Science of CBD

Everybody Has An Endocannabinoid System

Scientific understanding of Cannabis sativa starts with the discovery in the 1980s of the endocannabinoid system. This endogenous network is a set of G-protein-coupled receptors (CB1 and CB2) that are present in the body of all human beings (and many animals). When cannabidiol (CBD) is consumed it binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the body which initiates a complex chemical reaction that produces anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-anxiety benefits.

A growing body of scientific evidence shows that CBD may also be anti-seizure, antioxidant, neuroprotective, anti-tumor, antifibrotic and anti-psychotic. It is also possible that CBD could be helpful in the treatment of substance abuse and efforts to reduce tobacco use.

Similar to other natural remedies, its effectiveness depends on routine and sustained usage. Dosage amounts will depend on the needs of each individual.

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Crystal structure of the CB1 human cannabinoid receptor as digitally mapped by researchers from the Shanghai Tech University in China and published in Cell (October 2016).
Unlocking the Potential of CBD

CBD’s anti-anxiety benefits are due to how it affects both the limbic and paralimbic areas of the brain. Studies have shown that CBD impacts activity in the areas of the brain (such as the hippocampus) linked to phobias and social anxiety disorders. It is possible that CBD may be able to relieve symptoms for people with clinically significant anxiety.

The ability of CBD to relieve inflammation and address oxidative stress is complex and an area of continued scientific study. One area of research is focusing on CBD’s actions on immune cells, such as monocytes and macrophages that are responsible for inflammatory diseases. Additionally, CBD may provide balance to the body by reducing free radicals and the physical problems they cause.

Unlike THC, the interaction of CBD on the endocannabinoid system does not produce euphoria or intoxication. No "high" results from using CBD. In fact, research has shown that CBD can act as an "inverse agonist" on the endocannabinoid receptors which can actually reverse or mitigate the effects of THC. Without the presence of substantial amounts of THC, using CBD will not produce a “high” no matter how much is consumed. This gives CBD a reassuring positive safety profile in addition to its being non-addictive and currently having no known side effects.

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Industrial Hemp and Marijuana are Different Plants

The naming conventions used by botanists have made understanding the properties of certain plants unnecessarily confusing. For example, take Papaver somniferum, commonly known as opium. Chemicals in the opium plant can be used to manufacture highly potent and deadly narcotics such as heroin and morphine. A synthetic form of the chemical thebaine from opium is used by pharmaceutical companies to produce the addictive pain medication Oxycodone. Another component of opium is used as a cough suppressant (Codeine). Yet, a different strain of the plant can yield poppy seeds that are harmlessly used on bagels and muffins. Another strain of opium is legally sold for flower gardens. Even though all strains of  Papaver somniferum possess various amounts of narcotic chemicals, some plant strains only contain tiny trace amounts that have no effect on the body.

In the case of Cannabis sativa, there are also different versions of the same plant. There is a strain of cannabis commonly referred to as "marijuana" that contains significant percentages of THC that produces a psychedelic effect in the human brain. The strains of cannabis used for medical purposes include Cannabis indica and a high-THC version of Cannabis sativa or hybrids of the two. Industrial hemp used for fiber, food and CBD extracts is a different strain of cannabis that contains high amounts of CBD, but only a trace level of THC (the legal limit is less than 0.3%). Hemp grows differently than marijuana with straight tall stalks rather than being short and bushy. Though the shapes of the leaves are similar between marijuana and industrial hemp, the two plants have some significant differences in how they grow and the chemical makeup inside of them.

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