With the passage of the 2018, Farm Bill hemp and CBD are dominating the press and trending in the natural products industry. But what’s all the buzz really about?
Hemp is a cannabis plant. Yes, the same one that produces marijuana or pot. The difference between marijuana and hemp is the amount of THC present in the plant. THC is the compound in marijuana that provides the psychoactive attributes or gets you high. Hemp cannot contain more than 0.3 percent of THC. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 effectively made all cannabis plants illegal and the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 formally made all cannabis illegal.
The 2018 Farm Bill ensures that cannabinoids derived from hemp will be legal if the hemp is produced in a manner consistent with the Farm Bill, associated federal regulations, associated state regulations, and by a licensed grower. All other cannabinoids, produced in any other setting remain illegal.
What are cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are a diverse class of chemical compounds that occur naturally in the human body and in cannabis plants. Cannabinoids found naturally in the human body are called endocannabinoids and those found in plants are phytocannabinoids. Over 100 cannabinoids have been identified.
Cannabinoids play an important role in the endocannabinoid system. All animals have an endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is also referred to as ECS. The ECS is a collection of cell receptors and molecules located throughout the body-brain, organs, connective tissue, glands, and immune cells – with the goal of maintaining homeostasis, or optimal balance.
Didn’t learn about the endocannabinoid system in school? That’s because this system wasn’t discovered until the 1990s by researchers trying to understand the effects of marijuana and THC on the body.
Cannabinoids and their receptors work like a lock and key. The locks are the receptors CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are abundant in the central nervous system – the brain and nerves of the spinal cord. The CB2 receptors are found in immune cells, the gastrointestinal tract and the peripheral nervous system.
Cannabinoid receptors play a significant role in regulating many bodily functions such as:
- Appetite, Digestion, and Hunger
- Motor control
- Immune Function
- Reproduction and Fertility
- Pleasure and Reward
- Temperature regulation
- Inflammation, including neuroinflammation
The keys to these locks, or receptors, are endocannabinoids. They tell your body when to start and stop these processes. Disruption of the system causes dysfunction in some or all of the functions above.
The body does produce some endocannabinoids, but they primarily come through food, especially omega-3 fatty acids.
Along with the locks (receptors CB1 and CB2) and keys (endocannabinoids) enzymes play a big role in ECS function. Enzymes are the clean-up crew of the system. They breakdown leftover cannabinoids that haven’t found a receptor to bind with.
Anandamide was the first key to be discovered. It works on both the CB1 and CB2 receptors. It is critical for maintaining a healthy central nervous system. It is also called the “Bliss” molecule.
THC, the phytocannabinoid found in marijuana, attaches to the same receptor as anandamide. Anandamide does have a calming effect, but it does not get you high. The FAAH enzyme breaks down anandamide and other endocannabinoids. It works quickly on your body’s own endocannabinoids but can’t break down THC. So, THC remains around longer and has a greater effect on your body.
CBD, also found in marijuana and hemp, does not have the same psychoactive properties as THC. In the brain, CBD stops the FAAH enzyme from breaking down anandamide, so it has more of an impact. This could be why CBD can help treat anxiety disorders.
While THC and CBD are both cannabinoids, they work in different ways within the body.
Research continues on the effects of THC and CBD in the body. Understanding the endocannabinoid system and its goal of maintaining homeostasis within the body could be key understanding and eliminating many common disease states.
So, if you are ready to jump on the CBD bandwagon, understand the source of the hemp used and purchase from a reputable source. Native Remedies® now offers hemp/CBD products! Links provided below
BY MARY ELLEN KOSANKE