The Science Of How CBD Works
Looking into the science of how CBD works is complex but intriguing. Right now, CBD is similar to finishing the border of a puzzle: we can’t see the whole picture yet, but we know we’re on the right track.
As I learn more and more about CBD, it really amazes me how deeply rooted it is in the function of our overall health.
Recently, we have discovered that the health of our bodies is not determined by the failure of our organs but due to the failure of our biological systems.
When our biological systems are deficient, they become the root cause of many, if not all diseases, as they interact with one another.
We are beginning to understand that if we work towards stabilizing these systems rather than treating the symptoms, we in turn will achieve a healthier body.
This revelation in medicine has introduced a new way of treating chronic illnesses called functional medicine. That is, the concept of creating health by optimizing our biological systems.
Using the idea of functional medicine with what we know about the endocannabinoid system, we can finally begin to see how and why CBD works and is so therapeutically beneficial and maybe critical to achieving a healthy and balanced body.
So let’s dive into what we know about CBD in correlation to our endocannabinoid system and how to regulate these within the idea of functional medicine.
Cannabidiol, or more popularly known in the abbreviated form as CBD, is a plant molecule found in cannabis plants. It is the leading treatment for children suffering from epileptic diseases such as Dravet and Lenox-Gaston syndromes.
According to numerous consumer reviews and testimonials, CBD has therapeutic effects that range from treating anxiety to cancer.
Scientists believe that CBD has a wide array of medicinal benefits and is extremely versatile pharmacologically. In mice, CBD works as an anticonvulsant, analgesic, anti-psychotic, antidepressant, anti-hyperalgesia, anti-tumor and antioxidant: just to name a few.
CBD has risen in popularity over the last few years because of its’ non-intoxicating properties; meaning you won’t feel any euphoric effects, or in other words, you won’t “get high” from it.
In fact, there is no way for CBD to turn into THC when consumed. THC being the other prevalent cannabinoid in cannabis that is responsible for the high one feels when consuming cannabis.
CBD is a very unique plant molecule that has helped us shine some light on what it takes to really create health in our bodies. It has lead us to a biological system that is responsible for regulating many functions in the body: the endocannabinoid system.
Understanding The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
One of the most interesting and important discoveries in human biology is the endocannabinoid system (ECS or eCB System).
Upon looking into how CBD and THC works in our body, scientists have found out that we (humans and other mammals) have our own internal cannabis-like system.
Due to the similarities between the plant cannabinoids and the endogenous (internal) chemicals our bodies produce, the term “endocannabinoid” was coined in reference to a newly discovered biological system.
The endocannabinoid system plays a huge role in regulating basic functions such as eat, sleep, relax, forget and protect. Its main purpose is to regulate our energy metabolism and food intake.
It works by assessing the imbalances in our bodies and releasing the endocannabinoids to regulate any overstimulated or under-stimulated functions, creating homeostasis throughout the body.
A disruption or deficiency of the ECS is now recognized as a result of many medical conditions ranging from pain and inflammation to neurological and metabolic disorders.
The ECS is so effective and detrimental to our health because of two internal brain receptors. When activated, they effect every major organ in our body. What is more interesting is how it interacts with our intestinal health.
This is when we start putting more pieces together and are really starting to get the bigger picture of this puzzle.
It has been stated that you are what you eat. That statement has never been more understood until we started treating ourselves with the idea of functional medicine.
Understanding Functional Medicine
The Current State of Treatments
Since the discovery of penicillin, doctors have been tackling medical conditions with the concept of a single condition, causing a single disease and cured by a single drug.
Not that this concept is wrong as it has lead to the development of numerous treatments and saved many lives.
But this concept really only works for infectious diseases, not chronic diseases. This is the case because while u can catch infectious diseases; catching chronic diseases such as diabetes or cancer is not possible. These chronic diseases are mostly a direct result of ones’ environment and lifestyle.
