Cannabidiol (or CBD, for short) is one of a group of chemical compounds found in the hemp plant. A hemp plant is a cannabis plant with less than 0.03% THC in it (THC being the cannabinoid that gets you “high”).By contrast, a marijuana plant is a cannabis plant with a higher percentage of THC, sometimes as high as 30%. So, when we’re talking about hemp-derived CBD products, we’re talking about products using non-intoxicating chemical compounds. So, if it doesn’t get you “high,” you might ask, what does CBD do?
Well, let’s step back and look closer at this group of chemical compounds found in the hemp plant. They’re called cannabinoids. Though they’re plant based ( phytocannabinoids), they bear a remarkable resemblance to chemical compounds produced by our own bodies, called endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are part of the body’s endocannabinoid system.
How CBD works
All mammals have an endocannabinoid system. Studies have shown that this system works primarily in support of the central and peripheral nervous systems. The body produces its own endocannabinoids, which are little neurotransmitters that bind to receptors in the nervous system.
There are two such receptors in the nervous system. The first is the CB1 receptor. This works, for the most part, with the central nervous system and helps to regulate such essential functions of the mind and body such as mood, memory, pain, appetite, motor control, and more. The second receptor is called, you guessed it, the CB2. This binds primarily with the peripheral nervous system, which regulates pain and inflammation. When endocannabinoids bind to these receptors, they lend crucial support to these systems.
So, where does CBD fit in?
CBD is a plant-based cannabinoid, or phytocannabinoid, that works in much the same way the body’s own endocannabinoids work. While it doesn’t doesn’t attach directly to these receptors, cannabidiol does activate them, sending a boost of support through the entire system — helping the endocannabinoid system ,the central nervous system, and the peripheral nervous system to all work better.
This is what makes the wellness potential of hemp-derived CBD oil so exciting. In terms of breadth of potential benefits to the body, it’s difficult to find a wellness supplement as versatile and powerful as cannabidiol.