Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
For some, CBD is a wonder molecule of the most promising kind. For others, the term brings up connotations to marijuana. And despite becoming hugely popular in recent years, CBD remains surrounded by at least a little mystery for many people. Though pretty new to the medical world, CBD is gaining a grass-roots reputation for enhancing health and wholeness. It’s helped children with seizures, vets with PTSD, elders with aches and strains, and many more. On a broader level, CBD has helped countless people get their lives back. We think these kinds of results warrant a bit more attention! In this article, we’ll look at why CBD has exploded onto the scene — and hopefully lay a foundation from which your appreciation for the plant compound can deepen and grow.
Together we’ll cover:
- Exactly what CBD is
- Where it comes from
- What CBD does in the body
We’ll also detail what CBD is not — it’s not a drug or an illegal compound, nor is it just another fleeting fad; here’s our super simple guide.
CBD 101: WHAT IS IT, AND WHERE DID IT ORIGINATE?
First and foremost, CBD is a plant compound, a collection of essential ingredients to a plant’s life cycle and metabolic health. The plant is called hemp, and its primary metabolic compound, CBD, is also critical for human health. Talk about symbiosis! While all plants contain compounds, the ones found in hemp are especially beneficial to us. CBD is the most prevalent of these compounds — hemp’s ‘active ingredient.’ CBD is made within hemp as the plant grows to full maturity. CBD is also an acronym — the compound’s full name is Cannabidiol. The “Canna” prefix derives from the plant family cannabis, of which hemp is an important member. (The suffix refers to CBD’s chemical structure, which isn’t critical to get to now).
Understanding Hemp: Cannabinoids
An essential compound in hemp is its cannabinoids, and one of the two most prevalent cannabinoids is — you guessed it — CBD. There are at least 113 other cannabinoids in the cannabis plant family, though many are only present in tiny amounts. Despite their small presence, these different cannabinoids synergize with CBD to create significant effects. Compared to ‘normal’ cannabis, hemp is unique in that it contains high CBD (Cannabidiol) and low THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). By law, industrial hemp must have less than .3 % THC by dry weight. That’s not very much! This unique cannabinoid ratio — high CBD and low THC — allows the CBD contained in hemp to gently regulate the body without causing any substantial mental effects.
Understanding Hemp: Terpenes
CBD is also the most important of hemp’s terpene molecules. Terpenes are scent molecules similar in nature to essential oils. They’re light, small, and delicate (which means they evaporate quickly— allowing you to smell them). Hemp is usually rich in linalool, the terpene more commonly found in lavender, limonene, a scent molecule from lemons, and pinene, from pine trees. This diversity of ingredients is rare in nature. Still, it allows the hemp plant to accurately ‘hit’ or activate several of the body’s central biological systems.
Simply put, hemp works! It’s an incredibly unique plant with amazing but complex effects on the human body. Understanding these complexities can be daunting, but learning the basics will help. The most important concept to grasp is that CBD, along with hemp’s other biomolecules, seamlessly interacts with the human body to improve and remediate health. We like to say it makes life easier — but more on that a little later!
CBD & THE HUMAN BODY: A MATCH MADE IN BIOLOGICAL HEAVEN
CBD is continually growing in popularity for a good reason. And that reason is its excellent health and wellness benefits. From arthritis to scoliosis, from autism to Alzheimer’s, first-time users are reporting impressive results. Only 6% of users don’t notice health benefits, while over 35% of users experience relief from using CBD alone!CBD helps alleviate the symptoms of many diseases, which is a large part of why it’s so intriguing. Why does CBD lower the blood pressure of the person that needs that while leaving a healthy individual’s blood pressure alone? Why does it calm the overly anxious while allowing an already calm individual to stay energized? In short, how can its effects seem so incredibly adaptive? More than just a band-aid solution, CBD is a true remediator of the underlying causes of many health problems. And it attacks these causes of disease by directly boosting the endocannabinoid system.
