The presence of cannabidiol (CBD) in the nutraceutical and “healthy living” sector has gained momentum in recent years. Preliminary clinical studies and a wide range of encouraging scientific research are corroborating a number of anecdotal evidence. The non-psychoactive cannabinoid has a number of virtues for improving mind and body health.
THE POWER OF CBD
If you consider yourself fit and healthy, is there room in your medicine cabinet for CBD? There will be when you start to see the potential benefits of regular CBD consumption, such as the advantages for your heart, skin and mental well-being.
No other substance presents the same number of benefits, so is CBD the key to a healthy and happy life? To understand how anyone can use CBD to positive effect, we’ll start with an explanation of this cannabinoid and our endocannabinoid system.
HOW CBD WORKS
The cannabinoid CBD is a compound that can trigger responses in our endocannabinoid system through CB1 and CB2 receptors located throughout the body. Although hemp is a complex organism made up of hundreds of different compounds, the fact that it provides cannabinoids and properties that improve our health has caught the attention of scientists, healthy living groups and most importantly, the general public.
Present in all mammals, the endocannabinoid system regulates and controls hundreds of processes throughout the body. Cannabinoids bind to or influence these receptors, eliciting a wide variety of responses.
Interestingly, CBD has a low affinity for CB1 and CB2 receptors, i.e., it does not bind to them in the same way that THC binds to CB1, which are like a key and a lock. However, CBD stimulates the endocannabinoid system, triggering the release of 2-AG, a natural endocannabinoid produced by the body. CBD stops the activity of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), which in turn slows the breakdown of another essential endocannabinoid, anandamide.
CBD AND HEALTH
The influence of CBD on the endocannabinoid system is widespread, ultimately affecting all types of systems in the body.
The World Health Organization estimates that in 2016 more than 1.9 billion adults over the age of 18 were overweight. Nearly 650 million would be classified as obese. These statistics are alarming, and while diet and regular exercise play a key role in weight management, everyone is different and so is their metabolism.
Metabolism involves breaking down molecules for energy. Those with a high metabolism can break down food molecules at a faster rate than those with a slow metabolism. In other words, any product that aids metabolism could be used as a weight loss tool. A study by Korean scientists found that CBD stimulated proteins and genes responsible for fat breakdown.
CBD also showed the ability to aid in the “browning” of fat cells. White fat cells have links to several potentially serious diseases, while brown fat cells promote weight loss by burning energy.
The importance of the heart needs no introduction, and one of our main concerns should be to keep this organ in excellent shape. Fortunately, CBD can also help us keep our heart healthy. Our cardiovascular system, a collection of veins and arteries leading to the heart, needs clean pathways for oxygenated blood to be pumped throughout the body.
An investigation of the uses of CBD as a therapeutic remedy for the cardiovascular system by the School of Graduate Entry Medicine & Health found that CBD acted directly on the insulated walls of the arteries, reducing tension in the blood vessels. CBD’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capabilities also helped protect against reperfusion damage, which is damaged tissue caused by lack of oxygen.
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