If you’ve ever researched natural health remedies or medical cannabis, you’ve likely come across the word CBD; and perhaps you’ve wondered what it stands for. With its recent rise in popularity, there has been a lot more interest surrounding the compound. CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is a naturally occurring cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant.
Cannabinoids are a class of chemical compounds that work in a similar way to neurotransmitters in the body. Cannabinoids don’t only exist in cannabis, they are also found in the human body. All vertebrates produce cannabinoids, and those found in the human body are referred to as endocannabinoids.
The endocannabinoids have a similar structure to those cannabinoids found in cannabis. This is how and why they are able to act within the system of the human body that is known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
We will explore this in more detail a little later. Understanding CBD is the key to understanding how CBD products work and why the compound has captured the attention of so many scientists.
CBD: What Is It?
As we’ve already mentioned, CBD is the abbreviation for cannabidiol. It’s one of the primary compounds that is found in the cannabis plant. After tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is a psychoactive compound, CBD is the second-most abundant cannabinoid in the cannabis plant. However, unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive – meaning it won’t make users feel intoxicated.
Cannabinoids are the molecules that are responsible for the cannabis plant’s medicinal and recreational properties. Today, there are over 100 known cannabinoids. The most well-known of these cannabinoids is THC, which is most commonly used for its psychoactive and intoxicating properties.
CBD, on the other hand, is non-intoxicating and is typically known for promoting an overall sense of calm. It may also help to bring the body back into balance.
More importantly, CBD is known to have many therapeutic benefits, including anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, anti-anxiety, seizure-suppressant, and analgesic properties.
How Does CBD Work?
The way in which CBD interacts with the body and brain is rather complicated. To date, scientists have found more than a dozen different ways that CBD affects us. It’s highly likely that the beneficial effects of CBD are due to the sum of its effects on several of the biological pathways, not just one in particular.
CBD interacts directly with numerous components in the body and central nervous system. A few of these are components of the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
While THC is an agonist of the CB1 receptors, CBD is an inverse agonist, meaning it can block some of THC’s intoxicating effects that are enacted via that receptor.
In addition, our bodies are made up of several other receptor proteins that work in the ECS, like GPR3, GPR6, TRPV1, and TRPV2. CBD binds to all of these, and many of its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects may occur through these pathways.
CBD also does some very important work outside of the ECS. For example, it mildly activates one of the brain’s predominant serotonin receptors, 5-HT1A. This could explain the effects that CBD has on anxiety and depression.
CBD Product Types
There is a wide array of CBD products available on the market. Many brands offer CBD in the form of tincture extracts, vape oils, oil concentrates, topicals, and pure hemp oil. You also often have the choice of various CBD-infused foods, like gummies, candy, or chocolates.
Tinctures and pure oils are administered sublingually. This means that you place the oil under the tongue and wait between 1 – 2 minutes to swallow it. Vape liquids need to be inhaled using a special vape e-pen.
CBD can also be applied topically. Skin and beauty products infused with CBD are all-natural and thought to be very good for the skin. Many athletes like using CBD salves for joint and muscle pain either before or after workouts. It helps to soothe aches and pains from vigorous exercise.
CBD Derived from Hemp vs. Marijuana
When a person is thinking about using CBD for the first time, they should know where it is sourced from. CBD sourced from cannabis is very different from that which is sourced from hemp. If you are considering CBD for the first time, please consult your physician or a CBD knowledgeable physician for more information.
CBD originating from hemp contains little to no THC, and therefore won’t make users intoxicated. However, when sourced from cannabis, CBD is found together with THC, and the THC could cause an intoxicating effect – depending on how much of it is present in the final product.
Currently, cannabis is illegal unless you are in a state that allows for medical or recreational use. Hemp CBD, on the other hand, is legal in the majority of states, as long as it’s properly sourced in accordance with regulations in the 2018 Farm Bill.
If you want to know if the CBD is sourced from cannabis or hemp, you will need to check the product label or inquire with the company. All reputable and trustworthy CBD companies publish certificates of analysis (COA) or lab reports for their products.
Final Thoughts on What CBD Stands for
While it may be the abbreviation for cannabidiol, CBD really stands for a revolution in the way we view health and wellness. Large populations of people are beginning to realize and utilize CBD for its benefits to bring balance to the body.