CBD 101: Cannabinoid Science

If you're considering giving CBD oil a try, you're definitely not alone. Since 2017, we've helped tens of thousands of people improve their health and well-being with CBD — but what exactly is CBD oil, and how does it work its magic?

This mini-course will look at the research on how CBD oil provides its natural health benefits, and why it could be a good choice for you!

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Key Takeaways

  • CBD oil is not a marijuana product. It's nature's most powerful anti-inflammatory! CBD is non-intoxicating and safe for everyone– from children to military personnel and everyone in between.

  • CBD interacts with receptors in the endocannabinoid system to support homeostasis (balance) within the body. It's also been shown to have unique interactions with pain receptors, inflammation markers, and neurotransmitters in the brain that help to regulate stress.

  • While CBD oil drops are the most popular form, we've designed many other CBD applications to serve you better. Depending on the form, how CBD works in the body may be different.

What is CBD?

Cannabis plants are chock full of beneficial compounds with promising health benefits for the human body (and pets too). CBD is one of over 100 biologically active compounds which belong to a class of chemicals called cannabinoids.

CBD is often used to maintain balance and peace in the body and even pain relief, all without the side effects that accompany prescription medications. And unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive.

We wanted to provide the benefits of cannabis without the risks of side effects, so we created a brand of CBD products that contain zero THC and are safe for everyone— whether you're giving it to your kids or relying on clean drug screenings at work.

You can find CBD oils sold in a wide variety of potencies and applications, from oil drops, to topical creams, to gummies, and even treats for pets on our website. Try it risk-free for 30 days.

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How does CBD work?

CBD works by interacting with the body's endocannabinoid system— a biological network of receptors found throughout the body that help maintain homeostasis. While scientists are still learning the complexities of this system, it's believed to be crucial in regulating bodily functions such as inflammation, mood, sleep, appetite, immune response, and stress.

When CBD is introduced into the body, it binds to your body's endocannabinoid receptors and interacts with them in a way that helps to regulate these functions.

That's why many people turn to CBD oil to help with anxiety, sleep, inflammation, and pain. Despite being available since the late 1960's, more research is needed in clinical trials to fully grasp CBD oil's potential benefits, risks, appropriate dosages, and safe methods of use in humans.

How much CBD should I take?

Our physicians recommend a starting dose between 15mg-25mg taken as often as needed to treat your symptoms. All of our CBD oil products contain a concentration of CBD that falls within this range for easy, reliable, and consistent dosing. 

It's important to note that finding a serving size of CBD that will meet your individual needs depends on a variety of factors, so we always recommend you start low and work your way up to larger amounts as needed. You'll want to take the least amount of CBD to maximize your benefits!

When taking CBD Oil Drops, start with 1/2 dropper under your tongue, and wait 30 seconds before swallowing. Try this for a few days and pay attention to how you feel. You can always take more or less depending on your individual needs. 

We also recommend that whatever product you choose, you consume it to completion before determining whether it is right for you. If you have questions about which CBD product may be best for you, please reach out to us via chat, phone, or email. 

Where can I buy CBD oil?

With CBD shops popping up on every corner, it’s easy to step into the nearest store and grab whatever product you see first. But the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate CBD as an approved dietary supplement, and quality can vary dramatically between brands and products.

In fact, a Penn Medicine study found that nearly 70% of all CBD products sold online are incorrectly labeled or contain unsafe quantities of THC, causing potential serious harm to patients and consumers. Here’s what you need to know about sourcing and vetting CBD brands to find the best one for you:

  1. Ask for the certificate of analysis (COA). A COA details compounds found in a CBD product. Experts recommend exclusively shopping for CBD products that are tested by third-party laboratories and provide recent COAs on their contents to ensure you’re consuming what the label suggests.
  2. Go organic. Seek out products that are grown sustainably and support local agriculture. Look at the product label. Can you tell where the product is coming from? Does it contain any industrially processed oils, additives, or preservatives?
  3. Look for a short, U.S.-grown ingredient list. Unless you’re buying pure CBD oil (called CBD isolate), you’re likely ingesting other compounds including small traces of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Rest assured, all Green Valley Nutrition CBD products are made with 99% pure CBD isolate, which means they contain absolutely zero THC.

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

Many of us have heard of some of the transmitter systems within our bodies, such as the sympathetic nervous system, which gives us our fight-or-flight response. Fewer have heard of the more recently discovered endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is amazing when you consider that the ECS is critical for almost every aspect of our moment-to-moment functioning.

The ECS is perhaps the most important physiological system involved in establishing and maintaining human health. At its most basic, it is a huge network of cannabinoid receptors which are densely packed throughout through our brains and bodies.

The "cannabinoid" receptors in the brain — the CB1 receptors — outnumber many of the other receptor types on the brain. They act like traffic cops to control the levels and activity of most of the other neurotransmitters. This is how they regulate things: by turning up or down the activity of whichever system needs to be adjusted, whether that is hunger, temperature, or alertness.

To stimulate these receptors, our bodies produce molecules called endocannabinoids, which have a structural similarity to molecules in the cannabis plant. The first endocannabinoid that was discovered was named anandamide after the Sanskrit word ananda for bliss. All of us have tiny cannabis-like molecules floating around in our brains. The cannabis plant, which humans have been using for about 5,000 years, essentially works its effect by hijacking this ancient cellular machinery.

