What is CBD?

Some clinicians think of CBD as a nutrient that our bodies need. The far-reaching impact of CBD and other cannabinoids on the human body is still being discovered by scientists. What we do know is that CBD can promote wellness and treat multiple health conditions.

The Basics:

  • The cannabis plant features about 400 chemicals, including more than 100 phytocannabinoids such as THC and CBD.
  • Cultivars vary by ratios of CBD to THC, which is the most accepted way of indicating the amount of each cannabinoid.
  • Terpenes are intensely aromatic chemicals that give cannabis its aroma and interact with cannabinoids to impart health benefits. Additionally, terpenes have their own health effects irrespective of interactions. 
  • Cannabis interacts both directly and indirectly with the endocannabinoid system, which plays a part in just about every bodily process.
  • CBD works a little differently in the body than does THC. It indirectly interacts with endocannabinoid receptors by modulating them, as well as using other cell signaling systems such as dopamine, serotonin, glutamate, and GABA—all neurotransmitters.
  • CBD also inhibits the breakdown of anandamide, an endocannabinoid produced in the body, making it more available in the brain. 
    The Endocannabinoid System

    Although studies of specific cannabis compounds on the human body are somewhat limited, there was a time when cannabis was at the forefront of U.S. government research. The National Institute on Drug Abuse was trying to prove the negative impacts of cannabis to support the War on Drugs. That is not exactly what happened.
    During this research, scientists discovered the endocannabinoid system (ECS), named for the plant that led to the discovery. Working like a lock-and-key system, the ECS is extremely important because it interacts with multiple systems of the body, including the immune, nervous, and digestive systems. By promoting balance and homeostasis, the ECS helps the body adapt to stressors.