In the last couple of years the internet has become full of stories about CBD and the great benefits that many people are experiencing from adding it to their diet as a food supplement.
But what is CBD and how is it related to cannabis, which is an illegal drug? And what does CBD stand for?
What does CBD stand for?
A commonly asked question is: What does CBD stand for? It stands for cannabidiol which is one of more than 100 chemicals in cannabis called cannabinoids. The abbreviation CBD is often used because it is easier to say than cannabidiol.
It’s one of the most abundant cannabinoids but probably the most important thing is that it is not psychoactive. It will not get you ‘stoned’, you will not feel ‘high’ after using it. The cannabinoid that produces the ‘high’ is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It is also one of the most abundant cannabinoids but not in the sort of cannabis that CBD products are made from.
CBD products are made from a type of cannabis called industrial hemp that can be grown legally under licence. It contains only trace amounts of THC but it has lots of CBD and other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and compounds found in all forms of cannabis. It’s important to realise that, apart from crystals, all CBD products are ‘whole plant extracts’ so they contain all these ingredients, just the tiniest trace of THC, which is why they are legal to buy and sell.
You see, contrary to much of the misinformation that has been published over the years, cannabis is a very nutritious plant. It’s very good for you and with the THC taken out there is no risk of side effects, just the beneficial effects which just like vitamins, minerals or other food supplements, can help to improve and maintain your health.
CBD, is not the only beneficial cannabinoid found in cannabis, in fact over 100 have been identified. Each cannabinoid holds unique characteristics of their own, and when taken together form what’s commonly called the “entourage effect”. The combined therapeutic effect is greater than the individual components. But what exactly are Cannabinoids?
What are Cannabinoids?
While reading about CBD you may have come across the terms; cannabinoids, endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids. We think it’s important to explain these terms before going any further.
Cannabinoids are a diverse class of chemical compounds that occur naturally in the human body and also in some plants, most notably, cannabis. These cannabinoids interact with receptors within our bodies own endocannabinoid system (ECS) to trigger various physiological actions. The ECS plays a essential role within the body and cannabinoids are vital for the ECS to function effectively.
When cannabinoids are produced within the body they are commonly called endocannabinoids, ‘Endo’ meaning ‘internal’ or ‘within’.
When cannabinoids are produced by plants they are often called phytocannabinoids, ‘Phyto’ meaning ‘of a plant’.
Cannabinoids interact with the body in different ways, having a variety of different effects. However they can only influence the body due to the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system helps to regulate and re-establish numerous physiological processes such as appetite, mood and memory. Cannabinoids can be very beneficial for the body.
Terpenes and flavonoids
But the cannabis plant isn’t finished yet. Not only does it provide an abundance of beneficial cannabinoids, but it also produces other chemical compounds called terpenes and flavonoids.
At first glance these compounds appear to just affect the taste and smell of cannabis, but when you take a closer look they their true potential is revealed.
Each terpene has its own therapeutic properties and many of them positively interact with the body’s native endocannabinoid system (ECS). Terpenes also have a synergistic effect with the other compounds in cannabis – they work together to influence the dominant effects of the other cannabinoids.
Some terpenes are relatively well known for their potential in biomedicine and have been used in traditional medicine for centuries, while others are yet to be studied in detail. Because of the very low toxicity, terpenes are already widely used as food additives and in cosmetic products. Thus, they have been proven safe and well-tolerated.
In addition to vitamins and minerals, cannabinoids and terpenes, plant foods like cannabis supply compounds called phytonutrients. These naturally occurring chemicals help plants resist disease and bacteria while they’re growing. When you consume plant foods, you may reap the benefits of these powerful nutrients.
Flavonoids constitute one class of phytonutrients, and provide plants with their colourful pigments. Within the flavonoid family are about 4,000 subtypes that offer a range of health benefits. Around 20 of these compounds have been identified in the cannabis plant, which is great because they’re also known for their many beneficial properties.
