Medically reviewed by Dr. Jen Palmer, ND – Naturopathic Doctor,
Director of Education for Charlotte’s Web™
People are using CBD to support their health in so many ways – from a faster recovery after hitting the gym to easing the stressors of everyday life.* You can find CBD products just about everywhere you go – from spas, to grocery stores, to your local gas station. Plus, it’s being added to a huge variety of products; you can buy baked goods, sparkling drinks, bath bombs, and even leggings that have CBD in them.
So, what exactly is CBD, and what’s all the excitement about? Let’s dig deeper into this powerful compound.
What is CBD?
You might be familiar with THC, as this is the psychoactive molecule that results in the intoxicating effects of marijuana. Although hemp has THC, it is only a very small amount – small enough that hemp is legal for consumption in the U.S. and it is non-intoxicating. The hemp varieties that we breed and harvest here at Charlotte’s Web have very high levels of CBD, but very low levels of THC (less than 0.3%).
We grow hemp with high CBD levels because we want our products to maximize the health benefits of CBD. CBD has several health benefits, such as:
- Helps to navigate everyday stresses*
- Supports a sense of calm*
- Supports recovery from exercise-induced inflammation*
Where Does CBD Come From?
CBD is one of several cannabinoid molecules found in hemp. Cannabinoids are a type of phytochemical. They are produced when flowers on the hemp plant secrete molecules into something called a trichome. Trichomes are structures that store these alongside other types of molecules, such as flavonoids and terpenes. This combination of active molecules creates what we call a phytochemical profile.
You may not be familiar with the terms ‘flavonoid’ and ‘terpene’, but you are certainly familiar with these types of molecules. These are the molecules that make blueberries blue. They give strawberries their wonderful fragrance and brightness. These traits come from flavonoids and terpenes working in unison.
Hemp has terpenes and flavonoids, in addition to phytocannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids are unique to the plants in the cannabis family. Scientists have learned that the molecules found in hemp work synergistically.
This means that CBD can do more for your body if it is working alongside the other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids found in hemp. This is referred to as the ‘entourage effect’, and it is the reason why CBD products that have these other compounds are believed to support the body best.
How Do Cannabinoids Like CBD Affect the Body?
So, once you’ve taken CBD products that includes all these wonderful compounds, how does your body reap the benefits? The answer lies in something called the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS is a physiological system that intersects with all other systems in the body. Humans have ECS receptors throughout their bodies – in the brain, spinal cord, organs, and even in the skin. Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds that bind to the receptors throughout the endocannabinoid system. This process helps to bring balance to the body.
Cannabinoids are so essential to human health that our bodies produce some of these compounds themselves. When they come from the body, they are called endocannabinoids. When they come from plants like hemp, they are called phytocannabinoids. Both types of compounds bind to the same ECS receptors in our bodies, and both help to bring us into homeostasis.
We can use vitamin D to get a better idea of how cannabinoids work in our bodies. We have vitamin D receptors throughout our bodies. We can produce our own vitamin D by absorbing the sun’s rays and converting the energy into this essential nutrient. Alternatively, we can get our vitamin D from outside sources, such as foods like eggs or fish, or a vitamin D supplement.
Similarly, our bodies produce their own cannabinoids – but getting these compounds from outside sources, such as high-quality CBD extracts, can give our system a real boost. The fact that our bodies produce these compounds hints strongly at how essential they are for our health.
CBD and the other compounds found in hemp are truly amazing in the way they support our health. In this blog series, we will continue to dive into the incredible hemp plant and all the ways it can improve our lives.