CBD chemical structure and hemp plant

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The interest in CBD (cannabidiol) has skyrocketed in recent years and that growth is expected to continue at least into the foreseeable future. You probably are here reading this article because you have at least heard of CBD. Although the CBD industry is exploding in growth, and more and more people are hearing about CBD, it is surprising that many people still do not know what CBD exactly is and how it works.

CBD chemical structure and hemp plant

What is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of over 100 cannabinoids (plant chemicals) found in the Cannabis sativa plant. CBD can be derived from both marijuana and hemp, with the only difference between the two being the amount of THC. Legally, hemp must contain <0.3% THC by dry weight. Anything above 0.3% THC, and it is marijuana. CBD is the second most abundant cannabinoid in marijuana (THC being the most abundant), and it is the most abundant cannabinoid in hemp.

CBD has been touted to be helpful in a wide range of conditions, including but not limited to epilepsy, chronic pain, inflammation and inflammatory conditions, anxiety and other psychiatric conditions, digestive system issues, and neurological conditions. To understand how CBD might interact with the human body to produce beneficial effects, we must first understand what the endocannabinoid system is.

In the late 1980s, researchers were trying to figure out how THC, the intoxicating component of marijuana, works in the body and discovered a receptor in our body that THC binds to which was named the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1 receptor). A couple of years later, they discovered a molecule that is produced by own body which also binds to this receptor, and named it anandamide. Ananda in Sanskrit means “bliss.” A couple of years later, a second cannabinoid receptor was discovered, which was named the CB2 receptor. It turns out that our body produces several molecules that bind to our cannabinoid receptors, and these are referred to as endocannabinoids. The two that we know most about are anandamide and 2-AG (2-arachidonoylglycerol).

What is the endocannabinoid system?

Endocannabinoids are made by neurons in our body “on demand” by enzymes and broken down by other enzymes. Fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) is responsible for breaking down anandamide. Monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) breaks down 2-AG.

The cannabinoid receptors, CB-1 and CB-2, endocannabinoids, and the enzymes that make and breakdown endocannabinoids make up the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Multiple human and animal studies have shown that the ECS is crucial in maintaining homeostasis, or internal balance, in the body, and has an important role in memory, mood, reward systems in the brain, metabolic processes, such as energy balance and glucose metabolism, and drug addiction.

Cannabinoid receptors are said to be the most abundant receptors in the whole body. CB1 receptors are mainly located in the brain and peripheral nervous system, although CB1 receptors are also found in the pituitary, thyroid and adrenal glands, male and female reproductive systems, liver, lungs, adipocytes, and kidneys. CB2 receptors are mainly found in immune system tissues, but also in the spleen, tonsils, thymus, gland, gastrointestinal tract, and osteocytes. Activation of the cannabinoid receptors leads to physiologic actions in the tissue the receptor is located in. For example, CB1 receptor activation can lead to decreased pain in the peripheral nervous system, lowered blood pressure in the cardiovascular system, and decreased gut motility in the gastrointestinal system. CB2 receptor activation can lead to decreased inflammation in the immune system, decreased drug-seeking behavior in the brain, decreased fibrosis in the liver.


How Does CBD Work?

There are several ways in which CBD works in our body to provide beneficial effects. They involve both interacting with our endocannabinoid system (which is most commonly described when people talk about how CBD works), as well as binding to receptors outside of the endocannabinoid system (which are less well known mechanisms).

Interactions with the ECS:

  1. One way CBD works in the body is to help modulate and influence our ECS by binding to the cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. CBD actually is a negative allosteric modulator at the CB1 receptor, meaning that it doesn’t bind to the main binding site of the receptor, but a secondary site, and it decreases the activity of the receptor. This is the mechanism of how CBD can actually decrease the “high” produced by THC. Some people will actually even use CBD as a “rescue” if they ingest too much THC and are too intoxicated.
  2. Another way in which CBD works is to decreased the breakdown of our own endocannabinoids. CBD can inhibit the activity of the enzymes FAAH (which breaks down anandamide) and MAGL (which breaks down 2-AG), thereby increasing the levels of available endocannabinoids in our body to bind to, and activate the CB1 and CB2 receptors.