How CBD works within the body
Now we have answered the question: what does CBD stand for? and discussed the many beneficial compounds found in cannabis, let’s move on to discuss how these benefits work within the body.
Did you know the body has its very own cannabinoid system, called the endocannabinoid system (ECS)?
Many scientists believe that the ECS – as it’s also called – is the body’s most important physiological system. This elegantly complex system is involved in virtually every aspect of our physical and emotional health. Remarkably, we didn’t discover the ECS until the early 1990s, when scientists identified the primary receptor sites for the body’s endocannabinoid system: CB1 and CB2. (CB1 receptors are found primarily in the brain, while CB2 receptors are most prominent in the immune system.)
The endogenous endocannabinoid system, named after the plant that led to its discovery, is perhaps the most important physiologic system involved in establishing and maintaining human health.
Endocannabinoids are part of the endogenous cannabinoid (or endocannabinoid) system, which consists of endocannabinoids and their receptors. The system is present throughout the human body, and it helps to regulate crucial aspects of our health, such as our immune and nervous systems.
Endocannabinoids and their receptors are found throughout the body: in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells. In each tissue, the cannabinoid system performs different tasks, but the goal is always the same: homeostasis, the maintenance of a stable internal environment despite fluctuations in the external environment.
Homeostasis is a key element in the biology of all living things. It is best described as the ability to maintain stable internal conditions that are necessary for survival. Disease is a result of failing to achieve homeostasis.
There are two main types of cannabinoid receptors found throughout the body (CB1 and CB2), but they are most abundant in the brain and immune system respectively. In a nutshell, your ECS is responsible for making sure your entire body is working optimally.
The Endocannabinoid system is involved with many basic functions. It is believed to play a role in memory, mood, sleep, appetite, and immune response. It also affects a number of physiological processes including circulation, energy metabolism and organ function.
Cannabinoids and endocannabinoid deficiency
Why are cannabinoids like CBD and Hemp important?
As we have discussed, our body has millions of cannabinoid receptors that are part of the brain, skin, and central nervous system (CNS) called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). CBD interacts with the body’s ECS and our body naturally produces cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids.
The endocannabinoid system supports homeostasis by utilising cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors found throughout the immune system and central and peripheral nervous systems.
When an imbalance is detected, the body naturally synthesizes cannabinoids to interact with the cannabinoid receptors, which in turn stimulate a chemical response that works to return the physiological process that is out of balance back to homeostasis. Cannabinoids are what allow communication and coordination between different cell types. Scientists believe that in some cases not enough cannabinoids are created for the endocannabinoid system to work effectively.
Just like with vitamins and minerals, it is possible for our bodies to become deficient in our naturally occurring endocannabinoids, leading to ill-health. This condition, referred to as clinical endocannabinoid deficiency, has been linked to several health problems and diseases.
This is where CBD oil comes into its own. Plant cannabinoids, or phytocannabinoids, act in a similar way to endocannabinoids. Meaning we can correct an endocannabinoid deficiency and boost our bodies natural defenses by supplementing our diet with CBD oil.
Love Hemp CBD supplements
At Love Hemp we offer high quality CBD products made from whole plant extract. A ‘whole plant extract’ is an oil produced by a high-tech process that uses carbon dioxide to get all the goodness out of the plant. Love Hemp then takes that oil and makes it available in a variety of different products.
The oil itself is available in different concentrations and may be taken neat, added to food or drink. It can be used as an e-cig liquid, in fact this is one of the most efficient ways to get CBD into your bloodstream. It’s also available as capsules, creams, in a spray bottle or even as sweet and juicy gummy bears.
We would encourage you to experiment with different Love Hemp products. Find out what suits you best. Take a daily CBD supplement and see how much better you feel!
We hope this article has given you an introduction into this healing natural substance. So the next time someone asks you; What does CBD stand for, you can answer with confidence.