What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (abbreviated CBD) is one of over one hundred organic compounds found inside the hemp plants. This extensive family is called cannabinoids and works together with smaller molecules to produce enzymes and deter plagues. But it is when people consume CBD and other cannabinoids that something truly extraordinary happens.
Cannabinoids can interact with an extensive network of receptors that exist within all of us. The full extent of this interaction is still being investigated but could affect sleep, appetite, mood and much more. Fortunately, CBD can not only interact with our body in several ways, but it is also well tolerated and non-toxic. This advantageous combo has of course led to a sudden increase in interest.
What is the difference between CBD and THC?
You’ve probably heard of THC long before CBD. THC (short for tetrahydrocannabinol) is not only the main reason why marijuana (another subspecies of Cannabis sativa) is illegal in large parts of the modern world, but it is also well known for producing psychotropic side effects (an intoxication).
Fortunately, not all cannabinoids are the same, and although differences in their chemical structure may be small, it is enough to change their effects dramatically.
The differences in the chemical structure of CBD mean that it does not interact with the body in the same way as THC. As a result, it is non-toxic, does not induce intoxication, and according to the World Health Organization (WHO), it has no potential for abuse.
This is how CBD works
Knowing where CBD comes from is one thing, but what does the important interaction we talk about all the time mean? In order for CBD to exert its effects, it needs a point of contact — the endocannabinoid system. The name may sound complicated, but its role is quite simple.
The endocannabinoid system or ECS is found in all mammals, including dogs, cats and even non-mammals such as goldfish. In humans, the role of ECS is a relatively new discovery (early 1990s) and that is why research is still ongoing, but the importance of such a system should not be underestimated.
What we do know is this: ECS acts as a regulatory system that plays a role in the vital organs, brain and nervous and immune systems. Its job is to monitor all these systems and ensure that they are in working order, that they get the resources they need when they need them. If for some reason they do not get it, it will try to see if it can get help by signalling the release of specific biological compounds and enzymes.
CBD acts as a manager of the endocannabinoid system. It is not involved in the daily operation, but it ensures that the body’s enzymes and chemical compounds are where they need to be when necessary. However, CBD can lead from the front, and occasionally interact with receptors linked to ECS.
How CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS)
For ECS to take action, it must be activated by cannabinoids such as CBD. It does so via two types of receptors — CB1 and CB2. Both serve as access points to the ECS — a pathway between the human body and cannabinoids.
CB1 receptors are found mostly in the brain and parts of our central nervous system, while CB2 receptors are found in the immune and digestive systems.
But to ensure that only the right compounds take the right path, the receptors have a kind of “lock”. If a receptor interacts with the right cannabinoid, the pathway is unlocked and ECS takes action.
The “key” of CBD does not fit perfectly into the “lock” of CB1 or CB2 receptors, but it does affect receptors in other ways. Instead of unlocking the path directly, CBD can promote the binding of various chemicals and enzymes.
When this happens, we experience several of the effects that the association has become known for. But while CBD is not the only compound that can stimulate CB1 and CB2 receptors, it is one of the few that has no mind-altering side effects.
CB1 and CB2 receptors are not the only receptors that CBD can affect
CBD’s role as a versatile manager extends far beyond CB1 and CB2 receptors. It can also affect receptors that are not directly linked to ECS. These include receptors that activate the release of serotonin (5-HT), a chemical that promotes feelings of joy and well-being.
How does CBD make you feel?
Each person’s endocannabinoid system is unique, and therefore the effects of CBD can always differ from one person to another. But take a quick look online and you will find hundreds of research papers and even more anecdotal stories about the broad impact of CBD.
You must also keep dose and concentration in mind. The stronger the CBD oil, or the higher the dose, the more powerful its effects, but this does not necessarily have to be the case for everyone. The easiest way to find out how CBD makes you feel is by trying it for yourself. Fortunately, the association is non-toxic, it will not make you tall and it is easy to adapt, even in a hectic lifestyle.
What CBD products are there?
With an idea of how CBD works and the extensive impact it can have, it is logical to get into what different types of products are available. The way we consume CBD not only changes its effects but also how long they last.
Tinctures remains one of the most popular ways to consume CBD. It is easy to dose and, depending on the carrier oil, it provides dozens of secondary nutritional benefits. You also do not need much to feel the effects — a few drops taken during the day may be enough to promote well-being.
Capsules are discreet and simple and contain CBD and an olive oil as a carrier. They are a great option if you need to dose CBD when you are on the go or if you do not like the taste of CBD oil. CBD capsules are available in a variety of concentrations, so it’s easy to match them to your needs.
Topicals localize the effects of CBD. Instead of promoting ECS from the inside of the body, they affect the receptors in the skin, giving a wide range of results. CBD also works harmoniously with many proven skin care ingredients, making it a powerful ally regardless of your beauty routine.
Which product is right for me?
The right product for you will largely depend on your needs and circumstances. Whichever one you choose, it is important to know that there is no superior CBD product, so take the time to find the one that works best. If you are still not sure about the different ways to take CBD, our dedicated article can explain everything you need to know.
Regardless of the product, it is always best to start with a small dose and take it slowly. By that we mean a low concentration of a CBD product that is taken a couple of times a day. With this approach, you not only give your body time to adapt, but it also allows you to find a routine that works for you. People choose to take CBD for a variety of reasons, and it is important that you find the right product to match your needs. Remember that CBD works on a balance principle and it is also applied to how you take it.
We have gone through a lot of information so it is time to summarize. To do so, we return to our example of the CBD acting as a trustee.
CBD promotes the body’s ability to keep everything in proper balance and operation. It can be used in many roles, and by doing so it affects a wide range of biological processes and systems. The compound is well tolerated, with mild potential side effects and it is available in a dozen different formats.
It is important to remember that results can vary — everyone’s bodies are different, including their ECS and receptors. For more information on this phenomenon, check out our blog on CBD dosages. Finally, the key to CBD working for you is to find a recognized manufacturer with verified test results and the power needed to meet your needs.
You will find an industry-leading range of verified CBD oils and topicals via Arktis Naturals’ store. Or you can learn more about the potential of CBD and how cannabinoid receptors work by searching our CBD blog for everything you need to know.