CBD is very much in the headlines these days with many claims of its medicinal qualities. Also known as cannabidiol, it is the non-psychoactive compound in hemp/cannabis that’s received a tremendous amount of positive news world wide.
The questions most people ask are: How does it work? Is it safe? Does it make you high? And is it legal?
To understand CBD we must first understand the endocannabinoid system (ECS) which is present in all humans and vertebrate animals and even some invertebrate animals too. The work of Israeli chemist Dr Ralph Mechoulam has been instrumental is the discovery of the endocannabidiol system. His isolation of THC was the first stepping stone in isolating cannaboids and was research that lead to the finding two cannabinoid receptors in the body. This groundbreaking work found out that not only do we have these receptor sites that receive cannabinoids but that our bodies endocannabinoid system remarkably produces its own cannabinoids. This ability of the endocannabinoid system brings the body into homeostasis.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) consists of two receptors (CB1 and CB2), several endogenous ligands (a protein that attaches to a receptor) including anandamide and 2AG, and over a dozen ligand-metabolising enzymes. Interestingly though the name anandamide comes from the Sanskrit word ananda, which means bliss. So you could say anandamide means bliss molecule.
CB1 receptors are located throughout the brain and central nervous system, as well as in the kidneys, liver, lungs, digestive tract, and even the eyes.
CB2 receptors are primarily found in white blood cells, the peripheral organs, in particular tissues associated with the immune system including the tonsils, thymus, spleen, gastrointestinal system and bone marrow.
The ECS plays very important role in regulating our physiological functions many of which relate to stress-recovery systems. Amongst other functions the endocannabinoid system is involved in modulating the immune and inflammatory responses and regulates appetite, anxiety, sleep, mood control, reproduction & fertility, pleasure & reward, pain, memory and temperature regulation. It also influences the cardiovascular and respiratory systems by controlling heart rate, blood pressure, and bronchial functions. Finally, yet importantly, endocannabinoids are known to exert important anti-proliferative actions in tumor cells.
When our ECS becomes out of balance (no longer in homeostasis) all kinds of conditions can arise such as increased risk of heart disease, auto immune disorders, obesity and diabetes, crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome. Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency is the term used when the body is no longer producing its own endocannabinoids or ceases self regulating which leaves one much more susceptible to a wide variety of illnesses and disease.
The good news is that there are ways of treating Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency. Firstly one needs to look at diet as studies have shown that the increased omega-3 levels from fish oil consumption causes significant changes and synergy within the endocannabinoid system. Another major cause of deficiency is stress, so finding ways to de-stress such as walks in nature, creating quality time with family and friends, exercising, meditation and yoga will have a beneficial impact.
The most effective and direct way to bringing the endocannabinoid system back into homeostasis is by supplementing your diet with plant based CBD (cannabinoids). It increases the amount of endocannabinoids in your system and stops the enzyme FAAH from breaking down all of the anandamide thereby making more of it available for use by your cells. All CBD in the market today is produced using hemp extracted to be within world wide regulation of 0.02% THC.
CBD is currently legal in Ireland and across most of Europe and has been put forward within The Medicinal Cannabis Bill in Ireland. It looks as if CBD will be regulated in the future as a medicinal supplement by HPRA (Health Products Regulatory Authority), and this something we very much welcome.
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