CBD & You

Unlocking the Natural Healing Powers of Your Body

You’ve probably already heard of the numerous potential health-benefits of CBD – whether friends sharing how it’s helped with back-pain or their partner’s anxiety, or articles discussing its potential benefits for significant concerns such as epilepsy or cancer. But, if you're like most of us, you might wonder how CBD works and if it’s completely safe -- especially since many of us naturally but mistakenly associate it with mental-impact of marijuana. In today’s article, we’ll explore what CBD is, why it has none of the effects of THC (the psychoactive component of marijuana), and most importantly, why health-researchers are so excited about the numerous ways in which CBD might support the innate healing powers of our bodies.

The Many Possibilities of CBD

    To begin, as a naturally-occurring compound, CBD has been used medicinally for thousands of years and across the globe for a wide range of health issues. And while formal research is still relatively young, current studies confirm an exciting number of possibilities for the therapeutic application of CBD, including reducing or even eliminating:

    Given these significant possibilities, you're probably wondering what CBD is and how a natural product can have so many potential benefits to over-all health. Let's take a look at the nature of CBD, followed by why researchers are so excited about its dramatic range of health-possibilities.

    What CBD Is (and What It Isn't)

    CBD, or "Cannabidiol," is actually just one of over 100 unique compounds found in the cannabis plant, along with, of course, THC, the psychoactive component that causes the high we associate with marijuana. While both CBD and THC are part of the group of molecules known as "cannabinoids," they have radically different structures and, in turn, different impact on the body. An easy way to understand is to think of the keys to your house and car -- obviously they are similar, but your house key won't ever accidentally start your car or vice versa. Likewise, CBD will never make you high, give you the munchies, or cause paranoia, and it will definitely not make you fail a drug test, even if consumed on a regular basis. (https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/wellness/read-this-if-youre-worried-about-cbd-showing-up-in-a-drug-test/ar-AAxo3wF)

    In case you're still concerned, it might help to know that most CDB products are derived not from marijuana but from its sister-plant hemp, a plant cultivated for its fibers as well as CBD and with only trace-levels of THC. In fact, to legally grow hemp, THC can't be higher than 0.3% By contrast, recent studies show that marijuana currently averages roughly 19% THC and often as high as 30% (https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/legal-pot/legal-weed-surprisingly-strong-dirty-tests-find-n327811) -- literally 60 to 100-times the levels allowed in hemp. Add the fact that CBD is further isolated and purified once extracted, and you can see why even high dosages of CBD have absolutely none of the traditional impact of marijuana.

    This leads to our next question: "How can a completely natural and safe product offer such a wide range of health-benefits?" Again, to understand, we need to know more about a powerful system within the body-- one you've probably never heard of, but that is supporting your health day and night and that has a surprising link with CBD.

    Introducing Your Body's Endocannabinoid System

    The connection starts with neurotransmitters. We have all heard of compounds like serotonin, dopamine, and epinephrine that are generated by the body to help regulate essential physical and psychological functions. When released, neurotransmitters bind with unique receptor sites (very much like a key in a lock) in order to increase or decrease crucial functions -- either to address external circumstances like stress or sexual attraction, or simply to maintain general health.

    What you probably aren't familiar with is one of the most powerful neurotransmitter networks -- one found throughout the brain and peripheral nervous system -- that helps regulate a wide variety of physiological functions, including immune-response, metabolism, pain-sensation, motor-learning, appetite, and sleep, as well as psychological functions such as mood, memory, and even social-anxiety. It's called the "Endocannabinoid System," and it actually gets its name ("endo-" means endogenous, or produced within the body) from its molecular similarity with phyto-cannabinoids -- that is, plant-based cannabinoids such as CBD.

    The Endocannabinoid System, or ECS, actually has receptor-sites in numerous crucial systems throughout the body, including the brain, organs, connective-tissues, glands, and immune-cells (http://norml.org/library/item/introduction-to-the-endocannabinoid-system). By releasing its naturally-occurring cannabinoids, the ECS can up-regulate (i.e., increase) functions such as immune-response or fertility, while down-regulating unwanted states such as anxiety or excess inflammation. And because phyto-cannabinoids like CBD have the power to link with and activate many of these same exact receptors, they have the potential to dramatically assist the body in a wide variety of functions crucial to over-all health.

    Once you begin to understand the significance of the ECS and it's natural link with CDB, you can see why researchers are excited about the numerous possibilities. As Bradley E. Alger, a leading scientist in the study of endocannabinoids, puts it: “With complex actions in our immune system, nervous system, and virtually all of the body’s organs, the endocannabinoids are literally a bridge between body and mind. By understanding this system, we begin to see a mechanism that could connect brain activity and states of physical health and disease,” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24765232) all of which might be enhanced by CBD. Put them together, and you can see why health-specialists are excited about CBD's potential for everything from anxiety and chronic pain, to epilepsy, diabetes, cancer, and much, much more....

    Is CBD Safe?

    Now that you have a better sense of what CBD is and how it might address a variety of health-concerns, you might want to be certain that it's truly safe. Of course, as with any naturally-occurring substance, we want to be mindful of choosing a product we can trust, but current research shows CBD to be very safe -- especially compared with the major side-effects of most prescription drugs. And while excess doses of CBD can produce minor symptoms like nausea or diarrhea, most find CBD to be free of side-effects, especially when consumed at normal levels. In short, all current studies suggests that CBD is completely safe and free from any major side-effects. ("CBD Research Round-Up," Kerstin Iffland and Franjo Grotenhermen; nova-Institut, Hürth, Germany).

    Finding the Right CBD for You

    With all the prospective benefits of CBD, you're probably anxious to try it yourself or to get some for a loved one, but with all the companies joining the market, how do you find a product you can trust? To begin, you want to be sure it's grown in a safe and environmentally-conscious way. You also want to be sure of the purity of your product (i.e., free from unwanted fillers, byproducts,and of course THC) and also its potency. (https://www.consumerreports.org/marijuana/how-to-shop-for-cbd/ ) Finally, if you're like many of us, you want a product that's locally-grown and supports local business.

    To make this easier, we at Old Town Yoga have explored, researched, and personally tried a number of CBD products from a variety of brands, and have found the capsules and tinctures from Bella Body to be excellent -- so much so that we are pleased to be offering them for sale. Bella Body is a local, Colorado-based company that has created unique collection of CBD products that are all organically and locally grown entirely from hemp. Their products are full-spectrum CBD (as opposed to lower-quality products that use heat-extraction, damaging the CBD and reducing health-benefits) and are guaranteed completely free of THC. Their are also free of emulsifiers and other additives, which means you can be sure of all the benefits of CBD without hidden chemicals. You can learn more about Bella Body here (https://bellaandbody.com/) and can find both capsules and tinctures at the studio.

    So if you or a loved one could use some additional health-support, we warmly invite you to come check them out -- whether after a class, massage, sauna session, or just next time you're in old town. Again, we're excited to offer these quality, Colorado-based products and trust you'll enjoy them every bit as much as we do!