Science discovered a few decades ago that the human body naturally produces cannabinoids, and, in fact, has an entire network within the nervous system called the endocannabinoid system (nice work, Science!). CBD binds to receptors in that system and scientists believe they act as a neurotransmitter. Studies show that CBD supports reduced inflammation, calms nervous reactions to stimuli, reduces anxiety, and prompt healthy brain function. There’s even a CBD-based drug approved by the FDA to treat epileptic seizures.
Gaining the full benefits of CBD requires an understanding of which products work best for your system. But product lines like Elixinol’s offer a variety of combinations and delivery mechanisms to help you identify what works best to improve your performance at the gym, in the outdoors, or just throughout your day-to-day life.
Even if you’re not crushing it in the gym, trail, or pool every week, the daily wear and tear of sitting at desks or working around the house or chasing kids can still be helped by a full spectrum capsule like Elixinol’s Body Comfort CBD Capsules. Loaded with the herbal extract Boswellia for joint health and muscle support, it—like most CBD products—has the additional benefit of easing occasional stress and anxiety, and supporting sleep hygiene.
But none of that explains CBD’s therapeutic qualities. To get at how it can help with such a long list of issues, you need to understand the concept of homeostasis, or balance between all the body’s systems.
The CBD you keep hearing about is derived from hemp plants, not marijuana, and the two cannabinoids are only cousins in the big cannabis family tree. Another member of the family? Beer’s resinous bitter-maker, hops—when you tip back a pint that smells vaguely of weed, that’s because hops, marijuana, and hemp all share aromatic oils called terpenes. So, yes, holidays at the Cannabis house are probably a good time.
When buying a CBD product, make sure that it’s plant-derived, whether it’s from hops or hemp or feverfew. Some of the better brands out there, like Extract Labs, Medical Marijuana, Nanocraft, Real Scientific, and Green Helix, produce products that have clear, third-party lab-tested results available and are some of the highest-quality plant-derived CBD products around. And currently—the laws are still a bit murky and evolving—you can legally get CBD products in all 50 states, though there are some minor restrictions depending on where you live.
A 2018 meta-analysis of multiple studies on the compound published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology concluded that CBD “has clearly shown” effects for reducing and treating anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and psychosis. There are also CBD-THC hybrids, which have been used to treat multiple sclerosis, a disorder that turns the immune system against the nervous system, damaging nerves and affecting balance and muscle control. Some medications using CBD have helped to treat epilepsy in children and teens, with studies showing the compound can reduce and even eliminate seizures altogether.
Get familiar with the compounds in marijuana with this explainer.
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General Dosing Guidelines
The short answer is, we don’t know. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate the compound, so formulations, dosages, and quality control are all over the place. And since the consumer market is exploding and regulations are almost nonexistent, there is a glut of CBD products coming from overseas that aren’t quite kosher.
Last summer, I hurt my hand trying to yank up some stuck luggage. The excruciating pain, and the advice from an orthopedist, meant that I had to stop lifting anything heavy, pretty much avoiding any exercise that required my hands.
The human body has a specific biological network called the endocannabinoid system, which is made up of neurotransmitters and receptors specifically attuned to cannabinoids. These compounds can produce healing effects on our cognitive and physical processes when they bind to specific receptors.
What Does CBD Do?
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While everyone knows that a few tokes of weed will get you high, revival of research from the ’70s has found that some compounds in the plant can help with a wide range of ailments, like chronic pain, depression, symptoms from chemotherapy, and multiple sclerosis. That’s one reason that the plant is now legal in 10 states (as of press time) and allowed to be consumed for medical purposes in another 22. The other: Huge amounts of tax money from marijuana sales are filling up state coffers—Colorado alone took in more than $247 million last year. Put simply: The marijuana market is blowing up.