What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is a phytocannabinoid naturally found in hemp plants being used for its health benefits. While hemp is part of the cannibis family of plants, it is not marijuana. Marijuana and hemp are different varieties of the same species of plant. A good way to think of this is to consider how many different breeds of dogs there are but they all belong to the family Canis lupus. The major phytocannabinoid in marijuana is tetrahyrdocannabinol (THC). While Hemp does contain some THC, it is less than 0.3% and most reputable companies test to make sure it stays within the legal limit. The major compounds that have the most health benefits are the CBD and other numerous cannabinoids. Hemp derived CBD products are legal in all 50-states. Phytocannabinoids are also found in other botanicals and foods. Some examples of non-cannabis plants containing phytocannabinoids are black pepper, clove, hops, echinacea, green tea, Panax ginseng and black truffles.
The Endocannaboid System (ECS)
Did you know that most animals contain their own endocannabinoid system and their bodies have the ability to make their own cannabinoids that interacts with the ECS? The ECS is not an isolated organ system like the cardiovascular system or the nervous system. It is spread throughout the the whole body. The ECS acts as a central regulatory system and plays a role in establishing and maintaining our health. It contains cannabinoid receptors (like little docking stations), cannabis-like compounds made in our bodies that bind to those receptors and enzymes that create and inactivate the cannabis-like compounds. Since the ECS is spread throughout the whole body, it has different functions in different tissues. Its ultimate goal is to regulate homeostasis within our bodies. This means it works to keep the inside environment stable despite an unstable external environment. It helps us to adapt to our changing world. Some of the known functions of the ECS include:
- Central Nervous system:
- Inhibit release of some neurotransmitters
- Help with memory formation and learning
- Promote the growth and development of nerve tissue
- Modulate the brain’s response to trauma, pain and inflammation
- Peripheral Nervous system:
- Calms the sympathetic nervous system (our fight-or-flight nervous system)
- Regulate the functions of the digestive, urinary and reproductive tracts
Immune System and Inflammatory Response:
- Receptors are found in the organs and cells of the immune system
- Regulate cytokine (proteins important for immune cell signalling) production and a healthy inflammatory response
- Prevents an overactive immune response
- Intervenes during acute injury or infections
- Regulates gut immunity
- Regulates gut motility
Appetite and Metabolism
- Plays a role in appetite, metabolism and regulation of body weight
Stress and Mood
- Regulates release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and cortisol
- Helps body to adapt to emotions such as fear and anxiety
- Modulate between a pleasurable level of arousal and one that is excessive and unpleasant
- Plays a role in how the brain imprints memories of traumatic events
Other Areas Affected:
- Bone health
- Skin health
- Arterial and respiratory health
- Sleep and circadian rhythms
The Health Benefits of Hemp Derived CBD
Hemp derived CBD supplements and salves can be used to aid in the treatment of various conditions. It can support a healthy stress response and promote a positive mood, support the health of the brain and nervous system, support the health and function of the digestive tract, support healthy immune system function, promote relaxation and restful sleep, maintain a healthy inflammatory response and provide relief from occasional aches and pains. In a 2013 review published by the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, studies revealed cannabinoids have been found to possess medical properties such as antiemetic (anti-nausea), anticonvulsant (reduces/suppresses seizure activity), antipsychotic, anxiolytic/antidepressant, anti-tumoral/anti-cancer, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Whole Plant vs CBD Isolate Products
Whole hemp plant derived CBD products offer a complex biochemical matrix of constituents that work together to optimize therapeutic efficacy. Some companies describe this as the “entourage effect.” The whole plant derived CBD will include things like phytocannabinoids, fatty acids, flavonoids, terpenes, plant sterols, chlorophyll and vitamin E. CBD isolate lacks those critical secondary medicinal compounds listed above, which could make it less effective therapeutically.
Hemp Seed Oil vs. Hemp Derived CBD Supplements
Hemp seed oil does not contain the health benefits of whole hemp plant derived CBD. Hemp seed oil is cold press extracted from the seeds only and contains antioxidant properties, healthy fats and some nutritional value. As discussed in the paragraph above, whole hemp plant derived CBD contains multiple beneficial compounds and has a greater number of health benefits.
In summary, hemp derived CBD products can be safe and effective supplements to aid in the treatment of various health conditions. It is important to note that CBD supplements are not a magic pill. They can aid in the treatment of various conditions but it is still very important to work with your doctor to correct the underlying health issues using dietary and lifestyle changes to promote overall wellness.
Dr. Jodi Perrin, ND, DC