Still to this day, we continue to use siloed medicine. We categorize medicine by its symptom and the location. For example, you feel pain and it’s located in your back so you take back pain medicine. You feel a burning sensation and it’s located in your chest area so you take heartburn medicine.
Even today, medicine is mostly about figuring out the symptom and drug to treat it. A pill for the ill if you will. All we have done is named or categorized symptoms and the synthesized drugs to treat them.
The problem with the current state of treatments is it doesn’t tell us why or what is really going on in our bodies. That is why so many people are taking upwards of seven pills daily to treat their symptoms but are still struggling to achieve optimal health.
A Revolution in Medicine
Today’s current state of medicine fails to answer one important question, what is the cause? What is the root cause of these diseases and can we prevent them before we need to treat them?
I call this a revolution in medicine because we are thinking about health in a way that helps us in the long-term rather than a quick fix for today.
This revolution is about understanding that in order to achieve optimal health, we must attend to our biological systems rather than only treating the symptoms.
Our biological systems are made up of a few physiological networks that essentially controls our overall health, which suggests that all problems are connected.
So, if all conditions are connected, are we wasting time by trying to treat the symptoms instead of working towards stabilizing our systems?
The Importance of The Gut
Similar to what I had previously stated, it is believed that 90% of chronic diseases can be linked back to the gut. This is mostly due to the bacteria that resides in our intestines.
Bacteria from our environment and the things we consume can strongly effect the stability of our ECS and the health status of our gut ecosystem; commonly referred to as the gut microbiota.
Most people correspond bacteria with viruses and other disease causing organisms. But just like there are harmful bacteria, a lot of bacteria helps support life and promote good health.
Good bacteria found in the intestines is responsible for producing vitamins, strengthening the immune system, regulating hormone production, and other benefits involving nutrition, energy, and even behavior.
The largest collection of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses are located in the gut. This explains why the microbiota plays a fundamental role in human health.
An imbalance of the microbiota can lead to a number of physical and mental diseases. Such diseases as autism, allergies, type 1 diabetes and obesity to name a few.
Unfortunately, it is not easy to just create a drug that can regulate the microbiota. It is so unique that every individual has their own gut microbiome, including identical twins. This makes it difficult to treat the mass, as the solution is not as clear-cut as curing the common cold.
The gut microbiota composition may have been predetermined by our genes, but is ever-changing due to environment and lifestyle factors such as age, diet, exercise, stress and diversity.
Regulating the gut microbiota to a balanced state can vastly reduce chronic diseases. With the help of prebiotics, probiotics and lifestyle changes, you can induce beneficial effects to your gut and promote good health.
Gut Microbiota & The Endocannabinoid System
Scientists and researchers have suggested that over 90% of diseases are linked to the gut microbiota and the endocannabinoid system when an imbalance occurs within these biological network systems.
The gut microbiota is a functional network that is controls in many functions of the digestive system. It helps with the production of important vitamins and virus-fighting bacteria.
The endocannabinoid system is a signaling network as it regulates many functions of our organs. It detects any imbalances and acts to repair any abnormalities.
The ECS can directly effect the gut and help regulate many imbalances. It is linked to the gut-barrier function which helps regulate inflammation and the production of energy.
When a deficiency occurs in these biological networks, there seems to be a similar association with the chronic diseases they may inflict. Chronic diseases such as Crohn’s disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, obesity, or Type 1 Diabetes are all determined by the deregulation of these networks.
The question then remains, what can we do in addition to a nutritious diet and adequate exercise, to help stimulate and promote homeostasis within the microbiota and ECS networks?
How CBD Works & Functional Therapy
Functional medicine is about treating the system and not just the symptom which in-turn helps to create health. It helps find all the things wrong with the body and revealing the underlying cause of the symptoms.
The underlying cause of many chronic illnesses is an imbalanced or broken biological network system; mainly the functioning microbiota network and the signaling endocannabinoid system.
