Cannabidiol (CBD) is a component found in the cannabis plant that can be taken safely and legally as a natural supplement. Our products contain CBD but they are not intoxicating and do not get you high, and they work directly on your body’s endocannabinoid system.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (also known as CBD) is one of over 85 cannabinoid compounds found in the cannabis plant and along with THC, it is the most prominent one. Most people are aware of the effects of cannabis, and this can lead to confusion surrounding CBD and products that contain it. CBD does not get you high or intoxicated, as it doesn’t bind to particular CB1 or CB2 nerve receptors in your brain. It’s THC (the illegal part) that affects you in this way and given that all of the CBD products listed at UK Meds contain less than 0.06%, you are not at any risk of them influencing you like this.
What is the Endocannabinoid system?
Your body contains many different systems that perform different functions; your digestive system, your respiratory system, your reproductive system. But one of the lesser known networks in your body is the endocannabinoid system. The ‘cannabinoid’ part of the word comes from cannabis, while the ‘endo’ part is short for endogenous, which means that cannabis-like substances are produced naturally inside your body.
The system is made up of endocannabinoids, receptors for them all around your body, and enzymes that help to break them down. These receptors are responsible for maintenance in our bodies basically. The body has a lot of clever ways of keeping things ‘just so’; if we are too hot then the body triggers sweat to cool us down, if we are dehydrated then the body triggers thirst to tell us to drink, if we need sleep then the body triggers melatonin to make us feel tired. All of these different signals and functions are carried out by the ECS system, which is done via cannabinoid receptors.
These receptors can be split into two different categories; CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are found in the central nervous system, (the brain and nerves of the spinal cord), while CB2 receptors are found in the peripheral nervous system, the digestive system and cells in the immune system.
Using these plentiful receptors, the ECS is a major player in a lot of important functions including inflammation, pain, motor control and immune function. The receptors in your digestive system are responsible for appetite and digestion, while the receptors in your brain control mood, memory and sleep. The endocannabinoid system is a very precise one, and each receptor only activates a certain function. This means that if the receptors sense you are too hot, it won’t initiate functions in your digestive system - only the response that’s necessary is activated.
Once this has happened, the enzymes (the third part of the system) come along to break down the endocannabinoids and stop the function from going too far. For example, if you are too hot, the endocannabinoids will cool you down to your normal temperature, and then the enzymes will break them down to prevent it from going in the opposite direction (ie, you become cold).
Any deficiencies or malfunctions within the endocannabinoid system can lead to ailments like migraines and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), as well as neurological conditions like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
How does CBD work?
In much the same way that our endocannabinoid system responds to our self-produced cannabinoids, it also responds to external cannabinoids. External cannabinoids, such as CBD, attach themselves to your CB1 and CB2 receptors and mimic your body’s natural process.
THC is another external cannabinoid that works in this way, but this is the one that gives you a high. The reason this happens is that it attaches to CB1 receptor in your brain; the same receptor that is normally paired with your own endocannabinoid, anandamide. This chemical gives you a calming effect but the reason that you don’t get that same high feeling naturally is because your enzymes break anandamide down before it can create this; a function they’re not capable of when dealing with external cannabinoids like THC.
CBD also has an effect on the anandamide in your brain, but it stops your body’s enzyme from breaking it down, meaning that effects of the natural chemical last longer. CBD can also attach to a number of other CB1 and CB2 receptors in your body.
When it comes to products that contain CBD, there are two different types; full spectrum or CBD-only. Full spectrum oils, capsules and vape liquids contain various compounds from the cannabis plant, including very small amounts of THC. Despite the negative connotations surrounding THC, full spectrum products are usually preferred over CBD-only ones as CBD and THC interact synergistically.
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