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What Is CBD Exactly And How Does It Work?

What Is CBD Exactly And How Does It Work?

CBD is a component of the cannabis plant that is not psychoactive. The term “CBD” refers to Cannabidiol, which has recently been discussed regularly in mass media and medical journals as a possible health remedy for many ailments. Early findings suggest that CBD also may have far less known side effects than synthetic medications created in a lab for a similar purpose.

Some companies have started to offer CBD elixirs as health boosters, anti-inflammatory supplements, arthritis treatments and more. Perhaps best of all, CBD is a relatively odorless and tasteless substance that can be administered as a liquid in your morning coffee or a fruit smoothie orally. Some adherents choose to use CBD in a cream or ointment as a topical solution for joint pain.

Plenty of Anecdotal CBD Evidence Exists

While there is a substantial amount of anecdotal evidence that CBD does actually help people feel better, uncertainty remains and the medical community is currently doing its best to fully digest all the data that has started to become available since CBD became legal in most States throughout the USA, Canada and elsewhere around the world. A recent report on the Harvard University Health Blog (study can be found in the references section at the bottom) plainly asks the opening question: “Cannabidiol (CBD) — what we know and what we don’t.”

So, you may have dozens of friends and family members who swear that CBD helped them with things ranging from chronic joint pain, to nausea, migraine cluster headaches, digestive trouble, and many other health complications, it is worth noting that these findings have not yet been scientifically proven or fully accepted by the medical authorities responsible for public health.

Understanding The Endocannabinoid system (ECS)

The human Endocannabinoid system is comprised of a large network of cannabinoid receptors present throughout the body. What many people do not know is that the human endocannabinoid system already releases organic cannabinoids internally and those cannabinoids interact with receptors found in virtually all of the biological tissue in our bodies.

CBD supplements are sometimes referred to as phyto-cannabinoids because they come from plant matter like cannabis rather than your own internal organs. Phyto-cannabinoids are widely believed to boost the uptake of your own organic endocannabinoid compounds as well as becoming an independent source of additional nourishment.

The endocannabinoid system is often bisected into two main parts. The CB1 and CB2 receptors serve somewhat different functions and work in unison to promote a healthy balance throughout the body.

CB1 And CB2 Receptors: How It All Works

CB1 receptors are concentrated primarily within the brain and central nervous system. CB2 receptors are found primarily in peripheral organs and cells believed to be associated with the human immune system. Some experts have described their interactions as a “lock and key” distribution network, where CB1 receptors open pathways to CB2 receptors, which are stimulated by the infusion of CBD in ways that promote health and wellness at a homeopathic level.

According to a recent article published in Medical News Today, it is now believed that CBD supplements do not directly attach to or interact with CB1 or CB2 receptors. They appear to have a catalytic effect that rapidly accelerates the body’s ability to produce and process the organic endocannabinoids it is already producing for itself organically.

Are There Any Known Side Effects of Taking CBD

One area of scrutiny currently is the search for any interactions with other medications or supplements a person is already consuming. For example, some studies have shown an increase the level in your blood of the blood thinner Coumadin. That is of specific importance if you happen to be a patient who regularly takes Coumadin, but CBD is far from being the only cause of this kind of effect, as other substances as common as grapefruit juice have been found to have a similar impact on your circulatory system.

Currently the FDA does not officially regulate the safety or purity of any dietary supplements. While Cannabis is now legal for consumption in most states, it continues to be restricted by federal regulations. Those same regulations prevent the FDA from instituting meaningful standards for CBD suppliers and consumers to abide by in all instances. That makes the level of trust you have in your CBD manufacturer far more important, as is the case with any other health supplement.

Proper CBD Dosage And Digestion Methods

Due to the fact that the FDA and other governmental agencies are taking a hands-off approach to the regulation of CBD specifically (and cannabis in general), there is insufficient data available to standardize dosages or to provide new CBD consumers with information about the method of digestion most likely to help them. For example, it is not known if CBD works better when taken in the morning or at night, whether it is better to consume it on an empty stomach or with a meal and so on. That has caused most CBD adherents to use an incremental approach. Starting with a very small amount of CBD and gradually increasing the amount until reaching the desired effect.

As one example, many people have already stated that CBD has helped them with joint and muscle pain after working out at the gym. However, it remains unclear whether CBD as a daily supplement taken as part of your meal plan by itself is enhanced if you also make use of CBD creams and ointments to the specific area of discomfort after your exercise is complete. More data analysis is needed, and while companies in the CBD field are already hard at work compiling information as best they can, the full scientific results will likely remain uncertain until a time when the FDA and other large governmental entities join the effort to understand CBD completely.

History May Be The Best CBD Indicator Available Now

Ironically, CBD is now being discussed as if it was an entirely new class of health supplements when in fact humans have been consuming cannabis in various forms for more than a thousand years already. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a phytocannabinoid that was “discovered” in 1940 according to a report published in the US National Library of Medicine for the National Institutes of Health.

Cannabidiol is one of more than 113 identified cannabinoids in cannabis plants and accounts for up to 40% of the plant's extract. However, as there is evidence humans have been consuming cannabis in its entirely for more than a millennia it is fair to say that the scientific component discovery in 1940 came centuries after people had already started experimenting with CBD.

It is not a proven that CBD is completely safe for otherwise healthy people to consume, but the fact that people have been consuming it without any widely reported incidents of risk for more than a thousand years would seem to suggest it is a more reliable supplement than any other on the market currently.

Does CBD Make You “High”?

A common cause of confusion is the fact that CBD is derived from the cannabis plant. Cannabis plants do also contains Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The euphoria and blissful feeling of “smoking pot” comes from the THC a person inhales. However, CBD supplements are made by extracting the CBD from the plan without any of the THC being included in the final product. That is why you will see products clearly labeled to show what percentage of the product is CBD, and what percentage if any is THC.

There are products sold in stores that offer a hybrid mix of THC and CBD, or only THC and those products will definitely make you “high” so if that is not a desired result they should be avoided. However, a product containing 0 THC and 100% CBD will not in any way cause any changes to your mental capacity. THC is “psychoactive”, meaning it affects the way your brain works. CBD is complete “NON- psychoactive” which means it has absolutely zero impact on the way your mind operates.

As with any health supplement you should always consult your doctor, should start with a very low dosage, and must test any impact on you in a safe environment. You should not drive or operate any heavy machinery the first time you try any health supplement. Once you have experienced the impact of CBD and are comfortable with the results you can resume normally day-to-day activities at your own pace.

A Final Word On CBD

Websites like this one, medical journals like the ones linked in this article and many other sources are doing our best to fully inform you of what CBD is, how it works and why so many people have said they find it helpful. It is always essential that you get the facts before trying any supplement or making any significant change to your daily regimen. The notion that CBD is a miracle “cure all” remains false. However, if you are suffering from any sort of chronic pain, discomfort, insomnia, inflammation or other maladies there is definitely enough anecdotal evidence about CBD available that it makes sense for you to look into CBD further and make your own decisions about whether CBD is right for you. It could be a very positive step forward toward a healthier and happier life.


(1) Harvard University Health Blog Study

(2) US National Library of Medicine Study

(3) Medical News Today Article