How Does CBD Work?

Alright, I honestly didn’t expect you to make it this far. This is where things get really confusing.

For all of you analytical nerds out there. Most of us know that CBD is good for you, and just accept it. But there are always people that are beautifully, wonderfully unsatisfied. This is for you wonderful people. 

At the top of the page, CBD is defined as "a chemical compound of cannabis that has significant medical benefits." This is a great way to describe CBD to a normal person, but it's not how you describe it to an analytical. So let's start with a more scientific definition of CBD.

CBD is a phytocannabinoid (phyto means "plant" in Greek) that has the ability to act on the cannabinoid receptors that are apart of our endocannabinoid system.


Uh.... the canna-endo... what???

Let's break this down with more definitions.

  • A cannabinoid is a class of substances responsible for some of the effects resulting from cannabis consumption. This is the THC, CBD, CBN, etc.

  • The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is short for "endogenous cannabinoid system." In biology, "Endogenous" means "to develop within," so to translate this into layman's terms, the ECS is something that already exists within us. Yes, you read that correctly. Humans have a cannabinoid system developed within our bodies. In fact, almost every animal has an ECS, except for insects.

Okay great. So what is the purpose of the ECS?

The purpose of the ECS is homeostasis... another biological term that only an unsatisfied, analytical nerd would want to know about. Homeostasis (homeo means " similar," and stasis means "stable) can be simply described as something our body does to maintain an internal balance when faced with external changes. The easiest example of homeostasis operating within our bodies is when the weather is hot or cold: When it's hot, our bodies sweat to cool down, and when it is cold, we shiver to produce heat. Our bodies naturally "balance" with the weather. Pretty cool, right? I know, my heart is racing with excitement too. 

If this still doesn't make sense, don't worry, because it doesn't. Just keep reading. You will connect the dots going backwards.

To understand how CBD works, we have to understand how the ECS works. 

How cannabinoids produce effects in the body

ECS has 4 main components

- The receptors - CB 1 - central brain and nervous system - discovered in 1988 at St. Louis Medical College - CB 2  - binds the "periphry" periphal nervous system, metabolic tissues, immune system

-A few years later - Endogenous marijuana like compounds that our brain and body produces. - Anandamide (AEA) and 2AG - AEA binds with CB1 receptor in brain and that gives euphoria and feels high

-Enzymes in the body combine to create the cannabinoids, and the other enzymes that synthesize and break down the endogenous cannabinoids

-Transport molecules - fatty acid binding Proteins - CBD and THC attach to and get transported