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While plenty of people are happy about being able to legally use cannabis recreationally in more than a dozen states across the US (with more moving to legalize cannabis on a regular basis), there are lots of folks not all that interested in “burning one down” but instead checking out everything that the hottest new product in the natural wellness world has to offer.
Cannabinoids – commonly referred to as CBD – has been taking the US by storm of late.
A nonintoxicating derivative made from cannabis, the big promise of CBD is that it offers incredible pain relief and anxiety management solutions without ever getting you high.
CBD oil, CBD edibles (including gummy bears), CBD topical lotion, skin care products, and even pet treats have flooded the market in states where recreational cannabis is now legal, and this is just the beginning of what some are calling the Green Gold Rush.
And while Hollywood celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, athletes like Paul Pierce, and others are claiming CBD to be the closest thing to the Fountain of Youth the natural healing world has ever seen, others are a little bit skeptical about what CBD might be capable of – if anything.
Let’s dig a little bit deeper and find out if CBD is really all it’s cracked up to be.
While it wouldn’t be possible to create cannabinoid (CBD) without good old-fashioned cannabis, the experience folks have with CBD is a world apart from what you’d expect after kicking back with a joint.
The biochemical in cannabis responsible for getting you high is called Tetrahydrocannabinol – which is (understandably) abbreviated as THC. THC is a psychoactive substance that plays around with our own biochemical, causing the hallucinogenic properties that so many folks are looking for when they get their hands on a little bit of Mary Jane.
CBD, while a close cousin on THC, doesn’t come with the same psychoactive kick. You aren’t going to be getting high with CBD, that’s for sure.
Instead, you’re going to get ALL of the natural health benefits cannabis has to offer without getting a little fuzzy and all of a sudden craving a bag of Doritos.
Just how does CBD actually work, though?
CBD is able to pull off this minor miracle thanks to triggering a biological response in the body through the endocannabinoid system.
In 1988, the very first cannabinoid receptors were discovered in the brains of laboratory rats, receptors that were triggered when they came into contact with THC substances – receptors primarily found in the regions of the brain handling memory, cognition, motions, and coordination.
Fast forward to 1993 and a handful of new cannabinoid receptors were discovered. Someone located in the immune and central nervous systems of those same laboratory rats, and in 1995 these receptors were discovered across thousands of different species of animals – including human beings.
To simplify our biology (greatly), our brains release a flood of very specific hormone whenever we become stressed out. And we’re not just talking about mental stress, either, but also physical stress.
When we are hurting, when we are overloaded, and when we are physically injured cortisol (that stress hormone) is dumped into the body. A little bit of cortisol sharpens our senses, allows us to react faster to sticky situation, and is eventually flushed out of our system altogether.
But because of a variety of different factors most people find themselves flooded with cortisol a lot more frequently than our ancient ancestors, and they were busy being chased by sabertooth tigers!
This overloading of cortisol leaves many of us in a hyper alert and hyper anxious state, and when paired with physical pain from injuries, diseases, or a variety of other ailments and medical conditions things can get pretty dicey.
CBD, however, works with our endocannabinoid system to push back against these cortisol dumps and help us achieve homeostasis (our body’s natural balance point).
Thanks to research and that’s been ongoing ever since the late 1980s and early 1990s, we now understand that our body doesn’t just respond positively to cannabinoids – particularly CBD – but that we’ve actually involved to utilize these biochemicals cultivated from cannabis as a big part of healing and restoring our bodies and our mental health.
When today ask “what does CBD do”, we can conclusively tell them:
… And early research into the effectiveness of using CBD to eliminate cancer related symptoms is very promising indeed, though more research is obviously necessary to better understand exactly what this all-natural substance might really be capable of going forward.
At the end of the day, it’s certainly true that there are a lot of Green Gold Rush companies out there peddling CBD like a modern-day snake oil. Some kind of magic pill or lotion in a box that will change people’s lives forever.
But don’t let them burn you on the real health boosting properties CBD brings to the table.
For every phony CBD shampoo that promises to give you Rapunzel-like hair overnight there are hundreds – thousands, maybe - of legitimate CBD oils and edibles that can help you better manage pain, anxiety, stress, and depression – and do so without any of the nasty side effects that the prescription drug chemical cocktails cooked up in laboratories inevitably entail.
We’re still in the early days of CBD research right now and already we recognize just how impactful it can be, and there’s no telling what we might be able to discover about what CBD is capable of as we dig deeper.