WHAT IS CBD?

Cannabidiol, more popularly known as CBD, is one of the over 100 naturally-occurring chemical compounds (or phytocannabinoids) found in Cannabis sativa. Hemp and marijuana, two of the most commonly known cannabis plants both contain CBD and THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol). The major difference between them is that marijuana has more THC content and lesser CBD, while hemp contains more CBD and lesser THC (0.3%).

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the active compound that is primarily responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana. Cannabidiol (CBD), on the other hand, a major component of hemp, is non-psychoactive or it is non-intoxicating. It is also believed that CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) – the body’s natural system designed for processing cannabinoids.

The ECS is known to play a major role in maintaining the body’s balance or homeostasis. It affects the body’s regulation of sleep, mood, body temperature, and immune responses. And because CBD interacts with the ECS, it only means that it has a role in the regulation of these bodily functions.

HOW DOES CBD WORK IN THE BODY?

Decades of research have shown that CBD helps maintain the body’s homeostasis through its influence on the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This means that CBD is believed to play an important role in supporting the overall well-being of the human body.

 

And though CBD is found in hemp and marijuana, it is not the compound responsible for the psychoactive effects brought about by the latter. THC is the one responsible for causing the “high” which is associated with the use of marijuana (the cannabis plant with a high concentration of THC).

There are two known types of cannabinoid receptors – CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are found predominantly in the central nervous system, which comprises the brain and the spinal cord. CB2 receptors, on the other hand, are more dominant in the peripheral nervous system, comprising of nerve fibers from the CNS and branching towards the different parts and organs of the body.

Both the endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids attach or bind to the receptors thereby stimulating them to produce certain functions and effects on the body.
CBD, the non-intoxicating phytocannabinoid usually interacts with the CB2 receptors sending signals to the different organs and tissues in the body thereby affecting the functions of these bodily systems. And sometimes, CBD also connects with the CB1 receptors causing it to restrict other molecular compounds
such as the THC, from interacting and affecting the CNS.

Normally, the only cannabinoids that are working in the ECS are the endocannabinoids. Without the phytocannabinoids, the ECS uses the endocannabinoids, which the body only creates when needed. The endocannabinoids also have short-range effects and they are also metabolized by the enzymes after they serve their purpose.

There are two primary enzymes responsible for the breakdown of endocannabinoids – the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and the monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL). Both of these enzymes ensure that the endocannabinoids are used by the ECS, but don’t stay within the system longer than they are needed. This degradation process is also one of the unique aspects of endocannabinoids that set them apart from neurotransmitters and hormones.

Phytocannabinoids

Phytocannabinoids are cannabinoids that are naturally found in the oil resin of the cannabis leaves, and buds, while the endocannabinoids are cannabinoids that are produced naturally by our body. The cannabis plant and other plants produce cannabinoids, which interact with our body’s receptors. These plant cannabinoids are known as phyto-cannabinoids. Phyto is a prefix that means “pertaining to derived from plants”. They are categorized as any plant-derived natural product with the capability to directly interact with the body’s cannabinoid receptors or share chemical similarity with cannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids from cannabis have significantly influenced research on the endocannabinoid system. So far, they have become widely known for their medicinal properties in recent years.

ENDOCANNABINOIDS

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a biological system of endocannabinoids, which are endogenous lipid-based retrograde neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors, and cannabinoid receptor proteins that are expressed throughout the vertebrate central nervous system (including the brain) and peripheral nervous system. The endocannabinoid system remains under preliminary research, but may be involved in regulating physiological and cognitive processes, including fertility, pregnancy, during pre-and postnatal development, appetite, pain-sensation, mood and memory, and in mediating the pharmacological effects of cannabis.

It is the most common cannabinoid found in the raw cannabis plant, and just like a lot of cannabinoids it also contains anti-inflammatory properties. It has also shown potential for alleviating spasms, and cell proliferation, as well as in treating nausea and vomiting, and nervous system degeneration. THCA is nonintoxicating, but when decarboxylated (by heat) it converts into the intoxicating THC.

