The good news is there are lots of options. Scientists, healthcare providers, and people reporting their own personal experiences using CBD are providing us with more insights into how CBD works and its potential benefits. Unfortunately, there is also some not so good news. All products on the market are not of equal quality, all of the information you hear may not be accurate, and not all healthcare providers have experience in this area.
Okay, so lots of information about CBD is available and there are lots of products to choose from but not all information and not all products are equal…..
Here are some steps to help highlight some of the important trees in this CBD forest:
What is CBD and how does it work?
(knowledge is indeed power and the first step to finding out if CBD could help you is to find out what it is and how it works in the body)
Where are you going to get your CBD product from?
(All CBD products are not created equal. Knowing the who, what, what, when, where and how of your CBD product’s origin is very important. Online and in person purchasing is also an important component to your overall experience)
How to choose a CBD product
(tinctures, topicals, edibles, smokeables and more)
How do you know how much CBD to take?
(the answer can depend on quite a few things)
Only 4 steps, that seems doable. Let’s focus on step 1 today (trust me, you’ll thank me later)
What Is CBD and How Does It Work?
In order to explain CBD, it is necessary first to explain the endocannabinoid system. Everyone has an endocannabinoid system (ECS) just like everyone has a cardiovascular system or a neurovascular system. In fact, any living creature with a vertebrae has an endocannabinoid system (this means that our much loved animal companions also have an ECS, but more on that another day!)
The ECS is responsible for maintaining homeostasis or the balance and stability within your body. If an event such as pain, injury, or illness disrupts this homeostasis, your ECS acts to correct the imbalance. The ECS is a signal-receptor based system. This type of system has presynaptic cells that send a chemical message to a postsynaptic cell where the message triggers action and also allows the message to be passed along The ECS communicates a bit differently because it starts at the postsynaptic cell and works backward to the presynaptic cell and attaches to the cannabinoid receptors there. Once the message is delivered and the action is taken, the cannabinoid is then broken down by the body. This is an important difference because by acting on the presynaptic cells where the message begins, they can affect how the message is sent, received and processed.
Our endocannabinoid system produces two known cannabinoids (anandamide and 2AG) and so far two receptors have been identified (CB1 and CB2). These receptors are present in our brain and spinal cord (central nervous system) and also peripherally throughout our body in the skin, immune cells, bone, fatty tissue, liver, pancreas, skeletal muscle, heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tract. Like the endocannabinoids we make, CBD or cannabidiol is also a cannabinoid. It is considered a phytocannabinoid because it is made by plants, specifically the cannabis plant. Hemp is cannabis that contains lots of CBD but very little THC (legally, it is defined as 0.3% or less). Endocannabinoids made by our body and phytocannabinoids like CBD made by plants both work on our endocannabinoid system. In fact, scientists are discovering that CBD is considered to be a “promiscuous molecule” which “produces many effects through multiple molecular pathways” or in other words, CBD doesn’t just work in one way and it doesn’t just work in one spot.
The broad function of the endocannabinoid system along with the ‘promiscuous’ nature of phytocannabinoids like CBD, for me help make sense as to why there seems to be research and data for the use/effects of CBD in so many different areas. Research has linked the ECS to processes such as:
- Appetite and digestion
- Inflammation and other immune responses
- Learning and memory
- Motor control
- Cardiovascular system function
- Bone remodeling and growth
- Liver function
- Reproductive system function
- Skin and nerve function
Okay, so now you have learned more about the endocannabinoid system and the processes associated with it, which hopefully helps explain a lot of the things you have heard about CBD in the media and from friends. What’s next? The next step will be where you can get your CBD product(s) from and why this is important. Remember, not all products are the same when it comes to quality, but there are things to look for and to do which can help ensure you are getting a quality product. See you next or step two!
Disclaimer Note To Readers:
This information is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as medical advice or to be any form of medical treatment and its use is at the discretion and good judgement of the reader. Consult your designated healthcare provider before changing any part of your current medical treatment including supplements, diets, and medications. Please see our website for additional information such as the FDA disclosure.