have a direct role in the expression of cancer cells (as well as osteoporosis), the fact that CBD suppresses this receptor is huge in terms of its ability to fight cancer.
By blocking the power of GPR55, CBD can help halt the growth of cancerous cells. Other studies have found this same link between CBD and anti-cancer benefits, with some suggesting combining CBD and THC for the maximum benefits.
Interested in Trying CBD for Yourself? Here’s What You Need to Know
If you’re worried about the legality of CBD, the first thing to know is that while general consensus is that CBD is legal, it’s actually not quite that straightforward.
While true that CBD is legal in all 50 states with no prescription required, the CBD in question matters. AKA: not all CBD is created equal. There is both hemp-derived and marijuana-derived CBD, and while the former is totally legal everywhere, marijuana-derived CBD doesn’t enjoy quite the same liberties.
There are currently 8 states where CBD, no matter the origin, is totally legal, and many more where any CBD with a prescription is legal. And yes, in all 50, hemp-derived CBD oil is totally legal.
Dunayer of cbdMD recommends you follow these 3 tips when looking for the right CBD:
1. Know what to expect
Be clear on what CBD can and can’t do
2. Identify your individual needs
With an abundance of offerings in the market, you’ll need to determine what results you’re seeking before diving in. For example, CBD topicals and CBD tincture drops will not have the same effects.
3. Learn to spot quality
It’s important to do your due diligence and determine who the real players in the game are.
If you’re looking to get some CBD for yourself, your best bet, is to check out the laws in your state with a quick google search. Better yet, you can head to your local CBD oil dispensary where the employees should be totally up to snuff on the latest regulation and laws.
For a quick breakdown, find your state and check out the most current laws here.
If oil isn’t your thing, new renditions of CBD oil products are cropping up all the time, so you can pick up some CBD gummies, CBD topicals, bath bombs, and even pet products for your furry friends at home!
CBD: The Takeaway
As we continue to further research and understand CBD and its wide-reaching benefits, you can keep an eye out for new products, increasing legality, and more and more knowledge coming to light.
As always, consult with your doctor or a healthcare professional before changing up your routine or trying a new supplement. If you give CBD oil a shot, enjoy the myriad of benefits from one of nature’s most potent elixirs.
All included information is not intended to treat or diagnose. The views expressed are those of the author and should be attributed solely to the author. For medical questions, please consult your healthcare provider.