You may be familiar with THC, the component of marijuana known for getting users 'high'. CBD comes from the same plant or from hemp and is one of 114 different cannabinoids that we currently know of. It has different affects and purposes than THC, so lets learn about it.
THC is the only cannabinoid we know of that gets you high. But all cannabinoids serve a purpose(s), some of which we know more about than others.
CBD is probably the second best known cannabinoid after THC. 2,400 HelloMD members were surveyed and it was found that they take CBD to help with 4 primary things: anxiety, depression, pain, and sleep.
82% of those surveyed said they found CBD to be very or extremely effective. 72% said it worked as well as or better for them than their prescription medication.
Our bodies have a biological system known as the Endocannabinoid System. It's found throughout our central and peripheral nervous systems, and it's made up of endocannabinoids (neurotransmitters), and endocannabinoid receptors (proteins). Endocannabinoids in the blood stream bind with the receptor proteins throughout the body. When these cannabinoids bind with the receptors, they produce unique effects in our physical and cognitive processes (thus, they are known as 'neuromodulators').
Sometimes cannabinoids are produced naturally in the body. Sometimes they enter the body in the food we eat. And certainly, they can also be introduced to the body via smoking of plant matter or consuming extracts from the two cannabis plants: hemp and marijuana.
Effects can be inhibitory or excitatory. Much of the effects depend on the presence and density of the receptors and where they are. In mice, receptors are bountiful in regions of the brain that control motor functions, so the introduction of cannabinoids to a rat's bloodstream often greatly impacts motor control.
Details of how individual cannabinoids affect humans is not as well known, as there hasn't been a lot of research on humans. But we do know that the ECS plays a major role in stress-response, sleep, mood, pain-response, and cognitive/physiological response to voluntary exercise, among other things.
We also know cannabinoids are more potent/effective when administered in unison, hence the common term in the CBD space: full-spectrum (indicating presence of all cannabinoids in the plant matter).
As an interesting side point, the ECS is majorly responsible for the "runners high" we experience after long, arduous exercise. In such cases, the body produces an endocannabinoid called anandamide, which creates feelings of euphoria, happiness, and well-being.
I'm an avid user of it for my flare ups of anxiety, and I swear by the use of it.
Now that CBD is legal in a lot of places it is really starting to show how powerful cannabinoids are.
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