When decarboxylated, CBDA turns into CBD; but when you are taking cannabis in its raw form, you are ingesting CBDA. Studies suggest that it could be an effective anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, and anti-nausea agent.

CBGA is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid that ultimately converts into THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids.Similar to THCA, it also contributes to the anti-inflammatory properties of the cannabis plant.

CBNA is converted from THCA once the latter is oxidized.

CBC is the decarboxylated form of CBCA or cannabichromene carboxylic acid. It is unique to cannabis plants found in tropical regions. Studies show that it is useful for bone growth, pain relief, inflammation, and it helps boost neural cells.

Although only found in trace amounts in cannabis plants, its benefits are not negligible, to say the least. THCV has unique properties that are useful for anxiety, appetite, and bone growth. And it may contribute to the anticonvulsant and anti-epileptic effects of cannabis.

Cannabidivarin, just like its relative CBD, is derived from the cannabinoid precursor CBGVA. CBDV has been found to also have the anticonvulsant and anti-epileptic properties of cannabis.

Cannabigerol is a decarboxylated form of CBGA. It is also a non-intoxicating cannabinoid, and research suggests that it may stimulate appetite, treat irritable bowel syndrome, and Huntington’s disease. With its antibacterial properties, it may also be useful for cell proliferation, bacterial growth, and inflammation.

CBN is commonly found in old or aging cannabis that is why it is also referred to as the degraded form of THC. Aside from being a potent sleep aid, CBN also shows potential in fighting bacteria, pain, convulsion, and inflammation. It has also been shown to stimulate appetite and to help with bone-cell growth.

Commonly known as THC, it is an activator of the CB1 receptor, and it’s the primary psychoactive component of the cannabis plant that causes the “high” sensation among its user. It is the least cannabinoid found in industrial hemp, but it is most abundant in marijuana. THC is useful as a mild painkiller, and it may also have some antioxidant properties.

CBD and Endocannabinoid System

The encodannabinoid system (ECS) is the playing field of cannabidiol and the rest of the phytocannabinoids including THC. If not for the discovery of the ECS in the 1990s, we would not understand how cannabidiol works its wonders in the human body, and how it serves its role in keeping the body’s homeostasis.

The ECS is a complex network composed of cannabinoid receptors, enzymes, and endocannabinoids. An endocannabinoid is a cannabinoid that our bodies naturally produce. CBD, on the other hand, is a phytocannabinoid found in Cannabis sativa. A phytocannabinoid is a cannabinoid that is being synthesized organically in plants. numerous psychotropic and therapeutic effects.

These two cannabinoids are worth noting because endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids react to the same types of receptors that are found throughout the body. This is why phytocannabinoids are particularly useful in the human body. They bring about numerous psychotropic and therapeutic effects.

what are cannabinoid receptors?

The cannabinoid receptors are found entirely throughout the ECS; without them, the endocannabinoid system cannot do its functions.

There are two known types of cannabinoid receptors – CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are found predominantly in the central nervous system, which comprises the brain and the spinal cord. CB2 receptors, on the other hand, are more dominant in the peripheral nervous system, comprising of nerve fibers from the CNS and branching towards the different parts and organs of the body.

Both the endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids attach or bind to the receptors thereby stimulating them to produce certain functions and effects on the body.
CBD, the non-intoxicating phytocannabinoid usually interacts with the CB2 receptors sending signals to the different organs and tissues in the body thereby affecting the functions of these bodily systems. And sometimes, CBD also connects with the CB1 receptors causing it to restrict other molecular compounds
such as the THC, from interacting and affecting the CNS.

Normally, the only cannabinoids that are working in the ECS are the endocannabinoids. Without the phytocannabinoids, the ECS uses the endocannabinoids, which the body only creates when needed. The endocannabinoids also have short-range effects and they are also metabolized by the enzymes after they serve their purpose.

There are two primary enzymes responsible for the breakdown of endocannabinoids – the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and the monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL). Both of these enzymes ensure that the endocannabinoids are used by the ECS, but don’t stay within the system longer than they are needed. This degradation process is also one of the unique aspects of endocannabinoids that set them apart from neurotransmitters and hormones.