CBD, cannabidiol or CBD oil. It’s the hottest topic in wellness right now. It’s rapid rise would have been hard to miss. Ever since the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal use in November 2018 there are more and more stories emerging of cannabis based supplements having a positive impact on the lives of the people that use them. This has all helped to create a huge surge in interest from the wider public, but its still early days and not everyone knows what it actually is.
Here we answer the question…. What is CBD oil and how does it work?
CBD is short for cannabidiol. It is a phytocannabinoid. Phyto means plant. Phytocannabinoids are naturally occurring plant substances found in cannabis plants that stimulate the cannabinoid receptors present within the human body. CBD is one of over 60 naturally occurring phytocannabinoids that can be found specifically in the cannabis plant.
You may already be familiar with another phytocannabinoid, THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid that is commonly associated with the ‘high’ experienced from recreational use of cannabis.
Whilst THC is currently a controlled substance in many countries around the world, CBD is not. CBD is perfectly legal in the majority of places and it doesn’t get you high.
So that’s all well and good but how does it all work? Let me explain little bit further…
The Endogenous Cannabinoid System (ECS)
In order to understand how CBD works in the human body, you have to first understand that we all have an Endogenous Cannabinoid System or ECS. Every persons ECS is unique to them, just like a fingerprint.
You wouldn’t have learned about the ECS in school. You may have learned about the digestive system, the nervous system, the immune system, the pulmonary system, the circulatory system, and the endocrine system but not the ECS. Why is this? It’s because the ECS is such a recent discovery that even the scientists who are familiar working with with the ECS on a daily basis are still figuring out some finer details.
Everything that we understand so far categorically points to the ECS being such an extremely powerful system, one that ultimately regulates all other systems within the body. Like a master key if you will.
When our ECS is working effectively it brings our body into balance, promoting what is know as homeostasis
Homeostasis by definition is – The tendency towards a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, especially as maintained by physiological processes.
The human body is biologically designed to look for balance and homeostasis is the internal balancing system of the body that helps you to function optimally.
There are trillions of cells within our body. These cell all work independently and with each other ensuring that we remain healthy.
One small change in one of the body’s systems will produce a chain reaction that affects one or more of the others.
A great example of the body balancing itself takes place within the hypothalamus. This is a group of nerve cells found deep within our brains that are essential in regulating some key processes we perform every day, which we never notice, even though they are critical to maintaining homeostasis. These include:
- Sleep – Homeostasis is dependent on a healthy sleep-wake cycle. Sleep deficits result in an increase in the duration and intensity of sleep, while too much sleep will decrease sleep propensity
- Blood pressure – This is regulated when cells in the body send feedback to the brain. Cells send signals that widen the blood vessels to eliminate pressure or narrow the vessels to increase pressure.
- Breathing – Respiration rate is affected by how much carbon dioxide you have in your blood, which is controlled and monitored by a part of your brain. This process changes as you engage in certain activities, such as when you breathe deeper and more when you climb up a set of stairs because your muscles are burning more oxygen.
- Mood: Adjusts based on changes, triggers and stresses in the environment.
Simply put, the body is a complex organism with many functions and the ECS plays a key role automatically regulating it’s proper function.
Cannabinoid receptors (CB1 & CB2) and Endocannabinoids
Cannabinoid receptors can be located throughout the body on the surface of cells. The two primary cannabinoid receptors are known as CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are predominantly present in the nervous system, connective tissues, gonads, glands, and organs and CB2 are predominantly found in the immune system.
These receptors are key in communicating instructions to within our cells and triggering the necessary cellular responses.
The body naturally produces its own endocannabinoids and these work by binding to and stimulating our cannabinoid receptors.
Endocannabinoids go to the receptors on the cells and signals are given to the cells, tissues, organs, and systems instructing them what to do. Without cannabinoids these receptors are not stimulated properly and they struggle to function.
This breakdown in communication to our cells can result in various bodily systems failing, which ultimately leads to reduced well being and potentially even disease.
Here is where things get interesting – CBD feeds our receptors
This is where it gets really interesting! Endocannabinoids are signalling molecules that are produced inside of the body. Endo basically means inside or internal. Phytocannabinoids are molecules contained in cannabis plants that are very similar in structure endocannabinoids. The cannabinoids contained within the plant can interact with our receptors in an almost identical way to the cannabinoids our body produces naturally.
Supplementing with CBD –
CBD is highly concentrated in the cannabis plant. So, when you extract CBD from the plant and supplement with it, you are essentially directly feeding your body with very powerful signalling molecules (cannabinoids) that the bodies receptors can easily understand.
CBD interacts directly with your very own endocannabinoid system!
Conclusion – CBD is naturally effective!
Taking a CBD oil as a supplement alongside a healthy lifestyle offers such profound benefits. By supplementing our bodies with CBD we signal the body to restore and support its own natural functions. When we feed our endocannabinoid receptors, our endogenous cannabinoid system is triggered to correct and self-regulate. This all works to promote a feeling of general well being and helps to maintain a healthy body and mind.
Why wouldn’t it be popular!
Please feel free to comment or ask any questions you may have.Some of the most common questions can be found on our FAQS
There is also some good choices for further reading on our CBD Books page
I hope that you have a wonderful day.