CBD works in the body through its effects on the endocannabinoid system – and specifically, through its influence on the receptors of this system.
Ongoing research is helping to clarify the specific way that CBD impacts these receptors and what these interactions mean in terms of the overall influence on our health and wellness.
Though there is a lot of anecdotal evidence pointing to the benefits of CBD oil, you may not know exactly how CBD works.
There is much research to be done before we know exactly how CBD oil works in the brain and body and how CBD biologically achieves its therapeutic effects, but there are existing studies substantiating some of the anecdotal feedback.
In this article, we’ll discuss:
- The basics of CBD and its legality
- Your endocannabinoid system, which CBD acts upon to deliver its therapeutic benefits
- What to consider to identify a quality CBD oil
- Frequently asked questions about CBD
What Is CBD?
CBD, like THC, comes from cannabis. For clarity, hemp and marijuana are separate plants, but they both fall under the broader category of cannabis. CBD is derived from hemp, which are cannabis plants bred to yield high concentrations of CBD and low concentrations of THC.
The main difference between CBD and THC is that THC is intoxicating, whereas CBD is not.
Both compounds are psychoactive in the sense that they both impact the brain, but CBD from hemp will not produce the “high” associated with marijuana and THC. It is generally agreed upon that use of CBD does not affect one’s decision making or, for instance, impair one’s ability to drive safely.
Is CBD Legal?
In December 2018, hemp and all its derivatives, including CBD, were removed from the Controlled Substances Act and made federally legal in the United States. CBD products must contain less than 0.3% THC by federal law, and you’ll find that all of our Homestead Alternatives CBD products meet that requirement.
What Is The Endocannabinoid System?
CBD is a cannabinoid, meaning it acts on the endocannabinoid system of the body. This system plays a role in several important functions, ranging from immunity to metabolism to reproduction.
The Body’s Existing Endocannabinoids
“Endo” means originating with the body. Our bodies have their own endocannabinoids that are housed within us. Two key endocannabinoids are anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol.
These compounds are involved in a variety of functions. For instance, anandamide is known for affecting reward centers of our brains, and 2-arachidonoylglycerol appears to be involved in pain perception, emotion, cognition, energy, and immune responses.
The key takeaway here is understanding our bodies have an existing system built around the function of cannabinoids, so when taking CBD oil, you’re not introducing something totally foreign to your body.
You’re acting on a system that already uses cannabinoids to regulate certain functions in your brain and body.
What Are Phytocannabinoids?
CBD is more specifically referred to as a phytocannabinoid, meaning that it is a cannabinoid originating from a plant.
Cannabinoids do not have to come from within us to affect our endocannabinoid system, which is why CBD is able to impact us.
Because their molecular makeup is similar to that of endocannabinoids, cannabinoids originating outside our bodies can interact with our endocannabinoid systems, altering activity and delivering therapeutic benefits.
How CBD Influences Endocannabinoid Receptors In Our Brains and Bodies
Cannabinoids achieve physiological effects by acting on receptors throughout our brains and bodies.
Endocannabinoid receptors – referred to as CB1 and CB2 – are the major receptors affected by most cannabinoids. CB1 receptors are mainly located in the brain and spinal cord, whereas CB2 receptors tend to be located in other parts of the body.
Anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol, for instance, bind tightly to CB1 receptors, which initiates some of their effects on the body.
Interestingly, CBD does not have the same type of direct effect on these endocannabinoid receptors, but instead influences them in an indirect way.
Though the interaction between CBD and these receptors is indirect, it occurs even at very low doses of CBD, meaning that even low doses may enable CBD to achieve its observed effects, like reducing anxiety, pain, and inflammation.
In addition to its relationship with these endocannabinoid receptors, CBD also appears to affect activity of other major chemicals of the brain, including dopamine and serotonin.
This could account for the positive anecdotes some have shared about how CBD may be able to help with anxiety and other psychological ailments.
