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What is CBD? 7 Ways CBD Might Improve Overall Health


CBD and other hemp-derived products are sweeping the nation – but what exactly is CBD, and why does it seem suddenly so popular out of the blue? If you’ve been seeing advertisements for it lately but you’re still in the dark, we’re here to give you a full breakdown on everything CBD.

We see CBD covered in the media, endorsed by celebrities, and on countless grocery store and gas station shelves. Is there something to CBD, though, or is it just another trend? Let’s dive into our full guide on CBD and the ways it can be beneficial for one’s general wellness.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the most abundant non-psychoactive cannabinoid found both in marijuana and in hemp. Derived primarily from hemp, it’s one of the 400+ compounds found within the plant. Extracted as an oil, or as a powder form called isolate, CBD is a beneficial healing compound found in larger quantities in the hemp plant.

Unlike THC, which is the most abundant psychoactive cannabinoid, CBD cannot get you high, but it may have an array of properties that could benefit someone through a daily routine. People report using CBD to help them sleep better, reduce their anxiety, less inflammation, or boost and maintain overall health and wellness.

Is CBD Legal?

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized states to be able to create their own industrial hemp plants. They also legalized industrial hemp federally, changing the definition of hemp to mean any cannabis strain that contains less than 0.3% THC. Since CBD can be extracted from the hemp plant to contain less than 0.3% THC, CBD hemp-derived products are legal in the United States, if they meet the other regulations involved.

The short answer? Yes, CBD is legal, but do remember that each state has their own interpretations of the new federal law. Presently, there are 47 states out of 50 that have approved of the production and sale of CBD within their state lines. Make sure you research your local and state’s laws on CBD before you decide to purchase it for yourself.

How Does CBD Interact with the Human Body?

The human body is made up of different body systems, like the skeletal system, digestive system, and nervous system. We also have an endocannabinoid system, however, which is lined up by receptors across the body. These receptors, called CB1 and CB2 receptors, are placed on the skin, throughout the body, and in the brain.

Our bodies produce our own cannabinoids that interact with these CB receptors in the endocannabinoid system. The CB1 receptors, primarily concentrated in the central nervous system and the brain, helps maintain core functions such as pain perception, motor activity, memory, and stress response. The CB2 receptors are more widely distributed throughout the peripheral organs in the body. These serve as core components in the cardiovascular system, the muscular system, and the immune system.

Even more interesting than our bodies producing our own cannabinoids, though, is that it can take in outside cannabinoids for the same process. This means that CBD (and THC, by proxy) can interact directly with our body and brain’s endocannabinoid system to help with all sorts of important bodily functions.

It’s only been a few decades since we discovered the endocannabinoid system, so research is still very new. In fact, before 1995, most of our research on the topic had been performed on rats rather than humans. We’ve only recently (in the last 20 years) been able to observe how the body’s endocannabinoid system interacts directly with other body systems.

7 Ways CBD Can Improve Overall Health

You may often see a CBD brand brag that cannabidiol can promote general wellness – but how is general wellness determined in the first place? There are some key measures that can demonstrate your level general wellness, as well as quality of life. CBD helps to improve a variety of these measures to promote better health overall. Let’s look at just some of the ways CBD may work throughout the body.

1. Thermoregulation

One of the key giveaways that you’ve reached overall health is when your body is able to regulate your own body temperature no matter what temperature the environment may be at (within reason for a human being). CBD may interact with the receptors in the brain that control temperature regulation throughout the body. While cannabidiol doesn’t likely directly affect body temperature, it can still improve the efficiency of this homeostasis measure.

2. Improves Mood

We’re excited to see further research on the subject, but studies involving some healthy volunteers and some animal models of anxiety both suggest CBD may have an anxiolytic-like effect. Cannabidiol may be able to work directly with our serotonin receptors to improve symptoms for certain mood disorders, including anxiety and depression.

3. Anti-Inflammatory

As we touched on briefly, CBD is often used to help lessen the inflammation throughout the body. Though nothing is confirmed, ample evidence through studies and clinical trials lean positively towards CBD having anti-inflammatory properties. More specifically, CBD may be able to induce T-regulatory cells and suppress cytokine production to keep the body from attacking itself, alleviating some of the symptoms of autoimmune conditions.

