We know that our body has a regulation system to make numerous adjustments throughout the day--a system that controls heart rate, breathing, body temperature, digestion, sleep patterns, appetite, and even immune function. The irony is that for such an important physiological function, this system is aptly named the Endocannabinoid System, or ECS, which is named after the compounds which were discovered as the active ingredient of the cannabis plant!
Even as early as 1937, the federal government recognized the abuse and medicinal property of cannabis and passed the Marijuana Tax Act to prohibit marijuana use and sale in the U.S. It wasn’t until 1964 that THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) was discovered in marijuana, which led to the further discovery of the abundant ECS receptors found throughout the body which act as a neuromodulator to adapt to the body’s important biological and even cognitive functions. Social and political discourse regarding marijuana use and legality have prompted many studies to take place, and in the last 50+ years, scientists have discovered an entire regulatory system of endocannabinoid receptors and enzymes that relate to the activation and breakdown of cannabinoids, all of which exist in our central nervous system, internal organs, intestinal lining, peripheral nervous system and the musculoskeletal system. In short, the ECS exists throughout our body to control not only our biology, but also our psychology.
But where do CBD products enter the equation, and the marketplace? Are they related to marijuana?
CBD, also known as cannabidiols, are compounds predominantly found in hemp plants, but also exist in other foods. Hemp and marijuana are both cannabis derivatives, but hemp must legally contain less than 0.3% THC in order to be sold and used across state lines. Marijuana can have greater than 0.3% THC (and is therefore a federally controlled substance), which is the main psychoactive ingredient that can lead to addiction and euphoric psychological states. CBD, on the other hand, does not have this effect, and thus, has been sold as a food product with promising, and often ambitious claims to affect our health--for reducing anxiety, improving sleep, maintaining immune function and reducing pain.
Few have heard about CBD up until 2-3 years ago, and now it’s everywhere! You can find CBD infused products in various products for skincare, water, beverages, vaping, and as an oral tincture--often times claiming some kind of health benefit because CBD has been shown to affect ECS receptors. But the science is still unclear as to how much a person actually needs to have a desirable effect and how much time is necessary to clear it from your system to avoid toxicity. Furthermore, the CBD industry varies (or is purposely vague) in labeling concentration standards with regards to it’s products.
In short, CBD does show a lot of promise for various health effects, and for regulating many autonomic functions such as pain control, anxiety, and immune system regulation. But buyer beware, not all CBD products are equal, and each of our bodies have different dosing and tolerance to CBD products. Certainly, cannabinoids such as marijuana and CBD oil appear to hold a lot of promise as treatments for a wide range of ailments.
Keep in mind that any treatment—even natural ones—can cause unwanted side effects. Self-treatment can be dangerous and put your health at risk, so be sure to include your healthcare provider in your decisions.
Dr. Adrian Pujayana has been providing drug-free solutions for health and wellness to adults, athletes, and youth since 2000 through his private practice at Family Chiropractic Center of South Pasadena, a place for strength training and nutrition based health care.