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What Is CBD, Anyway? CBD 101

It’s popular. It’s trendy. It can be found in high-end salons and at your local health food store. 

We’re talking about CBD, of course!  This plant-derived product has created quite a stir over the past three or four years. But what is CBD, exactly? And what does it do? In this blog we’ll be going over all the best and brightest fundamentals, including: 

  • What CBD is
  • What CBD does
  • 4 potential benefits of CBD
    • Less stress
    • Calmness
    • Less inflammation
    • Better sleep

What CBD is

CBD is the hemp plant’s active ingredient. It’s basically what vitamin C is to oranges and iron is to omega 3’s are to salmon [1]. 

You can also think of CBD as hemp’s essential oil. Hemp is full of fat-soluble compounds, especially in its flowering tops, which is where most of its CBD content comes from. 

CBD’s full name is canna bi diol (the acronym is more popular for obvious reasons!). While CBD is just one of the 100+ cannabinoids that hemp produces, it’s mentioned most because other cannabinoids are only present in trace amounts. 

You may have heard that CBD is a chemical derived from hemp, but don’t let that scare you off. CBD, just like vitamin C, is a naturally-occurring phytochemical that meshes pretty dang well with the human body. 

What CBD does

And by mesh, we mean activate. 

CBD’s unique molecular structure means it may activate the body’s endocannabinoid system, or ECS [2]. Though the ECS is very complex, it can be divided into two major parts: CB1 and CB2. 

CBD binds mostly to CB1 recepors, so that’s what we’ll be focusing on here. CB2 receptors are located throughout muscles, mitochondria, and many vital organs — throughout nearly your entire body! They respond to inputs from cannabinoids like CBD in a quest to regulate the flow of energy. Basically, they’re like our cells’ internal thermostats. 

But even the endocannabinoid system need a little help sometimes, and that’s where CBD come in. 

By closely working with CB2 receptors, CBD may help get your endocannabinoid levels back up to a healthy baseline. The endocannabinoid system, in turn, can then bring you back into balance. What started with a small input (taking CBD) can easily snowball into all sorts of healthy changes. 

4 potential benefits of CBD

1. Less stress

We live in a world that bombards us with all sorts of stressful situations...especially in recent years. Now for some good news: the research hints that CBD may help. 

How? By allowing your body to better communicate with itself. CBD may help send signals that allow for faster, smoother information processing, and it does this on-demand, exactly when and where the body needs it. 

CBD may also help your body’s endocannabinoid system produce more of its own anti-stress substances [3]. And with higher endocannabinoid levels comes an increased ability to fight off stress. 

2. Calmness

Many CBD users notice something subtle-yet-powerful when they start taking the compound: an increased sense of calm. 

You don’t have to be anxious to enjoy CBD’s calming tendencies, either. Even people who don’t suffer from anxiety may feel more calm and collected while taking CBD. 

Much of this calming effect may be thanks to CBD’s interaction with serotonin receptors [4]. We won’t get into the technicalities here, but suffice to say that CBD may help stabilize serotonin levels, which may then stabilize one’s mood.  

3. Less inflammation 

Many people think of pain and swelling when they hear the term inflammation, but it gets way worse than that. "Chronic inflammation lies at the root of virtually every disease process known to modern man,” explains Dr. Chis Lydon of Yale University, “from weight gain, obesity & heart disease to autoimmune disorders like lupus, MS and rheumatoid arthritis.”

Thankfully, CBD may combat it. Some research has discovered that CBD may ‘quiet down’ the immune response; other research shows that it may reduce the inflammatory prostaglandins produced from the foods we eat [5]. All in all, reducing inflammation is one of the best ways to feel healthy and relaxed. And considering that chronic inflammation seems to be a mostly modern condition, taking plant compounds to reduce it is about as natural as it gets!

4. Better sleep

CBD may be great for sleep. And — unlike some of its other qualities, which tend to build up over time — CBD’s effect on sleep can be pretty immediate. 

In fact, many people report that CBD helps them feel more awake during the day and more sleepy at night. Compare that to traditional sleep medications (which often make you sleepy regardless of what time it is) and it’s easy to see why so many people are switching over to CBD. One recent study attributed CBD’s sleep-centric benefits to its ability to soften mental tension and calm the mind [6]. 

Wrapping things up

Are you ready to experience CBD’s benefits for yourself? If so, we’ve got a solution: the CBD subscription box. It’s probably the easiest, simplest way to ensure you take CBD consistently. Plus it makes the process fun! Feel free to can subscribe here

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