Cannabis use has been regarded as an effective and holistic treatment for a wide range of illnesses for quite some time. In fact, the first example of cannabis use for medicinal purposes could date back as far as 2727 B.C. The plant is native to South and Central Asia, but it did not take long for its praise to be sung around the world. It’s an understatement to say that cannabis has been popular for quite some time, which probably is what led researchers to wonder exactly why it impacts the body.
Although the research is still pretty new (starting in the mid-1900’s and expanding rapidly today), researchers agree that the effects of cannabis are due to the way that it interacts with our Endocannabinoid System. In fact, we now believe that the ECS holds the secret to almost every medicinal use for cannabis. This discovery, alongside many positive anecdotes, has sent many regular cannabis users out to buy CBD oil.
What Is CBD and Why Is It Significant?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the Cannabis plant. It was discovered in the 1940’s by Dr. Roger Adams, and American organic chemist, when he was able to isolate this single cannabinoid from the many others. Due to a nationwide ban on cannabidiol in the 1950’s, his research did not travel much further. It was instead Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, and Israeli organic chemist, who isolated the compound in the 1960’s and was then able to identify and describe its chemical structure. From there, Dr. Mechoulam worked indefinitely towards advancements based on his discovery.
By the 1970’s, the cannabinoid was listed in the British Pharmacopoeia for medicinal use. Eventually, the topic of legality became a widespread discussion throughout the United States and other parts of the world. Eventually, enough evidence was found to declare cannabidiol of significant medicinal use, which led us to a nationwide legalization.
Even though there was very little advancement concerning CBD before the 2000’s, THC was thoroughly researched. This led to a great foundation for comparison when CBD research took off once again. Perhaps one of the most significant realizations in this comparison is CBD’s lack of psychoactive effects. This allows cannabidiol to be utilized as a medicine without the “high” frequently associated with THC and marijuana. Because CBD produces no high, it is applicable to a wider range of patients, including elderly, children, people with THC sensitivities, and even pets.
Now, CBD with less than 0.3% THC is legal in all 50 states, and research is consistently trying to identify all of the possible medical uses for the cannabinoid. While much more research needs to be done in order to unlock the complete scientific and medical truth, many studies have found CBD useful for treating a variety of conditions.
What Is the Endocannabinoid System?
The discovery of cannabinoids in the cannabis plant eventually led Dr. Mechoulam and his colleagues to the discovery of the Endocannabinoid system. The first link to this discovery was by National Institute of Mental Health researchers, Allyn Howlett and William Devant. In 1988, these two identified a cannabinoid receptor in the brain (of mice) which was dubbed CB-1. This receptor was abundant throughout the brain, specifically in the areas controlling emotions, appetite, motor functions, cognitive functions, and memory.
In 1993 another cannabinoid receptor was discovered in abundance throughout the gut, liver, spleen, heart, kidneys, circulatory system, lymph nodes, and reproductive system. This receptor was dubbed CB-2. Obviously, the discovery of endocannabinoid receptors within the body led scientist to believe that cannabinoids played a larger role in our physiology. Why would the receptors be necessary if cannabinoids were only available in plants?Eventually, the first endocannabinoid was discovered, named Anandamide. The prefix “endo-” is assigned to cannabinoids made in the body. Cannabinoids made in a plant, like CBD or THC, are given the prefix “phyto-.” Later, another endocannabinoid was discovered, 2-arachidonoylglycerol, or 2-AG.
These endocannabinoids are similar in structure to many phytocannabinoids. Therefore, cannabinoids from the cannabis plant are able to easily attach to CB-1 and CB-2 receptors in the body, which is why cannabis has such a direct impact on the body. But what is the endocannabinoid system responsible for? And how does cannabis improve these processes
The Endocannabinoid System Has A Hand In Major Bodily Processes
All of this research led to the conclusion that there is an entire molecular system within our body (the ECS) that we did previously know about. The ECS would have never been discovered without the discovery of CBD and THC in the cannabis plant. Now, researchers have indicated that the ECS controls hundred of bodily functions, like maintaining homeostasis, creating memories, regulating metabolism, appetite, and energy, and stabilizing the immune system.
While more research is being done to identify the full responsibility of the Endocannabinoid System, researchers have identified a link between it and the following processes:
Metabolism and Energy Levels
Because the ECS is so diverse and vital to our health, and because phytocannabinoids are able to bind to our body’s CB receptors, cannabis brings a world of potential benefits to the table. This has influenced many researchers to take a look at the effect of cannabis (CBD and THC) on the processes that are controlled by the ECS.
THC vs CBD Oil Effects on Metabolism and Appetite
It is no secret that using marijuana is often related to hunger, but many researchers have identified that it is THC that stimulates appetite. CBD oil benefits, however, affect the metabolism and appetite in three ways.
First, it stimulates the production of proteins that help break down fat. CBD also stimulates mitochondrial activity, which boosts metabolism (calorie burn). Cannabidiol also reduces the proteins responsible for the creation of new fat cells as well. All of this information led researchers to look at CBD oil as an effective supplement for aiding weight loss efforts and controlling hunger.
Many people buy CBD oil to use alongside a healthy diet in order to create a healthy weight loss routine and potentially improve weight loss results.
CBD Oil Benefits for Sleep
To set the record straight, cannabidiol is not a sleep-inducing supplement. While some strains of marijuana have shown to help induce relaxation and sleep, cannabidiol itself may actually be useful for promoting energy and focus. However, there are still many potential CBD oil benefits for sleep.
Some studies show that cannabidiol is an effective therapy for even chronic insomnia because it stabilizes sleep-wake cycles. By aiding the Endocannabinoid System in regulating homeostasis and metabolic processes, CBD is possibly able to create regular sleep routines, making it easier for people who usually have difficulty falling asleep to get a good night’s rest.
Cannabidiols potential to promote energy and focus during the day has also been blamed for its potential positive effects on sleep. Burning energy during the day only logically results in better sleep at night.
CBD Oil Effects on Pain
Using CBD oil for pain is an increasingly popular trend, probably because so many people see great benefits. Researchers say that cannabidiol and other full spectrum cannabis products are able to interact in the spinal cord to suppress neuron responses to pain. Cannabidiol may also help reduce inflammation that causes pain and swelling, whether due to injury or health condition.
As a result, CBD oil benefits usually include the treatment of arthritis, and many people opt for CBD and cannabis products when treating post-operative pain as well.
In some cases, CBD has shown the potential to replace habit-forming narcotics, like opioids. This has encouraged many patients dealing with chronic pain to buy CBD oil and talk to their doctor about making the switch.
Just The Tip Of The Iceberg
What we know now about some of the cannabinoids in the cannabis plant as well as the ECS in the body is truly only the beginning. Cannabis contains so many cannabinoids that we have not uncovered, and many known cannabinoids still have not been researched in full. Many researchers suspect that the other cannabinoids have just as many medicinal uses. Some researchers in Israel are currently looking at the effects of different combinations of cannabinoids, including the lesser known ones like CBN and CBG.
Find and understanding the ECS was a crucial first step to identifying the way cannabis reacts with our anatomy, and now researchers are buzzing like bees to honey to complete more research for the worthy cause. Many people who have ventured out to buy CBD oil have been pleased with their results, and furthering research on the cannabinoid could result in even more happy patients.