If you’ve ever researched natural health remedies or medical marijuana, you’ve likely come across the three famous letters “CBD”; and perhaps you’ve wondered what it stands for. With its recent rise in popularity, there has been a lot more interest surrounding the compound. CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is a naturally occurring cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant.
Cannabinoids are a class of chemical compounds that work in a similar way to neurotransmitters in the body. So what does this mean? Well, cannabinoids don’t only exist in cannabis, they are also found in the human body. All vertebrates produce cannabinoids, and those found in the human body are referred to as endocannabinoids.
The endocannabinoids have a similar structure to those cannabinoids found in cannabis. This is how and why they are able to act within the system of the human body that is known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). We will explore this in more detail a little later.
Understanding CBD is the key to understanding how CBD products work and why the compound has captured the attention of so many scientists.
What is CBD?
As we’ve already mentioned, CBD is the abbreviation for cannabidiol. It’s one of the primary compounds that is found in the cannabis plant. After tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is a psychoactive compound, CBD is the second-most abundant cannabinoid in the cannabis plant. But unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive – meaning it won’t make users high.
CBD is a natural substance obtained from hemp/cannabis plants, and it may promote wellness without any intoxicating or psychoactive effects. It’s an active compound known as a cannabinoid.
Cannabinoids are the molecules that are responsible for the cannabis plant’s medicinal and recreational properties. Today, there are over 100 known cannabinoids. The most well-known of these cannabinoids is THC, which is most commonly used for its “recreational” properties – it’s psychoactive and intoxicating.
CBD, on the other hand, is non-intoxicating and is typically known for promoting an overall sense of calm, and it may help to bring the body back into balance. You could say that CBD is the yang to THC’s yin; it elevates your level of chill and halts anxiety without intoxication.
More importantly, CBD is known to have many therapeutic benefits, including anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, anti-anxiety, seizure-suppressant, analgesic, and lots more.
How CBD Works
The way in which CBD interacts with body and brain is rather complicated. To date, scientists have found more than a dozen different ways that CBD affects us. It’s highly likely that the beneficial effects of CBD are due to the total of its activation of all of the biological pathways, not one in particular.
CBD interacts directly with numerous proteins in the body and central nervous system – a few of which are components of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). For example, CBD binds to both the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. But it interacts in a way that is essentially the opposite of what THC does.
While THC is an agonist of the CB1 receptors, CBD is an inverse agonist. Basically, CBD is not intoxicating. At a molecular level, CBD does the opposite of what THC does. Our bodies are made up of several other receptor proteins that work in the ECS, like GPR3, GPR6, TRPV1, and TRPV2. CBD binds to all of these, and many of its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects may occur through these pathways.
CBD also has some very important work outside of the ECS. For example, it mildly activates one of the brain’s predominant serotonin receptors, 5-HT1A. This could explain the effects that CBD has on anxiety and depression.
It’s also been found to act at the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) which convey neuroprotection and cardioprotection and halt the proliferation of cancer cells.
CBD Product Types
There are a wide array of CBD products available on the market. Many brands offer CBD in the form of tincture extracts, vape oils, oil concentrates, topicals, pure hemp oil, and even CBD for pets.
You also often have the choice of various CBD-infused foods, like gummies, candy, or chocolates.
CBD has to be ingested – tinctures and pure oils are administered sublingually. This means that you place the oil under the tongue and wait between 1 – 2 minutes to swallow it. Vape oils need to be inhaled using a special vape e-pen.
CBD can also be applied topically. Skin and beauty products infused with CBD are all-natural and thought to be very good for the skin. Many athletes like using CBD salves for joint and muscle pain either before or after workouts. It helps to soothe aches and pains from vigorous exercise.
CBD Derived from Hemp vs. Marijuana
When a person is thinking about using CBD for the first time, they should know where it is sourced from. CBD sourced from marijuana is very different from that is sourced from hemp.
CBD originating from hemp contains little to no THC, and therefore won’t make users high. However, when sourced from marijuana, CBD is found together with THC, and the THC could obviously cause an intoxicating effect – depending on how much of it is present in the final product.
Currently, marijuana is illegal unless you are in a state that allows for medical or recreational use. Hemp CBD, on the other hand, is legal in the majority of states, as long as it’s properly sourced according to the 2018 Farm Bill.
If you want to know if the CBD is sourced from marijuana or hemp, you will need to check the product label or enquire with the company. All reputable and trustworthy CBD companies publish certificates of analysis (COA) or lab reports for their products.
Final Thoughts on What CBD Stands for
While it may be the abbreviation for cannabidiol, CBD really stands for a revolution in the way we view health and wellness. Large populations of people are beginning to realize and utilize CBD for its benefits to balance out the systems of the body. Along with its potential to promote a positive mental state, encourage healthy and restful sleep, support glowing skin, and relieve pain and anxiety, among other ailments, CBD simply helps people live a healthy lifestyle.