CBD is a phytocannabinoid (meaning from plants), that has unique properties. CBD works by acting as the endocannabinoids produced by the ECS.
Endocannabinoids are produced by the body only when needed and when the ECS is in good health. If the ECS is not working properly, it is unable to produce endocannabinoids. This can lead to chronic diseases because the body is no longer regulating the gut microbiota and other major functions in the body.
The idea is quite similar to the immune system. When the immune system is weakened, we are more likely to catch a cold or flu.
CBD is very beneficial to the ECS and gut microbiota. It balances the ECS and acts as endocannabinoids to regulate good health.
When you consume CBD, your body will think it is the endocannabinoids it produces and will trigger medicinal benefits throughout the body. It will also repair the ECS, prompting it to produce endocannabinoids to the deregulated organs and functions of the body.
The Bigger Picture of How CBD Works
There is still more to learn about the biological systems that aid in chronic diseases, but we are progressing and are starting to see the bigger picture of this complex puzzle.
We understand that symptoms are not the cause, but only the result of failing biological systems. CBD works for more than epilepsy and maybe there is some validity to the claims of it being a multimodal treatment.
With CBD serving as a functional medicine, we can implement it into our diet, along with proper nutrients and adequate exercise, to help fight off chronic diseases and create good health.
Still, the action may not be as simple as taking CBD. We must implement personal and environmental changes to our lifestyle in order to achieve good standing with our health.
So what actions do we need to take in order to rebalance our biological systems and treat any condition we may suffer from?
There are many factors that can effect our overall health. Most of them are a direct result of our environment and lifestyle.
Functional therapy looks at a number of factors that can shape your health. From environmental and lifestyle factors to those predetermined by our genes. It then utilizes that information with the aid of examinations. This helps doctors figure out what you need to treat your overall health.
As a recent development, functional medicine is not well known to the public. There are a limited number of doctors and physicians who are knowledgeable about the subject. Fewer actually practice functional therapy. This scarceness causes functional therapy treatments to be quite expensive. Mainly due to the thoroughness of the medical examinations needed to understand the state of ones’ biological systems.
Are you looking to start implementing functional therapy in your life? Do you lack the access to a doctor who practices functional medicine? Then I may have some ways to help you.
Functional medicine looks at a number of lifestyle factors that can attribute to chronic illnesses. It also looks at the amount of metal and toxins in your body, lack of vitamins, and other internal factors. Though, that information requires certain medical equipment detect.
The lifestyle factors that functional medicine correlates as a direct result of a failing system are; sleep and relaxation, exercise and movement, nutrition, stress, and relationships.
Make changes in your lifestyle that promotes good health. Try adding some CBD oil to your diet. You can potentially reduce or treat many chronic diseases and symptoms you may suffer from.
The science of how CBD works is complex and it’s deeper than you think. I hope to have shined some light on not only how it works but how to get the most of your CBD with the idea of functional medicine.
Many chronic diseases are a direct result of a failing biological system, which CBD has the potential to repair.
In the case of chronic diseases, CBD alone may not be enough to repair theses systems. We must work on lifestyle factors that effects the gut microbiota and ECS.
CBD can help get the momentum of good health going, but we also need to make changes to our bad habits and lifestyle choices in order to successfully repair our broken systems.
After all, just because we have all the pieces to the puzzle doesn’t mean it’s finished. Putting a couple pieces together doesn’t help solve the puzzle. We must take the time and effort and work on ourselves so we can see the bigger picture.
Your health is the most important thing and should be worth every ounce of your energy to balance your systems.
I hope this information was useful and I hope you take advantage of it. There’s no better time then now. I have already started to change some bad habits within my lifestyle. Will you do the same?
- Endocannabinoids – at the crossroads between the gut microbiota and host metabolism
- Crosstalk between the gut microbiota and the endocannabinoid system: Impact on the gut barrier function and the adipose tissue
- The Gut Microbiota