Throughout the ages, the cannabis plant provided our ancestors with a source of textiles, food and herbal medicine. The evidence of the historical use of the cannabis plants, marijuana, and hemp, has been documented across the continents and cultures worldwide. Cannabis use is deeply rooted in the traditions of herbal medicine. Centuries passed before anyone could understand why cannabis had the potential to alleviate so many seemingly unrelated symptoms.
Over time, marijuana use fell out of favor. Many states started restricting marijuana use beginning in 1906; prohibition began in the 1920s. While the original goal may have been curtailing marijuana use, once it was discovered that hemp was also a variety of cannabis sativa, the two plants were both banned, even though hemp was still considered a valued resource. 1
In the 1980s, our government allocated tens of millions of dollars to prove that marijuana use caused brain damage. When these suspicions were proven false, the Reagan administration funded several studies leading scientists to some pretty amazing discoveries.
While investigating the effects of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the cannabinoid responsible for marijuana’s psychoactive properties, researchers discovered a fascinating system of neurotransmitters and receptors that allow your body and brain to communicate.
While the study of this system is still in its infancy, science has discovered what this system is, what this system does and how it potentially interacts with cannabidiol (CBD). This recently discovered communication system is named for the plant that led researchers down the path to their discoveries. It is called the endocannabinoid system.
You have endocannabinoid receptors throughout your body. These receptors need to be activated by neurotransmitters. This continuous communication network is responsible for the maintenance and function of almost every system in your body, including: 2
Now that you know what your endocannabinoid system does, you may need to know how it works before you can see the potential benefits of supplementing your body’s communication system. The receptors throughout your body need a messenger (neurotransmitter) to unlock the receptor and generate a response. There are two types of messengers.
Endocannabinoids are the neurotransmitters made by your body. The two main endocannabinoids are anandamide and 2-AG (2-arachidonoyl glycerol). The highest concentration of 2- AG is needed in the brain. Anandamide is found in higher concentrations throughout the rest of your body. Your body makes these two lipids as needed and they are broken down quickly.
Exogenous cannabinoids are from a source outside of your body. If you guess we were going to say cannabis, you are right. The important distinction we need to make at this point is that the exogenous cannabinoids, CBD (cannabidiol), extracted from the cannabis plant marijuana also contains high amounts of THC. The cannabidiol from the cannabis plant hemp provides the same potential benefits to your endocannabinoid system, without high levels of THC, without any risk of impairment or intoxication.
Now that you are a little more familiar with the endocannabinoid messengers, it may be beneficial to know a bit more about the endocannabinoid receptors. There are also two.
Although CB1 receptors can be found throughout your body, they are most concentrated in your brain and spinal cord. Their function is determined by their location. For example, the CB1 receptors in your amygdala influence your emotional responses and memory, while the CB1 receptors that regulate your appetite are in your hypothalamus.
CB2 receptors are most concentrated within your immune system and your peripheral nervous system. CB2 receptors control your immune functions and inflammation. Inflammation is now believed to be the source of many health conditions including heart disease.
Researchers believe that the purpose of your endocannabinoid system is to regulate and stabilize the processes necessary for survival (homeostasis). Ideally, this system would stay balanced, and communication would continue uninterrupted.
Unfortunately, when under physical strain or emotional stress, your endocannabinoid system may need more endocannabinoids than your body can produce. Without cannabinoids, the communication system is impaired, and the system can fall out of balance. Some researchers are leaning toward the belief that many conditions may be caused by endocannabinoid deficiencies. 3
That’s where cannabidiol (CBD) comes into the picture. The exogenous cannabinoids in cannabis mimic the effects of the endocannabinoids made by your body, but the effects are stronger and longer lasting. You may notice that the potential benefits of CBD coincide with the functions in your body regulated by your endocannabinoid system. While our ancestors may not have understood why cannabis was so versatile, it appears we have the answer.
Decades ago, hemp was shunned simply for being a cannabis plant. Now the distinction has been made between the cannabinoid sources. Since the CBD extracted from hemp contains only a trace amount of THC, (<0.3 percent), it cannot cause any psychoactive effects and is no longer regulated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Thanks to the Agricultural Act of 2014 (The US Farm Bill), it is once again legal to grow industrial hemp in 19 states for pilot programs and research, will more states hoping to join in.
One of the most prevalent ways to reap the potential rewards of CBD is by using a CBD tincture. When using a tincture, you have several options. Some studies suggest that using the tincture sublingually yields the best results.
To use a tincture in this manner, you simply hold the CBD oil under your tongue for several seconds before swallowing. This allows for some of the cannabinoids in the CBD oil to enter your bloodstream before entering your digestive tract.
Pure CBD extract has a flavor that is often described as earthy, grassy or nutty. It is understandable if holding a plant-based oil under your tongue does not appeal to you. There are many who prefer to mix their CBD oil with their favorite beverage or blend their CBD with yogurt, ice cream or a fruit smoothie.
Many CBD enthusiasts immediately enjoy the flavor of their CBD products, while others develop a taste along the way. For those who prefer to avoid the flavor of their CBD supplements, or prefer the convenience, there is also the option of swallowing your CBD in a capsule.
When selecting a CBD capsule, you are investing in a product that supplies all the potential benefits of CBD supplementation in a form that is much more familiar. Even those who typically use CBD tinctures often keep a supply of capsules on hand for times when convenience matters. There are many advantages, including:
CBD, in any form, is not a medication. It is not a cure for any disorder. CBD is a dietary supplement with the potential to alleviate symptoms that could be caused by an imbalance within your endocannabinoid system.
You need to know that the list of potential benefits is based on laboratory findings, animal research and the testimony of those who find CBD supplements potentially beneficial to their health and well- being. No medical claims are made at this time.
When searching for a CBD oil or capsule, keep in mind that it is best to use CBD sourced from non-GMO, pesticide-free hemp. While insecticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers are often used in farming to promote plant health an increased crop yields, hemp grown for consumption should always be free from these types of contaminants.
That’s because hemp absorbs and retains these compounds. In fact, hemp shows a remarkable ability to remove contaminants from the soil and clear toxins.
Download The Ultimate User Guide to learn more about CBD supplements and the importance of selecting non-GMO, pesticide-free CBD products. We encourage you to absorb all the information you can about your endocannabinoid system and supplementing this system with natural hemp-based products. Whether you prefer capsules, tinctures or vape products, visit CBDistillery to learn more about the potential benefits of CBD and how CBD supplements may benefit you.