CBD Hemp Extract is a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant. There are dozens of compounds including Cannabidiol (CBD), THC, and a host of other cannabinoids found in the same plant and there are both benefits and drawbacks.
What is CBD Hemp Extract?
CBD Hemp Extract (CBD Oil) and its sister cannabinoid compounds are classified as phyto-cannabinoids, which just means that they’re derived from plants. There are also several other types of cannabinoids we should all know about too.
The cannabinoids produced within the body’s endo-cannabinoid system are known as endo-cannabinoids. However, there are also cannabinoids manufactured via chemical reactions in laboratories, known as synthetic cannabinoids.
Each type of cannabinoid interacts with the body in different ways. So now that you understand what a cannabinoid is, how does CBD work with your body?
Cannabinoid Receptors and the Endo-Cannabinoid System
Your body has areas that are made specifically for cannabinoids — they are called cannabinoid receptor sites.
These sites make up the endo-cannabinoid system, which is responsible for various physiological and mental processes that occur naturally within the body.
The endo-cannabinoid system includes a number of specialised cell receptors in the brain and in various other organs throughout the body which fall into two types: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are found mainly in the brain (but also in the liver, kidneys, and lungs), while CB2 receptors are found mainly in the immune system.
Cannabinoid substances actually bind with these receptors to coordinate various functions across the body.
What Effects Do Cannabinoids Have on the Body?
Even within phyto-cannabinoids there are several types of cannabinoids and a wide ranges of compounds and effects that we are still learning about.
Some of these cannabinoids interact strongly with one or both CB receptors, causing various effects, from regulating mood and helping us concentrate, to causing euphoric effects and feeling “high” (like THC). Other cannabinoids, like CBD, have fewer direct effects on the endo-cannabinoid system.
The endo-cannabinoid system utilises our body’s own internally produced cannabinoids, but when we introduce endo-cannabinoid products into our system, it can be difficult to distinguish between clinically desirable effects and therapeutically undesirable effects of various phyto-cannabinoids. This is because cannabinoid receptors send a variety of signals that often interconnect to coordinate the body’s functions, making it difficult to tell them apart.
For example, CB1 receptors send signals that regulate senses, while cannabinoids that interact with CB2 receptors can at the same time affect gastrointestinal response and peripheral nervous system sensitivity.
See why external cannabinoids (like CBD Hemp Extract) can be a little more complicated?
How Does CBD Work?
We just stated that CBD is fairly unique as far as cannabinoids go, because it does not seem to interact directly with either the CB1 or CB2 receptors. So what does it do if it’s not interacting directly with our receptors?
Cannabidiol has a particularly low potential for binding with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, but instead acts as an antagonist of the receptors’ agonists. In layman’s terms, this means that CBD keeps the receptors working at optimal capacity and helps the function of all other cannabinoids, including the body’s own endo-cannabinoids.
Contrary to how most cannabinoids function, CBD Hemp Extract interacts very mildly with the cannabinoid receptors themselves and instead either helps other cannabinoids to be better absorbed or stops the effects of whatever makes the receptors work less effectively.
The indirect nature of CBD’s effects have made it difficult for scientists to pinpoint its exact effects up to now, and many positive effects of this unusual phyto-cannabinoid are still being studied.
Essentially, the endo-cannabinoid system is closely interconnected with the nervous and immune system. Since CBD has been shown to boost just about every function of our cannabinoid receptors, it is proven to have far-reaching soothing and relaxing effects.