Frequently Asked Questions About CBD
With the novelty of CBD comes many questions about what it’s used for, how to find high quality CBD products, how much and how often to take it, and plenty more.
Below we’ve answered a few key frequently asked questions, and you can find plenty more at: Frequently Asked Questions About CBD.
What Is CBD Most Often Used For?
Our customers most often use CBD for conditions caused by inflammation, such as joint pain, muscle stiffness and soreness, and neuropathy/chronic nerve pain, along with other ailments like sleeplessness and anxiety.
While CBD is often presented as a cure-all — which we disagree with — its anti-inflammatory value is well-established by the National Institute of Health’s Patent, among other research.
How Do You Find A High Quality CBD Oil?
Given CBD’s surge in popularity, there has been a large influx of companies and affiliates in the market — many who aren’t intimately familiar with the hemp farming or CBD production processes.
Put simply, not all CBD is created equal, and minimal oversight on the hemp and CBD industries has led to many products reaching shelves that are mislabeled, misrepresented, and potentially harmful.
Below are a few tips for identifying quality, safe CBD oil next time you’re shopping.
1) Research and Know The Company
The most important consideration is what company you’re purchasing from. There are many “fly by night” CBD companies pushing products that aren’t high quality or even labeled correctly.
Know that when you shop with Laura, you’re buying from someone you can trust.
Laura has 35 years of experience in the natural foods and health and wellness spaces as the founder of Laura’s Lean Beef. Read more about Laura’s story.
2) Understand How The Company Grows and Processes Their Hemp
Laura’s Homestead Alternatives CBD is extracted from USDA certified organic hemp grown by us here at Laura’s Mt. Folly Farm in Winchester, Kentucky. Certified organic means the hemp is grown in rich soil without use of chemical pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers.
We happy to make our USDA organic certification public for all to see. View it here.
You’ll find that many companies, even those who would be considered industry leaders, don’t know the farmers who grow their hemp. Even fewer companies are able to genuinely claim the USDA certification; those who do claim it often can’t provide the certificate and are relying only on the word of their vendor(s).
Growing organically is important for another reason. We know foods grown organically in rich soil have higher nutritional values. We expect the same is true with hemp — that hemp grown organically yields stronger cannabinoids, which help us feel better.
Do your homework, research how the company sources their hemp, and check that it’s USDA certified organic hemp.
3) Seek Companies That Are Vertically Integrated
The highest quality CBD products come from companies that are vertically integrated.
Because we grow the hemp ourselves, we can guarantee the quality of the farming environment and methods.
We then work very closely with a local extractor. Because it’s local, our Quality Assurance team is able to make regular visits to meet with the Plant Managers and ensure our hemp is processed with the customer always in mind.
Finally, we work with local third-party labs to ensure our CBD products are true to the label and safe for consumption. We test for cannabinoid profile, microbials, heavy metals, and more, to make sure you receive the highest quality product possible.
Read more about our CBD extraction and testing processes, and the key considerations when buying CBD oil.
How Much CBD Should I Take?
While there isn’t a universally-recommended dosage, our customers tend to start at 25mg per day and adjust from there until desired benefits are realized. Those with more severe ailments may find additional relief with our Extra Strength CBD Oil, which customers most often start at a daily dose of 50mg.
How Often Should I Take CBD Oil?
You should take CBD oil daily at a consistent dosage to realize the maximum benefits. Skipping days between doses will reduce the effectiveness. Some people report it can take a few days or, in some rare cases, even up to a few weeks for the CBD to build up in their system and relief to set in.
Should I Take CBD Oil In The Morning or At Night?
Either is okay. It depends on why you’re using CBD and how you respond to it. For those taking CBD to help with sleep, taking it at night makes most sense. For those taking it to relieve pains throughout the day, taking it in the morning is most helpful.
Some of our customers split 50mg of CBD between two doses – one in the morning, one at night. Experiment and monitor the impact to find what works best for you.