Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the main active cannabinoids found in cannabis plants.
Cannabis plants naturally produce over 400 different chemical compounds and researchers have identified at least 113 phytocannabinoids in the plant. The two major and most beneficial cannabinoids found in cannabis are CBD and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Cannabinoids are a class of diverse chemical compounds found in cannabis plants and are also naturally occurring within the body. Cannabinoids act on cannabinoid receptors in cells that alter neurotransmitter release in the brain, these receptors are present throughout the body, the central nervous system and the immune system.
Cannabinoid receptors are part of an endogenous system that researchers named the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a very important system that is involved in a variety of physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory.
The two main cannabinoid receptors that have been identified are the CB1 and CB2 receptors, it was first thought that we only had two cannabinoid receptors but a third receptor more recently discovered is known among researchers as the GPR55 receptor.
Ligands, or binding molecules, for these receptors include endocannabinoids that are naturally produced by the body such as anandamide and phytocannabinoids such as CBD and THC that are naturally occurring cannabinoids found in cannabis plants.
CBD is one of the main beneficial phytocannabinoids found in cannabis and isn’t psychoactive so it doesn’t alter the state of mind or create a ‘high’ or paranoid feeling; instead it has been found to have a downregulating impact on disordered thinking and anxiety. CBD has a low affinity for both CB1 and CB2 receptors so rather than binding to these receptors directly CBD acts as an indirect antagonist of these receptors and influences the body to use its own naturally occurring cannabinoids more efficiently, creating a more stable environment within known as homeostasis.
Studies and the sharing of personal experiences have suggested that CBD has significant benefits when treating a range of conditions such as; anxiety, inflammation, insomnia, nausea, depression and pain. CBD has also been reported to act as an anti-convulsant and anti-psychotic, some of which cases have been video documented. Although more studies are needed in order to find out the full effects CBD has on the body, it has proven to be well tolerated at quite high amounts.
You may not feel any immediate effects when you first start taking CBD because it can take a while to ‘wake up’ your endocannabinoid system but you can expect it to be having good effects within 2 weeks. Every person is different so what might work for one might not necessarily work for another but the general idea is to start off on a lower dose and gradually increase over a few weeks or until the desired effects are reached.
If you’re thinking of trying CBD yourself it would be a good idea to have a look around online to get as much information as possible before deciding whether it could help you. You should also check to see if CBD will have any interactions with any medicines that you may already be taking and if you’re not sure you should consult a medical professional.
There are many reputable companies selling CBD products in the U.K which must be sold as a food supplement and are made using cannabidiol from hemp plants, a legal cannabis sativa plant that is high in CBD and low in THC. Shopping around and making sure you understand the strengths, volumes and percentages will save you a lot of time and money so make sure you do a bit of research before you buy.
CBD is commonly applied sublingual (under the tongue) in an oil or paste but it can also be taken in capsule form, added to food and drink, vapourised and applied topically to the skin in the form of balms, creams and patches.