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What is CBD?

What is CBD?

People seek to buy CBD oil, CBD balms, and CBD products online for many reasons, such as relaxation, rest, and general wellness support. You might have heard of terms such as full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, or THC-free CBD. But what exactly is CBD and how does it work?

In the 1970's, Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli organic chemist and professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel, succeeded in the synthesis of the major cannabis plant cannabinoids: Cannabidiol (CBD) and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol. With this, Mechoulam jumpstarted the medical revolution which has transformed the debate around CBD and the lives of so many people.  

 CBD Molucule

CBD is not THC

CBD is a natural compound produced by the cannabis or hemp plant, nevertheless, CBD is not THC. Contrary to THC, CBD is non-psychoactive. As per the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD products must be extracted from industrial hemp and contain only trace amounts of less than 0.3% THC, if any.

Products known as full-spectrum contain up to 0.3% THC, while broad-spectrum products may be offered with even smaller traces or THC-Free (non-detectable by lab analysis.)

Products known as CBD Isolates contain no THC at all. However, lacking any of the other cannabinoids, terpenes, or flavonoids from the full plant working in conjunction, Isolates do not provide this "entourage effect."

CBD is used to make a variety of products from oils and tinctures, to balms, pain creams, and beauty products, among others. But how does it work?

How CBD works

Studies indicate that Phytocannabinoids like those found in CBD may improve the functionality of the receptors in the endocannabinoid system. CBD binds with receptors in the endocannabinoid system such as those in our nervous and immune systems, improving the functionality of these receptors.

The endocannabinoid system is responsible for maintaining a state of steady internal physical and chemical conditions within our bodies, also known as homeostasis. Some people may equate homeostasis with a feeling of general wellness.

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The Endocannabinoid System

    • A system of cannabinoid receptors allowing cells and organs to communicate effectively
    • The two main cannabinoid receptors are CB1 and CB2
    • CB1 receptors are found in our brain and central nervous system
    • CB2 receptors are primarily found in our immune system
    • Cannabinoid receptors respond to phytocannabinoids (CBD)
    • A healthy endocannabinoid system enables homeostasis


The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a biological system that allows our cells and organs to communicate with each other in order to balance overall activity. A healthy endocannabinoid system enables homeostasis, a state of steady internal physical and chemical conditions maintained within our bodies.

To maintain this balance, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) regulates physical and emotional processes with substances called endocannabinoids, which are neurotransmitters or signaling molecules that bind to cannabinoid receptors. Cannabinoid receptors not only respond to and interact with endocannabinoids, but with phytocannabinoids (CBD) which are produced by the cannabis plant.

Embedded in cell membranes, Cannabinoid receptors respond to environmental stimuli, producing an effect within the cell. The two main cannabinoid receptors are Cannabinoid Type 1 receptors (CB1) and Cannabinoid Type 2 receptors (CB2).

CB1 receptors are found in the brain and central nervous systems, with more CB1 receptors than all other receptors combined. CB2 receptors are primarily concentrated in the immune system. Similar to CB1 in the brain, CB2 is one of the most abundant receptors in immune tissue.


Food for Thought

At the present time, CBD is being studied for its therapeutic properties around the world. To this point it is worth mentioning the release of Epidiolex, the first FDA approved prescription CBD medicine for the treatment of seizures associated with two severe forms of epilepsy, as well as the Patent the US Government holds over Cannabinoids under the title “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants.” Patent No. 6,630,507  

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