Health & Wellness

CBD: Got ‘bliss’?

Pass by any of your local markets and health food stores, and you’ll see signs and posters touting the many choices of CBD (Cannabidiol) products available, derived from the much-maligned agricultural hemp plant. When you take a closer look at these products, you’ll learn that they may help with common issues we have: pain, sleep challenges, mood imbalances, PTSD, etc.
I am typically skeptical when I see a lot of claims made to promote the use of a particular dietary supplement, so I have been taking a deeper dive into the research about the many ways we can benefit from CBD.
First, let’s dispel this myth: Hemp plants and marijuana plants are the same and we can get ”high” from both. First of all, yes, they are the same species but are very different; think of apples and pears – both are categorized as fruit, but the similarity ends there.
Industrial hemp plants grow tall – up to around 15 feet, similar to bamboo; and like bamboo, have been prized for thousands of years for their fiber content. Marijuana grows to a shorter height and is bushlike.
The active constituents in hemp, such as CBD, support health in a number of ways but since there is almost no THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) present, using hemp products does not result in the ”high” one would get from marijuana.
For many years, leading up to the Farm Bills in 2014 and 2018, it was illegal to grow hemp in the U.S. for any type of products. So, what makes this plant so valuable and why do we benefit from its use?
Back in the early 1990s, scientists discovered our Endocannabinoid System, or ECS. Separate from (but supporting) our nervous system, our ECS is involved in our learning, retaining memory, neural plasticity, immune health, pain, cardiovascular health, inflammation, sleep and blood sugar balance.
We produce chemical messengers called endocannabinoids to support this system. When we are healthy and don’t have a lot of stress, we most likely produce enough endocannabinoids to feel good, get good sleep and have a cheerful disposition. When we are stressed, in pain, grumpy and not sleeping well we can benefit from adding cannabinoids to our diet to support our ECS.
This is where CBD from hemp comes to our rescue. CBD from agricultural hemp is obtained from the ”aerial parts” of the plant: the seeds, stalk, stems and flowering tops. CBD is safe and has been legal since the Farm Bill in 2018 to produce and sell as a dietary supplement. There are only trace amounts of THC, so don’t expect to get that type of ”high.”
An important endocannabinoid neurotransmitter discovered in 1992 was named anandamide by the scientists researching our ECS. Anandamide is named after the Sanskrit word ”ananda,” which translates in English to ”bliss and joy.” No wonder we have the potential to feel better when we support our ECS; our ECS is found within almost every tissue in our body, within and around our cells and is an important part of our body’s homeostasis, or balance.
One of the major mechanisms of action of CBD is to upregulate our levels of anandamide, and to also inhibit its breakdown. Do you want more ”bliss and joy” in your life? I sure do!
The market is flooded with various types of CBD products: salves, balms, extracts and even gummies. Many find relief from pain while using CBD balm, since we absorb CBD effectively through our skin. You will find many choices as to dosage, and more may not be better. The experts suggest we start low and go slow.
Not all CBD on the market is the best quality, but there are many choices that are third-party (independently) tested that are not very expensive and mostly found at your local health food stores. Many options will also include other herbal ingredients to support your goals of sleep, pain and inflammation reduction, and balanced stress levels.
Combining CBD from agricultural hemp and other constituents is called the ”entourage” effect. I describe this concept as follows: the CBD is our team’s quarterback, and the other accompanying ingredients are the rest of the team – a winning combination!
Want to avoid using hemp-based products? If so, there are CBD products that are hemp-free, made from CBD components extracted from citrus peel.
I’ve only touched the tip off the iceberg on this topic, and I hope I’ve piqued your interest to explore for yourself how you may benefit from adding CBD to your arsenal, to support your health and well-being. Salud!



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