A second type of cannabinoid receptor, the CB2 receptor, exists mostly in our immune tissues and is critical to helping control our immune functioning, and it plays a role in modulating intestinal inflammation, contraction, and pain in inflammatory bowel conditions. CB2 receptors are particularly exciting targets of drug development because they don't cause the high associated with cannabis that stimulating the CB1 receptors does (which is often an unwanted side effect).

The ECS regulates and controls many of our most critical bodily functions such as learning and memory, emotional processing, sleep, temperature control, pain control, inflammatory and immune responses, and eating. The ECS is currently at the center of renewed international research and drug development.

Simple, effective science.

The endocannabinoid system is the largest system in the body– and yet the least understood. Discover the secrets behind this incredible network.

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The ECS's role in learning and memory

We know that the ECS plays a critical role in learning and memory due to several lines of research. The most obvious observation is that one of the main side effects of high dosages of recreational cannabis use is the temporary disruption of short-term memory. Memory returns to normal with abstinence. There have also been some sophisticated studies of how humans acutely respond to the administration of THC (the active ingredient in cannabis) and the ways in which this alters both their ability to memorize things in the short term and the patterns observed on their functional brain imaging.

According to the popular writer Michael Pollan in his bestselling book The Botany of Desire, cannabis is one of the plants that humans have cultivated, or co-evolved with, for thousands of years. This is in part, Pollan writes, because the act of forgetting plays a valuable role in the ability of our brains to function without being overloaded with data from our senses that we are continually bombarded with. Pollan hypothesizes that if we didn't forget, we wouldn't function, and cannabis helps us do this. The role that the ECS plays in forgetting also opens up opportunities for the treatment of PTSD, a condition in which there are unpleasant, intrusive memories that people can't help but remember, and that cause a whole syndrome of troublesome and dangerous symptoms related to the pathological remembering.

The ECS's role in hunger and fine-tuning weight-loss medications

The cautionary tale of the drug rimonabant, a drug that blocks the CB1 receptor, is an interesting example of the central role the ECS plays in so many crucial functions. It was developed as an anti-obesity drug. The thinking was that the ECS controls hunger. We know this because, among other lines of evidence, cannabis gives you "the munchies," so if you block the CB1 receptor it should cause weight loss. Rimonabant did cause weight loss, quite successfully. But, because the ECS also regulates mood, it had to be withdrawn from the market on an emergency basis because people who were taking it were becoming suicidal. However, we can imagine a case, as we better understand the complexities of the ECS, where we may be able to create a weight-loss medication that acts on those cannabinoid receptors that affect weight loss, but that doesn't act on those receptors that control mood.

Exploration of the ECS may lead to new drug discoveries

Study of the ECS was initially focused on attempts to understand (and demonize) an illegal drug, but new research has since flourished into a far more broad-based exploration into what is an astoundingly intricate and far-reaching system by which our bodies learn, feel, motivate, and keep themselves in balance. We are truly at the dawn of an age of discovery of the ECS and the development of new medicines that may help alleviate some of the cruelest diseases that people (and animals) suffer from. I am incredibly excited to see what discoveries await us as we continue to untangle the mysteries of the ECS.

CBD May Reverse Endocannabinoid Deficiency

Endocannabinoid deficiency is a medical theory that suggests that some people may have a deficiency in the endocannabinoid system. According to this theory, a deficiency in the endocannabinoid system may lead to various health problems, such as chronic pain, anxiety, and depression.

Some evidence supports the idea that endocannabinoid deficiency may be involved in the development of certain health conditions. For example, research has shown that people with fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by chronic pain and fatigue, may have lower levels of endocannabinoids in their bodies compared to healthy individuals. Similarly, some studies have found that people with anxiety and depression may also have lower levels of endocannabinoids [4].

Other diseases that may be associated with endocannabinoid deficiencies may include:

  • Migraine headaches [4]
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder [5]
  • Anxiety disorders [5]
  • Multiple sclerosis [6]
  • Sleep disorders [4]
  • Irritable bowel syndrome [5]

Some health experts recommend anti-inflammatory dietary supplements such as omega-3 and CBD oil to support the levels of cannabinoids in the body. Scientists are still looking to uncover how CBD works and the larger role of endocannabinoid system in health and disease.

Remember– every body is different.

Every body is unique and reacts differently to medications, supplements, and even natural treatments like CBD. So it's always a good idea to start slow, and work up as needed to find the right dose for you.

Some people find relief from their aches or anxieties after just one dose of CBD oil, while others require more frequent use to achieve the same effects. So don't give up if you don't get the results you were hoping for after the first or second dose.

Additionally, some people feel the effects of CBD more quickly than others. This is why experts recommend trying out different doses and frequencies of taking CBD until you understand its impact on your body. It's also a good idea to take notes throughout the week to monitor your progress.

While some common effects may be experienced after taking CBD oil products, how CBD works for an individual can vary in effectiveness and duration. With patience and experimentation, however, you can certainly find what works best for you.

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