What exactly is CBD?

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Arian Abri

What exactly is CBD?! Everything you want and need to know about Cannabidiol 

One thing that's clear for most is that when talking about cannabis, things can get confusing with the names...

First off, everything starts with a c, and they all sound the same when skimming through... 

Look for yourself:

Cannabidiol, Cannabinol, Cannabinodiol, Cannabigerol, Cannabichromene etc. 

Plus, around a hundred more which are too complicated to spell out, are all found inside a hemp plant.

These listed substances are known as Cannabinoids.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is also a Cannabinoid.


What is a Cannabinoid?

A cannabinoid is a naturally occurring chemical compound in a cannabis plant. Cannabinoids interact with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS). There are around 100 known cannabinoids, with many more yet to be discovered. 

Why haven't we discovered everything about cannabis yet?

Even though the history of cannabis goes back to 2800 BC, we have yet to discover all elements that give the plant these magical properties. Prolific research was thwarted due to the war on drugs act passed by congress in 1970 in the US, restricting consumption and endorsing high penalties for users of the plant.

What has changed for more cannabis research now?

Since policies have been turned away from, research has picked up again, in line with a recurring hype for marijuana. This has caused many countries to advocate the legality for medical and recreational purposes of all cannabinoids.

How to understand Cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids can be broken down into two categories: phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids.

What are endocannabinoids?

Endocannabinoids are endogenous lipids (fatty acids) that exist naturally in humans and animals and interact with cannabinoid receptors. These cannabinoids are naturally produced by all mammals and play an essential role in creating therapeutic activities in the body. When endocannabinoids interact with cannabinoid receptors, they affect physiological processes such as hunger, mood, memory, and cerebral reward systems.

The brain produces these chemicals as messengers, part of the broader endocannabinoid system (ECS), to maintain a stable internal environment that can resist external rigours. 

What are phytocannabinoids?

Over 100 phytocannabinoids have been discovered as naturally occurring cannabinoids in the Cannabis Sativa plant. These can assist the body in achieving "homeostasis" and promote equilibrium in the endocannabinoid system.

A lesser-known truth is that phytocannabinoids were the first to be found. Following multiple examinations, scientists uncovered the endocannabinoid system in mammals. Current research focuses on how these plant compounds may be employed in medicine, both naturally and synthetically.

The difference between phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids

This borders on a biology paper, so we came up with a straightforward way to remember all this; basically, for those who took Latin in school, this should be easy:

"Phyto" means that they are plant-derived. 

"Endo" suggests that they are found in the body.

How do cannabinoids react with the body?

Cannabinoids react with the body through the endocrine system (ECS), which we have a very detailed article on, so if you are interested in the science, click here.

For those still reading this, here's a short but still detailed description of how cannabinoids like CBD react with the body's cannabinoid receptors (CBs). The main two are the CB1 and CB2 receptors.

Mammal bodies were designed to react to endocannabinoids. It's vital to remember that the body didn't create CB receptors to respond to phytocannabinoids. Any plant-based compounds with which the body interacts are completely supplementary.

Endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids of various types interact with both CB receptors. It is not the case that particular kinds are exclusively committed to one receptor or the other. Cannabinoids can be thought of as keys and receptors as locks. In this instance, many keys can open the same locks. 

What is the Cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1)?

CB1 receptors are more prevalent in the brain and nervous system.

CB1 receptors primarily interact with the cannabinoid THC and most endocannabinoids. Because of their comparable chemical structure, they work to alleviate nausea, pain, and sadness.

What is the Cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2)?

CB2 receptors are present mainly in the immune system, with a high concentration in the intestines and liver.

CBD, which is present in plants, binds to CB2 receptors. These molecules' primary job is to regulate hunger, pain, and bodily processes such as inflammation.

How do cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system?

Cannabinoids behave differently throughout the body. For instance, endocannabinoids are produced only when needed to keep homeostasis, or balance, within the body. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a balancing system that monitors every body component. If an imbalance can be identified, tools will be used to modify how you feel and think. 

This is where endocannabinoids are involved. 

They function as an on-demand check and balance to modulate bodily function. If this is interrupted, you may encounter problems with hunger, emotions, and memory.

This is where phytocannabinoids are involved.

Phytocannabinoids are additional. They aid when the body's equilibrium homeostasis is disrupted due to an imbalance. Some, like THC, resemble the actions of endocannabinoids, while others, like CBD, do not.

