CBD 101: Everything to know about cannabidiol
The cannabis plant produces more than a hundred chemical compounds called cannabinoids of which THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are the most famous ones. Cannabinoids interact with the human Endocannabinoid System (ECS) producing diverse physiological effects. Believe it or not, the human body internally produces the same cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, and these “endocannabinoids” have been observed to regulate a wide array of physiological processes, including appetite, sleep, and mood. Using cannabis is simply a way of supplementing the cannabinoids that already exist in the body. While THC may be the most famous cannabinoid due to its psychoactive effects (it makes you feel high), CBD is gaining wide popularity because it’s a non-intoxicating cannabinoid, which means it won’t make you feel high or impaired, but it still influences the cannabinoid system in a way that many people report is helpful.
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CBD and bodily homeostasis
Cannabis science is still in its infancy, and more research is needed before CBD, or any cannabinoid can be claimed to cure or treat any condition. However, of the research conducted thus far, CBD appears to pose some advantages especially regarding bodily “homeostasis,” which, in biological terms, “is the state of steady internal physical and chemical conditions maintained by living systems.” In summation, people are finding CBD useful for conditions like insomnia, appetite loss, anxiety, depression, and more. The most popular theory for why CBD seems to help with such a wide array of conditions is because it acts directly on the Endocannabinoid System to neutralize irregularities pertaining to its functioning (which, as mentioned earlier, is known to regulate sleep, mood, appetite, pain response, and more). In essence, CBD seems to promote “normal” functioning of the body.
Cannabis CBD vs. Cannabis Hemp
More research is suggesting a difference in the quality of CBD derived from cannabis versus hemp, a subspecies of the cannabis plant mostly used for industrial purposes. While most CBD products sold in pharmacies, health food stores, or online are derived from the hemp plant, cannabis CBD is preferred by many medical patients. To date, true cannabis CBD is only purchasable at cannabis dispensaries. The primary reason cannabis CBD can only be bought from a dispensary is that it will often contain trace amounts of THC, pushing it just over the limit for those living outside of legal states.
The Entourage Effect or Whole Plant Medicine Theory
First described in 1998 by Israeli scientists Shimon Ben-Shabat and Raphael Mechoulam, the entourage effect or whole plant medicine states that cannabinoids within the cannabis plant work together in a synergistic way, magnifying the efficacy of the cannabinoids. Specific ratios of CBD:THC, such as a 10:1, 5:1 or 3:1, are quickly gaining popularity following research on the entourage effect. Even trace amounts of THC, for example, <1 mg per serving, can enhance the effect of CBD. Those looking to avoid a psychoactive effect can take comfort in knowing that consuming trace amounts of THC is very unlikely to cause any noticeable effect, while it may potentiate the efficacy of CBD supplements. Conversely, THC users might consider adding CBD to the mix, because CBD is known to help mitigate some of the adverse side effects of THC intoxication (such as racing heart, anxiety, or short-term memory loss). Research, while limited, seems to indicate that combining the cannabinoids in any ratio is vastly more effective than consuming only one or another, supporting a holistic approach to cannabis-based wellness.