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CBD or cannabidiol is one of over 100 known cannabinoid compounds isolated from the Cannabis plant. Cannabidiol is not psycho-active and does not produce the high associated with THC. Cannabidiol is becoming widely popular for treating a variety of conditions for a good reason. It works. Based on clinical research, CBD is an anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, anxiolytic, anti-epileptic, and analgesic. It has been shown to enhance circulation and cellular regeneration. As a topical agent, CBD can be directly applied to certain areas of the body as an effective means of relieving pain and soreness, reducing inflammation, and soothing inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema.
The use of CBD hemp isolate in topical form is a useful alternative for people who wish to avoid the psychoactive effects of THC and those who would like options besides the over-the-counter steroid-based creams or analgesic rubs typically used for arthritis, joint pain, and similar ailments. This is particularly appealing to older people or those wishing to avoid THC containing compounds for practical reasons such as drug testing by employers.
How does cannabidiol produce these wonderful effects? In order to understand how CBD works, we first have to understand the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The NIH defines the ECS as, “a recently discovered signaling system comprising the cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors, their intrinsic lipid ligands, endocannabinoids, and the associated enzymatic machinery.”
The ECS manages many functions in the body, such as the limbic, metabolic, pain signaling, and immunologic functions. Endocannabinoids are regulating chemicals that interact with the cannabinoid receptors to help maintain the normal functioning of the body. They produce their effect by detecting and regulating pain, fear, hunger and other basic functions.
If the ECS is affected, or the body is not producing enough endocannabinoids, these functions in the body may become unbalanced. And when the body is not producing or regulating endocannabinoids properly, ingesting natural cannabinoids or applying them topically can restore this balance. Cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, are found abundantly within the immune system, the gastrointestinal tract, and in the central and peripheral nervous system. Cannabidiol does not directly interact with cannabinoid receptors. Instead, it action is thought to be via FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase).
FAAH removes anandamide. Anandamide is brain lipid that has a special affinity for endocannabinoid receptors. Current research shows that increasing anandamide can help regulate pain, inflammation, sleeping disorders and possibly cancer.
FAAH also breaks down and removes natural endocannabinoids. CBD inhibits FAAH thereby increasing anandamide and endocannabinoids available to the body. Since endocannabinoids have a balancing and healing effect on the body’s basic systems and functions, CBD’s ability to increase the amount of endocannabinoids and affect other signaling chemicals results in CBD’s abundant beneficial effects on the body.