What Is A Cannabinoid? – Understanding CBD
In order to understand the somewhat mysterious power of CBD, you need to start with the basics. Before taking a deep dive into what CBD does and how it can make your wellness routine soar, we need to talk about what it is. The hemp plant creates over 100 cannabinoids. CBD is just one of them.
In current popular culture, CBD rises to the top of this stew of biological components. However, many of CBD’s cannabinoid cousins also show promise. In fact, there could be another superstar cannabinoid lurking in the mix that remains unstudied. This is an obvious reason to gain a little knowledge about cannabinoids in general.
The next best hemp compound could be just a discovery away.
The final reason to understand how CBD relates to other cannabinoids is because of a cumulative effect called The Entourage Effect. You’ll hear us mention this over and over in our CBD discussions. That’s because it’s the determining factor behind our decision to offer full-spectrum hemp products.
For all of these reasons and more, we’re discussing cannabinoids today. By the time you’re done with this short article, you’ll have a greater understanding of these amazing compounds.
The Many Cannabinoids In Hemp
Cannabinoids are organic compounds that possess the ability to interact with systems found in most animals. There are actually two types of cannabinoids: endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids. Plants like hemp and cannabis make phytocannabinoids. Animals make endocannabinoids themselves and they act as ‘ligands,’ or substances that influence biomolecules for biological purposes.
Both cannabis and hemp create phytocannabinoids and the reasons they do this are still largely unknown. Most theories about this center around the plant’s desire to protect itself.
Why Hemp Makes Cannabinoids
Some research suggests that cannabinoids (THC) protect against UV light, so perhaps the plants make them in order to avoid sun damage. We also know that many cannabinoids have antibiotic properties, in which case the plants could use them to protect against physical damage and infections. Another possibility is that the plants bank on the fact that animals experience cannabinoids’ effects. Those thrips aren’t as formidable if they’re intoxicated.
None of those reasons really explain why there are at least 113 cannabinoids in hemp, however. In addition to cannabinoids, hemp creates substances called terpenes and flavonoids. Terpenes affect how the plant smells, can create changes inside our bodies when we ingest them and interact with cannabinoids. Flavonoids are largely about how the plant tastes.
You share more in common with the hemp plant than you knew, since you’re both swimming in cannabinoids right now.
What Is A Cannabinoid? – Your Endocannabinoid System
Why are all those endocannabinoids inside your body already? They’re doing their ligand thing, in this case, binding with protein receptors and exerting influence on your neurotransmitters. Your body makes them as a natural part of something called your Endocannabinoid System.
Just like your Central Nervous System does many things for you, your Endocannabinoid System is always busy too. It helps your body function in peak condition, fosters balance or homeostasis, and supports a number of autonomic bodily functions.
Endocannabinoids are involved in your digestion, your hormonal functions, your stimulus perceptions and tolerance, cellular communication and cognitive function. They’re working in almost every system inside your body.
In this way, your Endocannabinoid System is a network that reaches inside other systems and is pretty pervasive. You never realized you had it, but you’d be lost without it.
Cannabinoids, The Entourage Effect, And Full-Spectrum Cannabinoid Products
We take CBD to supplement our natural endocannabinoid load, but some research suggests that CBD works best alongside its cannabinoid friends. This cumulative effect is called The Entourage Effect.
When the entire spectrum of cannabinoids inside hemp enters the body together, they become greater than they are alone by exerting influence on each other. Some increase each other’s effects. Others mellow certain aspects of another cannabinoid’s less desirable abilities.
The Experts Say:
Let’s hear an explanation of this from Dr. Ethan Russo, neurologist, scientist, author, and director of research and development at the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute.
So, cannabis is a botanical… [that] doesn’t rely on one compound to produce [its] beneficial effects. Rather there may be many – and that’s certainly the case in cannabis where we know that there are actually over 100 related molecules, we call cannabinoids, but in addition there are aromatic compounds, the same things that you’d find in lemon and pine needles called terpenoids that alter the effects of the cannabinoids in a way that often is synergistic. Synergy is a boosting of effect. So, it would be the idea that 2 + 2, instead to equaling 4, it gives you an 8 in terms of the benefit. So, for example, as we’ve mentioned, cannabidiol treats pain. But there are other ingredients in cannabis that also treat pain or may limit the side effects of other components and so it is sort of like an ensemble of musical instruments… producing a harmony that really increases the overall effect and makes hopefully the best possible medicine.
The possibility of increased wellness through total plant therapy, or full-spectrum products, had a big enough impact on us that we carry several of these holistic CBD products in our Skara line.
How This Knowledge Can Inform Your CBD Use
Do you really need to intimately understand what cannabinoids are in order to use them? You don’t need a full understanding to reap CBD’s benefits. However, the more you know the better you can incorporate CBD products into your wellness routine.
You’re also fully prepared to be a cannabinoid ambassador. Now you can educate others on the potential benefits that full-spectrum CBD products hold. We could all use a little more harmony in our lives, right?