What is CBD?
To understand what CBD is we need to first understand how a cannabinoids function in our bodies.Cannabinoids are unique chemical compounds secreted by the flowers of cannabis plants that mimic the body’s own, naturally occurring compounds called endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are found in the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a special network of receptors that can help regulate other bodily systems such as the nervous and digestive systems.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 100 cannabinoid compounds found in the cannabis plant. Unlike it's cousin Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is non psychoactive, therefore it does not induce a high in its user. CBD offers numerous health benefits usually without the unwanted side effects from medication. Many users report it to alleviate symptoms from physical ailments like pain and inflammation as well as mental ailments like anxiety.
How does CBD work?
Despite CBD being an increasingly popular interest of many, the classification of cannabis as a controlled substance has hindered research and studies about the plant and its many components. Only recently have scientists been able to take a further look into the chemical processes that happen within the body when cannabinoids like CBD are introduced.
What we do know about CBD is that it helps the body maintain homeostasis (the ability of an organism to maintain equilibrium achieved by physiological processes) with the help of cannabinoid receptors placed all over the body within the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The endocannabinoid system is a master regulatory mechanism for the whole body. The ECS is equipped with special receptors that pick up all forms of cannabinoids: endocannabinoids, synthetic cannabinoids, phytocannabinoids. These cannabinoid receptors function as tiny sensing devices, picking up on subtle biochemical fluids surrounding each cell. There are two main receptor types, CB1 and CB2.
CB1 receptors are most abundant in the nervous system and interact mostly with the brain, glands, organs, the cardiovascular system, bones, and the GI tract. CB2 receptors are mostly present throughout the body and are often found on immune cells,the peripheral nervous system, and in the gastrointestinal tract. Many tissues in the body contain both CB1 and CB2 receptors making them the most abundant receptors in the body. These receptors help regulate biological processes including memory, appetite, mood and pain-sensation, just to name a few.
CBD impacts our bodies by working indirectly on CB1 and CB2 receptors. Dependending on the particular receptor, CBD will slightly have different chemical interactions that help regulate a variety of functions. Most commonly, CBD is known for being a reuptake and breakdown inhibitor, meaning it prevents reabsorption of our body’s own endocannabinoids. CBD does not directly fit into the CB1 or CB2 receptors, instead it activates other receptors that play a role in the mediation of pain perception, inflammation, and body temperature.
Additionally CBD (and other phytocannabinoids) have potent antioxidants and neuroprotective properties. A diet rich in antioxidants has been shown to reduce the risk of diseases like cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and arthritis. CBD’s neuroprotective properties help protect the brain by encouraging the growth and development of new neurons.
What is full spectrum CBD?
Full spectrum CBD contains all cannabinoids and terpenes found in the cannabis plant and leaves nothing out. Cannabinoids found in full spectrum CBD include but are not limited to: cannabidiol (CBD), cannabicyclol (CBL), cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), cannabielsoin (CBE), cannabicyclol (CBL), cannabicitran (CBT), and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THC). The combination of all cannabinoids used together produces the entourage effect. The entourage effect is the idea that all cannabinoids and phytocannabinoids in cannabis and hemp work synergistically together. This can provide a better therapeutic result than any one compound used on its own. Not only do these compounds work better together, but the user of a full spectrum CBD product is taking all the properties of the terpenes and cannabinoids mixed together, allowing more absorption of the active effects. In turn, this provides a more effective treatment method.
How is full spectrum CBD better than a CBD isolate?
A CBD isolate is a single extracted cannabinoid without the presence of any other cannabinoids or terpenes. This single cannabinoid is less effective because there is no synergy or entourage effect happening and that cannabinoid may or may not even be effective on its own.There are over a hundred found cannabinoids and researchers are only starting to understand the full length of therapeutic value of each cannabinoid. CBD is most effective when used in concert with all other cannabinoids, therefore full spectrum CBD has the best chance of treating users looking for relief.