4. May Lessen Chronic Pain

In addition to relieving some inflammation, CBD may be able to ease certain types of pain. Though it’s not guaranteed which types of pain is alleviated from cannabidiol, researchers believe it may be because CBD can inhibit the transmission between the neuron signaling through specific pain pathways. In some cases, though everyone is different, the body’s ability to perceive pain is altered while enjoying the benefits of CBD.

5. Sleep Better

In 2017, a clinical review of the studies and other data observed regarding CBD’s effects on sleep was compiled and published. The purpose of the review was review the literature available on specific sleep disorders and cannabis, as well as just sleep and cannabis. The findings concluded that CBD may have therapeutic potential for insomnia, REM sleep behavior disorder, and even excessive daytime sleepiness. While THC showed there was a potential impairment to sleep quality long-term, the opposite could be seen for cannabidiol.

6. Cardiovascular Health

It’s always reassuring to hear about something that can promote heart health. And while we don’t have all the answers, there are countless anecdotal reports that CBD may be able to seriously improve the cardiovascular system. In fact, we look at one compiled review of preliminary evidence that observes whether the cardiovascular system could be a therapeutic target for CBD.

7. Nicer Skin

The endocannabinoid system contains CB receptors that are placed all across the skin, so it makes sense that CBD could benefit skin health in some way. We look forward to future studies and research on the matter, but a 2009 published review looked at therapeutic opportunities and novel perspectives as to the endocannabinoid system’s potential for both skin health and skin disease.

More than Benefits

This isn’t to mention the consumer experiences we’ve heard about CBD helping them get better, deeper, and longer sleep, or using it for one of the other benefits above. Even though CBD has the potential to do all of this, there’s more than just the individual benefits that it has to offer. Rather, improving overall health by delivering these properties to your body may help, but helping your body reach homeostasis delivers far more long-term.

What is Homeostasis?

A vital physiological state our body is always striving to achieve, homeostasis is when we are functioning at full optimal capacity. It’s the noun that we use to describe the human body’s tendency to seek and maintain a condition of equilibrium or balance within its own internal environment, regardless of any external changes.

We feel symptoms of illness and disease when certain physiological functions fail to operate properly. Our body never stops trying to achieve perfect homeostasis; it’s a necessity for us to function, grow, and survive, as it’s the way our body maintains its own internal environment.

How Does CBD Help with Homeostasis?

CBD may be able to improve the body’s efficiency to achieve homeostasis by interacting with the appropriate sections of our endocannabinoid system, which plays some of the most important roles to maintaining homeostasis.

As a brief summary, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is made up of cannabinoid receptors, called CB1 and CB2, that are located all across the body. The receptors help the body regulate countless other functions, including memory and mood, energy regulation, having an appetite, producing an immune response, pain perception, and the regulation of inflammation.

Our ECS helps us maintain homeostasis by utilizing the endocannabinoids we produce to interact with our own cannabinoid receptors. In fact, some researchers believe some of the endocannabinoids we produce naturally may be what allows different cell types to coordinate and communicate.

To keep a long story short, CBD may help with homeostasis by mimicking our own endocannabinoids when consumed. We look forward to further clinical studies on the subject to help confirm these preliminary observations.

Consistency is Key

An important fact to note about taking CBD for overall health is that nothing is likely to happen immediately, or even on the first day. Rather, just like other health and wellness supplements, it can take a few weeks before you start noticing any differences. Most people report feeling noticeable benefits after the 4th week or so, but everyone is different.

Experiment until you find a serving size that’s right for you and stick with one product until you start feeling the benefits stack. Over time, the results are far more noticeable than the first day you ever took CBD.

Cannabidiol Can’t Do it Alone

Don’t rely on just CBD products to get you to the overall health level you want. You must do your part in helping your body achieve homeostasis, because cannabidiol can’t do it on its own. Pick up healthy habits and start reaching towards a healthy lifestyle to get the most out of your CBD.

Make sure you’re drinking plenty of fluids (especially water), you’re trying to get an appropriate amount of restful sleep, and you’re watching your sugar intake to reduce the risk of diabetes and other diseases that inhibit the regulation of glucose levels in the body.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, cannabidiol is so popular across the nation because it could improve overall health in a number of ways. By alleviating symptoms, providing relief in other departments, and promoting general wellness, as a whole, CBD products are considered effective by the millions already using them. With how many benefits CBD has the potential of offering, it’s no wonder why so many have started incorporating it into their daily routine.

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