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What is CBD (Cannabidiol)?

CBD explained

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the molecules found in cannabis compounds. Unlike the more known THC molecule, CBD does not cause a high. It is a type of a cannabinoid, a chemical that binds to neuroreceptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS).

Research is still being done to find how effective CBD is for treating mental illnesses, but the findings show potential for treating conditions like OCD, anxiety, and even post-traumatic stress disorder. It has been used successfully in controlling the frequency and severity of convulsive epileptic seizures. It may even help sufferers of autoimmune disorders by suppressing the immune system.

Cannabidiol can be extracted from two plants: marijuana and hemp. While these plants are closely related, hemp does not have anywhere near as much THC as marijuana, even though it can have similar levels of CBD. Cannabis can be bred in order to lower THC and have much higher levels of CBD.

thc vs cbd infographic

What is the endocannabinoid system?

To understand what CBD is we must first look at the endocannabinoid system. The primary purpose of the endocannabinoid system is to keep the body in a state of homeostasis. Homeostasis is the ideal condition the body needs to be in order to be healthy. The endocannabinoid system primarily consists of three components:

Small molecules that activate cannabinoid receptors.

Receptors found on the surface of cells.

Enzymes that break down endocannabinoids after they are used.

Human Endocannabinoid System and Receptors

There are two primary naturally occuring endocannabinoids in our bodies:

  • Anandamide: A naturally occurring reward molecule that helps encourage healthy behaviour such as physical activity. It is thought to be associated with the runners high.
  • 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG): A molecule involved in the regulation of appetite, immune system functions, and pain management.

These naturally occurring molecules have similarities in compounds found in cannabis.

  • THC: A molecule similar to anandamide and provides a mind altering effect.
  • (CBD): Similar to 2-AG and helps in the regulation of the body.

Cannabinoid receptors can be found on the surface of many cells throughout the body. There are two primary cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2. CB1 is found primarily in the brain and central nervous system. CB2 is found in the immune system, the peripheral nervous system. These receptors require the help of endocannabinoids to be activated. The endocannabinoids are produced as needed.

To help regulate these endocannabinoids so they are only used as needed our body uses two primary metabolic enzymes:

  • Fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH): This enzyme degrades the anandamide molecule into monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL).
  • MAGL: Breaks down 2-AG.

While these regulators break down our naturally occurring endocannabinoids, they do not work on their cannabis counterparts. This is what allows these to continue working in our bodies longer.

What are terpenes?

Our products contain an addition of an organically produced compound call terpenes, taken from an unfertilized female plant. Plants are able to synthesize these compounds which aid in their survival.  These terpenes are used to attract pollinators and provide the plant with natural protection from pathogenic agents, but when extracted for human use they can enhance the medicinal effects of CBD and the other cannabinoids in the body. The terpenes provide health benefits on their own, but the synergy of the cannabinoids and terpenes working together cause a stronger effect than taking CBD/cannabinoids alone. The inclusion and supplement of these extra terpenes is to produce the most efficient product for our customers.

There are more than 400 different compounds found in the cannabis plant. More than 100 of them are terpenes. They are the aromatic compounds found in the oil of plants. Terpene molecules are responsible for scent and flavor. These oils are secreted in the same glands that produce cannabinoids like THC and CBD.

Cannabis has a fairly high variety of terpenes for a single plant group. This is why there are such a variety of strains of cannabis that smell so different. Some studies have shown that terpenes work together to help cannabinoids like THC and CBD pass through the bloodstream easier and lower the blood-to-brain barrier.

terpenes used in health synergy's products

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