CBD is distinct in several aspects. It is hypothesised to block the body's FAAH enzyme from breaking down endocannabinoids, particularly anandamide, allowing the excellent mood benefits to linger longer. So, in contrast to THC, CBD may improve mood and reduce pain in people while having no psychotropic effects.

Might it be time to change cannabinoid, ey?

So now that we established that CBD is a phytocannabinoid reacting most commonly with CB2 receptors, the question to be answered is

How does CBD actually help us???

What effect does CBD have on the body and mind?

Due to the holistic endocannabinoid system, which interacts with nearly all body parts, regulating many functions such as hormone production, hunger, sleep, mood, pain perception, and immune system response, CBD has a wholesome, beneficial effect on one. 

That makes CBD confusing for many people; they hear all the benefits and think...

That can't be.. but it can!!!

What is the best CBD product to take?

So now you might ask what type of CBD is most effective or what form of CBD works best for you?

This is where the different products come into play.

CBD oil and CBD gummies enter the body through the mucous membranes inside the mouth hence, causing a faster effect and with more intensity than when taking CBD capsules, for example, which take effect through the stomach, in turn, slower however longer-lasting.

The fastest and best way to consume CBD is through the lungs via inhaling CBD.

If you feel like it, browse our catalogue to see what might be in store for you.

How is CBD made, extracted and metabolised?

CBD is made throughout a 5 step process which is very complicated to explain without sounding like a chemistry nerd; however, we have constructed a table with the five-step extraction process:

The most crucial process is the supercritical CO2 process.

Here the raw CBD extract is created in conjunction with extractors, which separate the necessary components from the rest of the plant material using various pressure ratios and carbon dioxide. The intermediary result is raw oil (which has little in common with regular CBD oil), after which it is cleansed and filtered through a second filtration process. The end result is a natural full-spectrum hemp extract rich in essential terpenes. Because of this delicate extraction method, the beneficial components of the hemp plant stay untouched.

How is CBD isolate made?

If you now want to isolate CBD from terpenes and other cannabinoids, there is one more process. Chromatography. Most of you have probably heard about this; for those who didn't, Chromatography is a technique for separating a mixture by passing it in solution or suspension through a medium where the components move at different rates. This process eliminates plant materials and cannabinoids to isolate and purify the chemical component- CBD.

How is CBD metabolised?

CBD is metabolised through the liver by a variety of cytochrome enzymes. Cytochrome enzymes oxidise substances using iron and can metabolise many xenobiotic substances. For those unclear about xenobiotic substances, it is basically a cool way of saying essences that are foreign to the human body, such as phytocannabinoids.   

Is CBD legal?

Now, this is a weird one.

Nobody has a black-on-white answer for this.

CBD legality differs from country to country; we will focus mainly on German policy. See below.

 Is CBD legal in Germany?

The legal status for CBD customers in Germany is straightforward: 

CBD oils derived from full-spectrum extracts with a THC content of less than 0.2% are permitted.

Manufacturers' regulations, on the other hand, are more complicated. The selling of CBD oil in Germany is subject to the following conditions:

The Narcotics Act requires the maker to ensure food safety (BtMG)

CBD oil must meet the following criteria to be categorised as a food or food supplement:

  • THC content less than 0.2%
  • There is no mention of healing promises.
  • Low concentration of the active component CBD is only accessible via prescription.

When it comes to meals, care must be taken to ensure that the additional components are not classed as therapeutic items due to their pharmacological properties.

Does CBD have pharmacological effects or properties?

It is unknown whether standard CBD oil has a pharmacological or purely physiological impact. However, no pharmacological effect is envisaged in theory.

CBD extracted or separated can be categorised as a medication due to its pharmacological action. If CBD oils are found to have a pharmacological impact, state authorities may restrict their distribution. As a result, isolated CBD would have to be a prescription-only drug in Germany.

So what can finally be said about the situation is that the lack of research about CBD oil being pharmacological or physiological creates this grey smog inside the CBD industry. 

Does CBD have side effects?

While CBD is generally well accepted, it can induce adverse effects such as dry mouth, diarrhoea, decreased appetite, tiredness, and weariness. CBD may potentially interact with other drugs, such as blood thinners. Another worry is the lack of consistency in the quality and dose of CBD in products; some people don't actually put what they promise unknown customers inside their bottles!

That's why we publish all our products with the corresponding Lab Analysis. To see our products' analysis, click here.

Don't forget to read related article.

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