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What is CBD? How does it work?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a plant-based compound extracted from the cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa). It belongs to the cannabinoid family, which has been identified to possess several therapeutic activities and can serve as anxiolytic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-tumor, and antidepressant substances. The cannabinoid family consists of over 100 naturally occurring compounds like the highly psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabigerol (CBG), and cannabinol (CBN). These compounds can act singly or in synergism to produce a vast array of health benefits.

Phyto-cannabinoids (plant-based cannabinoids) can interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) to elicit its intended therapeutic effects. The ECS is responsible for controlling cognitive activities like appetite, pain sensation, hormonal, and internal balance. The ECS receptors are distributed all over the body system and cells and are ready to interact with the cannabinoids to produce one or two effects.

Before the discovery of CBD in 1940, the cannabis plant has had a long history of serving medicinal purposes in ancient Roman and Egyptian medicine, where it was used for wound healing, treatment of seizures, and tapeworm infections. The bulk of these activities were later linked to the presence of THC, which was highly psychoactive and can alter brain function.

Today, CBD has been identified to be non-psychoactive and can be used by all ages regardless of their medical situation. It was recently confirmed with the GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) by the FDA.

CBD works by interacting with the ECS receptors found in the central nervous system, the digestive system, skin, and other parts of the body. Although the mechanism of the reaction between the receptors and CBD has not been fully explored, there is a growing body of research indicating that the ECS receptors and CBD interact in a lock and key manner. Once CBD is present in circulation (or in the body), it takes up the available ECS receptor (CB1 and CB2) to elicit its effects such as, triggering the release of feel-good hormones, prevention of inflammation, pain control, production of healthy coat in pets, boosting the immune system and a lowering blood pressure.