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What is CBD? A Primer on What You Need to Know

Jan 27, 2022 | Hemp + Heart Journal

While it’s just one of the many organic compounds that make up cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD) has undoubtedly become the one that’s the most well-known and most talked about. Yet even though CBD has become such a high profile, sometimes it’s not precisely clear what CBD does when taken therapeutically. There’s also a lot of misinformation about what CBD does to the human body or whether it has a psychoactive effect on you as THC does.

Here’s our guide on what CBD is, what it does, and how it can be used to support better overall physical, mental, and emotional health.


The Endocannabinoid System

The human body comprises several different organs, many of them grouped in separate systems. Your respiratory system, circulatory system, and digestive system are a few examples of this. But there’s another system in our bodies, one that has only been discovered more recently, that plays a vital role in keeping us healthy: the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is distributed throughout our body, most present in the central and peripheral nervous systems.

The job of the ECS is to maintain homeostasis, and to do that; it signals other systems when your body needs adjustment to keep it in the “Goldilocks zone” of conditions that keep us healthy. The ECS is complex, but in essence, it uses endocannabinoids, which are cannabinoids created by the human body itself, to send these signals. These homemade cannabinoids then seek out and bind to nerve receptors to trigger homeostatic action, and then metabolic enzymes break down those endocannabinoids when they’re done being used.

There’s something else the ECS can do. It doesn’t just bond with the endocannabinoids your body makes naturally — it also bonds with cannabinoids from outside sources. That’s why THC gets you high. It’s also why CBD can be used to help treat anxiety and pain, especially in situations where your ECS might not be making enough endocannabinoids on its own for some reason.


CBD Products, Dosing, and Condition Treatment

There are many ways to take CBD, as they can be made in the form of oils, gummies, or any number of other products. Using CBD products can supplement your endocannabinoid system and enable it to work more efficiently. Scientists believe this is the primary way CBD can help reduce pain and other symptoms. The research is becoming increasingly evident: from anxiety and insomnia to pain, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting due to cancer therapy, and countless others, scientists have found plenty of evidence on how taking CBD as a supplement can reduce these symptoms. It’s recommended that you begin dosages at around 5mg and then increase slowly until you start to feel relief from your symptoms. However, CBD tends to have both a lower and an upper threshold, meaning only doses within a specific range are the most effective.


The Final Word on CBD

Thanks to the slowly building mountain of research into the endocannabinoid system’s role in keeping us healthy, there has been a burgeoning interest in understanding how the endocannabinoids are made by our bodies (and the cannabinoids naturally present in cannabis and hemp) help to support better overall health. One of the results of this push to better understand the ECS is the growing popularity of cannabidiol as a health supplement, and it’s all thanks to its ability to bond with the cannabinoid receptors in our ECS. This is all excellent news for anyone who wants to use CBD to help treat their pain, anxiety, insomnia, or any of the other conditions that CBD has been shown to treat so well!

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Written by: Laura Oswald
Holistic Health Practitioner & Certified Holistic Nutritionist


Laura is part of the Fort Collins community, a mama of two, and an avid advocate for holistic well-being! We are proud to have her as part of our FoCo Organics family.

“I envision a world where all people live in deep connection and harmony with themselves, their communities, and the Earth as they honor the rhythms, rituals, and rites of passage that guide them on their own journey through life.” – Laura Oswald

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