Endocannabinoid SystemA widespread signaling system involved in protecting the nervous system, improving brain flexibility, and ensuring a healthy response to stress– Adapted from An Introduction to the Endogenous Cannabinoid System If you’ve never heard of the Endocannabinoid System, you wouldn’t be alone. And even if you have, there might still be some lingering confusion. Confusion would be understandable; the emergence of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) took scientists by surprise in the early ’90s, and the medical world is still lagging to this day. Most health professionals aren’t aware of the system’s importance, so they’re hardly impressed by the related claims accompanying CBD. This lack of awareness has also carried over into mainstream culture, strengthened by social stigmas and misinformation. Thankfully, though, that’s all changing. And with these changes come the demand for insight and education! We’ve made it our goal to help with that. Going back to the ECS definition above, here are the qualities of the Endocannabinoid System in four parts:
It's A Widespread Signaling System
It Protects The Nervous System
It Improves Neuroplasticity (Brain Health)
It Ensures That Strength Overcomes Stress
A Health Endocannabinoid System Equals Homeostasis - Which Also Equals Balance Within The Mind & Body
The state of one’s endocannabinoid system determines much about their physical, mental, and emotional health. But as dynamic as the ECS is, it’s not bulletproof. It does get broken down sometimes, and this is where CBD comes in.
CBD: AN ANTIDOTE FOR STRESS
CBD directly boosts the Endocannabinoid System. And that, in turn, is directly responsible for reducing stress. CBD reverses the chain reaction of stress > breakdown > illness often seen in chronic disease states. It operates ‘upstream’ of individual symptoms and enables the body to heal itself. CBD’s ability to maintain full-body homeostasis carries over to various areas. The compound even appears to help with fitness and workout performance! That’s the theory, at least. CBD’s ability to reduce stress (especially the oxidant stress that limits athletic recovery) makes it an inspiring new fitness and wellness tool. At the very least, CBD could soon come of age as America’s favorite wellness product, if its not already. By boosting a system that plays a role in regulating all things biology, CBD shows larger-than-life promise. These same principles make CBD useful for anyone who views life as an opportunity for self-improvement. Together with the innate healing capability of our bodies, CBD presents a chance for us to live a more natural life. Stay tuned for more on this topic. Though this article covers much of the basics about CBD, we wouldn’t be surprised if you still had some questions! Below are some of the most common ones.
Is CBD A Drug?
No. CBD is a naturally occurring plant compound, not a drug. It helps the body make gentle changes with virtually no side effects. In some ways, it behaves more like an internally produced (endogenous) molecule than an external one. While CBD isn’t a drug, the U.S. Government does have a patent on Cannabidiol as it relates to the targeted treatment of several specific diseases, meaning CBD could feature in more pharmaceutical drugs in the future. In the U.S., businesses sell CBD as a nutritional supplement, meaning anyone can use it freely without needing a prescription. It also means that CBD cannot be marketed to treat, prevent, cure, or diagnose any disease. Why we refrain from making any health claims and do a routine edit of client reviews if stated.
Is CBD Legal?
Yes! CBD is legal in the United States (including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands). Though certain states have stricter regulations and qualifications for the types of CBD they allow into retail markets, CBD is more legal than ever. 2018’s Federal Farm Bill made this completely clear. We’ll likely see CBD and the hemp plant it’s derived from become much more normalized in the future.
Is CBD's Popularity Just Another Health Fad?
Unlikely. CBD supports some of this century’s most significant medical findings. That’s no exaggeration either — take it from leading researcher Dr. Ethan Russo:
“The endocannabinoid system is an essential regulator of bodily function in its many facets. There is hardly any physiological process that is not affected by it to some degree.”
It’s not every day that a plant compound is found to activate a biological system to such an extent that it seems made for it. But CBD does precisely that. As scientific findings accumulate and research continues to gain momentum, CBD’s popularity will continue to rise.
IS CBD LIKE MARIJUANA? WILL IT CAUSE A MENTAL HIGH?
No, not at all! Remember how CBD is found mainly in the hemp plant, which is low in THC? ‘Marijuana’ is virtually the opposite; its high THC content causes its psychoactivity. CBD use, on the other hand, presents the opportunity for healing without a high.
Will CBD Help My ____ (Health Condition)?
While we can’t make any definitive claims, we’re hopeful. CBD does cause pretty extensive positive shifts in nearly anyone’s body, something you will hopefully experience, too.
SUMMING THINGS UP
Will CBD become instrumental to your wellness routine? We encourage you to find out as you optimize your health and pursue your best life — and we do our best to make finding out easy.
Intentional CBD offers free shipping anywhere in the United States (including Puerto Rico and The U.S. Virgin Islands), local pickup within the U.S. Virgin Islands, and shipping worldwide. We’re happy to serve clients internationally, including our neighbors in the Caribbean. Nevertheless, we encourage our international clients to take responsibility for knowing the laws in their respective countries before ordering on our site.
That’s it for now. Have a wonderful day, til next time!