Non-ECS mechanisms:

  1. Serotonin receptor 5-HT1A: Binding to this receptor may help with anxiety, nausea, depression, sleep and pain
  2. Vanilloid receptors: This is a family of receptors that vanilla binds to. One receptor in the family is the TRPV1 recptor which capsaicin binds to which is the ingredient in hot chili peppers that causes the heat/burn we experience. Activating the TRPV1 receptor may help with mediating pain and inflammation. Along with CBD, anandamide also binds to this receptor.
  3. GPR55: This is currently being researched as a potential 3rd cannabinoid receptor. CBD actually decreases the activity of this receptor, thereby, it may decrease bone breakdown, and have anti-cancer properties.
  4. PPAR (nuclear receptors): Activation of these receptors by CBD may produce anti-tumor properties, degrade beta-amyloid (the substance that causes Alzheimer’s dementia), and help with pain and inflammation.
  5. GABA receptor: Activation of this receptor by CBD may play a role in decreasing anxiety.
  6. Adenosine receptor: Activation by CBD may produce beneficial effects on anxiety, inflammation and decreasing immune activity
  7. Glycine receptors: Activation by CBD may help with pain and inflammation.

What is endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome?

Ethan Russo, a neurologist and researcher, developed a theory in 2001 that certain conditions may be due to a deficiency in our body’s own endocannabinoids. He developed this theory based on the observation that some disorders are caused by deficiencies of neurotransmitters, such as:

  • Depression – serotonin and norepinephrine
  • Alzheimer’s disease – acetylcholine
  • Parkinsonian syndromes – dopamine

Subsequent research has uncovered that there are lower levels of endocannabinoids in a number of diseases, and that endocannabinoid deficiency may play a potential role in conditions, such as:

  • Migraine
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Neonatal failure to thrive
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Endometriosis
  • Brachial plexopathy
  • Phantom limb pain
  • Infantile colic
  • Glaucoma
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Hyperemesis gravidarum
  • Repetitive miscarriages
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Bipolar disease
  • among others

What might CBD be useful for?

Due to the fact that the ECS is found throughout the body, there are many potential conditions that targeting the ECS can be helpful in, such as:

  • Pain
  • Inflammation
  • Nausea
  • Cough
  • Glaucoma
  • Cachexia
  • Poor sleep
  • Neurologic diseases: Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, huntington’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, seizures, stroke, neuroinflammation/neurodegeneration
  • Infection: HIV-brain infection
  • Autoimmune diseases: systemic sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune uveitis
  • Psychiatric disorders: anxiety, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, substance abuse and addictive disorders, impulsivity, anorexia nervosa
  • Cardiovascular: atherosclerosis, high blood pressure
  • Gastrointestinal: irritable bowel syndrome, chronic liver disease, gut motility disorders, alcoholic liver disease
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Osteoporosis
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer: breast, prostate, pancreatic, lymphatic, colon, skin, among others


The endocannabinoid system is a very important and integral part of the whole body. For our bodies to function properly, and optimally, our endocannabinoid system must function at its best. A deficiency in our own endocannabinoids may lead to certain diseases. Through its various mechanisms of action both with and outside of the ECS, CBD may play a beneficial role in a number of conditions. Certainly, there are thousands of people that seem to benefit greatly from using CBD.

Where’s the best place to buy CBD products?

With so many places popping up to buy CBD online and in retail stores (even gas stations!), it is hard to figure out what products are reliable and trustworthy. Unfortunately, there are a lot of suppliers and companies out there that are just wanting to make a quick buck, selling products that are of poor quality, with added artificial flavorings or fillers, or marketed as CBD oil but not even containing any CBD!

To ensure you are getting high quality CBD products, it’s important to buy them from a trusted suppler, such as CBD Oil of Dayton. Here at CBD Oil of Dayton, our products are third-party tested to ensure you are getting highest quality CBD products currently available. Buy in confidence with CBD Oil of Dayton today. Click below to see what we have to offer.

CBD Oil of Dayton CBD oils, topicals, capsules, and pet oil


3 Responses

  1. Like!! I blog frequently and I really thank you for your content. The article has truly peaked my interest.

  2. Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular article!
    It’s the little changes that produce the largest changes.
    Many thanks for sharing!

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