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What is CBD?



You may have overheard it in a conversation with the two people ahead of you in line at the grocery store, excitedly discussing using CBD for its anti-aging properties. You may have heard about it from your daughter, who uses it to treat her painful migraines and suggests you try it for autoimmune imbalance or lack of sleep. Or maybe you heard about it from your grandson, who asked you to rub CBD salve on his sore muscles to help with recovery after an athletic event. It seems today that wherever we turn, the benefits of CBD are being discussed. Countless people of all are using CBD Products and sharing impactful personal experiences of their success. But what is CBD, and how does it work? How do we know how to use it, and how to find the best products for our own individual needs? With such a flood of information available today, keeping up to speed can be intimidating – but with the right information up your sleeve, anyone can learn to use CBD in a way that benefits them. In this monthly column, I hope to help guide you through the process of understanding CBD so that you, too, can gain the optimal benefits of this highly-esteemed cannabinoid.


Cannabidiol (CBD) is only one phyto (plant derived)-cannabinoid. It is the second most abundant out of hundreds of the chemical compounds found in cannabis. Unlike the familiar THC, it is nonpsychoactive, meaning that CBD doesn’t give you that ‘high’ feeling when used in larger amounts. Studies are finding that CBD can actually reduce these psychoactive effects because it reacts on a cellular level rather than partially binding to our cell receptors like THC. Studies have found these receptors in our brain, organs, and all systems. This is a ‘signaling system” known as our endocannabinoid system (ECS) – an important information delivery system, made up of receptors and endogenous (“endo” meaning within) compounds, known as endocannabinoid acids.


The endocannabinoid system (or ECS) is a complex system of receptors designed to attach and respond to the compounds in the cannabis plant, including CBD. Every living creature has one. This system is what makes CBD’s healing properties possible. If we did not have this extraordinary system, our organs would not have any communication or ‘signal’ to and from one another. This means that without your ECS, not one human breath would be possible. In fact, go far enough back in history, and you will find that even before dinosaurs walked the earth, endocannabinoids were first found in algae.

Our endocannabinoids, anandamide, and 2AG, are enzymes that degrade (or break down) and activate these receptors. This process is called retrograde signaling, and it happens when our endocannabinoids attach to the cells to signal the information of the following functions: pain response, mood, appetite, energy, sensation, metabolism, inflammation, stress response, thermoregulation (body temp and circulation), muscle control, motivation & reward (bliss) and eye ocular pressure.

When consumed, CBD acts as an important agent to the immune system. It helps to fight back when we have an imbalance, whether it be stress, trauma, injury, poor diet, lack of exercise, etc. Our endocannabinoid system helps restore and maintains our balance. CBD has been found to help by signaling our cells to produce more endocannabinoids and fewer free radicals, promoting balance in our ECS. CBD does this by its own naturally made up compound structure, having been produced by a plant that produces alike compound structures to our endocannabinoids. Clearly, your endocannabinoid system is an important system to consider when addressing your health and overall balance.


All patients are different. CBD users can suffer from a wide array of diseases and ailments. Studies find that some patients use CBD products as more of a supplement, for protection and recovery. Others use CBD more than two times per day to achieve their desired results.

When comparing these different cases, consistency has been found in patients that are suffering with more than one imbalance to use significantly more CBD, thus receiving more effective results. Unfortunately, we do not have enough research to say who needs what and how much. Doctors can only recommend 1-2 servings per day. For more information, talk to a doctor you trust who is educated on the endocannabinoid system, or an experienced medical marijuana educator.


It’s important to keep an open mind when you are beginning your journey with CBD products. The key to finding how much CBD you need is to practice consistency and use trial and error. Patience is important. Know that you need to do your research on the company that you are wanting to purchase from. Find out what ingredients are used in their products and make sure they are all safe, natural, and have their own naturally healing properties. Quality is important when considering which products are right for your own individual body and condition(s).

Be wary of products at the lowest prices. This could mean they are of poor quality and may even be synthetic. Make sure that the farm and the company are compliant with the 2014 farm bill – that they are operating with seed-to-sale transparency, organic cultivation and harvesting practices, good manufacturing processes and updated certifications. These things are a must. It’s imperative to find a company that has years of experience, along with an abundance of knowledge with a clear understanding of cannabis, offering high-quality, consistent cannabis products.

If you are unsure whether you want to start using CBD, I say why not try it? You may end up getting the desired relief that you’ve been searching for. Stated by Professor Raphael Mechoulam, the godfather of cannabis and the founder of our endocannabinoid system, “Cannabis works. No doubt about it, it works. Essentially in every disease that has been investigated the endogenous cannabinoid system is involved.”



Cannabinoid chemistry: an overview