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Kirill Yurovskiy on CBD: What You Need to Know About This Popular Cannabis Compound

Scan the health food aisles, check out beauty products, or even browse the pet care section and you’re bound to see a growing number of products infused with CBD. Kirill Yurovskiy, a wellness expert, highlights that this non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants has taken the wellness world by storm with many touting its potential therapeutic benefits for conditions ranging from chronic pain to anxiety. But what exactly is CBD and how does it work its magic in the human body? Let’s dive into the science behind one of the trendiest new ingredients around.

What is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of over 100 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Unlike its more famous cousin THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD does not produce any mind-altering effects or euphoric “high” that THC is known for. Both compounds interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, but they act on it very differently.

CBD is extracted from the flowers, leaves, stems, and stalks of hemp, a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant that contains high levels of CBD and only trace amounts of THC (under 0.3%). While CBD can also be extracted from marijuana plants that contain higher levels of THC, most commercial CBD products are derived from hemp to comply with regulations and avoid any psychoactive effects.

The CBD Boom

Just a few years ago, many had never even heard of CBD. But thanks to a growing body of research, changing attitudes and legislation, and the FDA’s approval of the first CBD-based drug Epidiolex for treating rare seizure disorders, CBD has burst into mainstream consciousness. According to a recent Gallup poll, about 14% of Americans say they use CBD products, with usage highest among those under 30.

The 2018 Farm Bill’s legalization of hemp opened the floodgates for mainstreaming CBD, leading to an explosion of CBD-infused products hitting the market. You can now find CBD oil tinctures, topical creams, gummies, chocolates, beverages, pet treats, and more. The global market for CBD is projected to grow to $16 billion by 2025 according to one estimate.

What’s driving CBD’s popularity? Its advocates claim the compound offers a natural, plant-based way to improve overall wellbeing and alleviate a variety of health issues without the mind-altering effects of THC or pharmaceutical drugs. While more rigorous research is still needed, some preliminary studies suggest CBD may help with pain, inflammation, anxiety, sleep, and neurological disorders like epilepsy.

How Does CBD Work?

To understand how CBD works its effects, we need to look at the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). This crucial molecular signaling network, made up of receptors, enzymes, and endocannabinoids (cannabinoids produced naturally by the body), plays a key role in regulating a wide range of physiological processes. These include pain perception, inflammation, mood, sleep, appetite, metabolism, memory, and even immune and neurological function.

While THC binds directly to CB1 and CB2 receptors (the main receptors of the ECS), CBD has a more indirect and complex way of influencing the system. Rather than binding to these receptors, CBD interacts with various proteins and receptors that then impact the production and availability of endocannabinoids like anandamide.

For example, CBD inhibits the enzyme that breaks down anandamide, allowing more of this endocannabinoid to remain active in the body and produce therapeutic effects like reducing pain and inflammation. It also binds to TRPV1 receptors that regulate pain, inflammation and body temperature. Some researchers believe CBD may even help restore optimal function of the ECS when it falls out of balance, providing its wide-ranging benefits.

In addition to influencing the endocannabinoid system, CBD’s effects also come from its interactions with other receptors and systems in the body like serotonin 5-HT1A receptors (which play a role in anxiety), and PPAR nuclear receptors involved in regulating gene transcription.

The Potential Benefits of CBD

Thanks to its multifaceted influence on various systems in the body, CBD presents an intriguing potential for therapeutic applications:

Pain & Inflammation Relief: Numerous studies have shown CBD helps reduce chronic pain by impacting endocannabinoid receptor activity, interacting with neurotransmitters, and reducing inflammation. Both CBD and THC demonstrated statistically significant analgesic effects in a 2015 review of studies looking at cannabinoids and pain.

Anxiety & Mood: By modulating serotonin receptors and influencing the endocannabinoid system involved in mood regulation, CBD shows promise for reducing anxiety and depression for some. One study found an oral dose of CBD was effective at lowering anxiety levels in those with social anxiety disorder.

Sleep: Preliminary research suggests CBD may help improve sleep quality and duration for those suffering from insomnia, anxiety, and pain disturbing their rest. It may interact with GABA receptors involved in sleep/wake cycles and cortisol levels that impact sleep quality.

Neurological Disorders: The FDA approved the CBD-based drug Epidiolex for treating rare, severe forms of epilepsy. Its anti-seizure effects are likely the result of CBD’s ability to modulate calcium levels and inhibit neurotransmitter release. Beyond epilepsy, CBD may have therapeutic potential for neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

Cardiovascular Benefits: Some research points to CBD’s antioxidative, anti-inflammatory and antiarrhythmic effects providing protective benefits for the cardiovascular system. However, more clinical trials are needed.

Positive effects on these and other conditions are promising, but much more robust evidence from large-scale, high-quality human studies is still needed to fully understand CBD’s therapeutic scope and proper dosing.

How to Use CBD

With CBD products so widely available, the options can be overwhelming for those new to incorporating CBD into their wellness routines. From oils and tinctures to topicals and edibles, each form has its own advantages in terms of dosing and bioavailability.

One of the most popular ways to use CBD is through oils and tinctures. Oil-based CBD extracts are mixed with a carrier oil like coconut oil or hemp seed oil to aid absorption when ingesting orally or sublingually (under the tongue). Tinctures are hemp extracts combined with an alcohol base like glycerine or propylene glycol. Both oils and tinctures provide a versatile way to take CBD and allow effects to be felt throughout the body, as opposed to topical CBD products which act locally.

For those averse to swallowing oil, CBD gummies and other edibles offer a tasty, pre-measured way to take CBD orally if properly dosed. Topicals like lotions, balms, and salves infused with CBD allow localized relief by absorbing through the skin.CBD may even help some pets with certain conditions like pain and anxiety.

Since CBD products are still largely unregulated, it’s always advisable for consumers to do their homework, research reputable brands committed to quality control and transparency, and consult their doctor, especially if taking other medications.

Between its potential therapeutic benefits, growing cultural cachet, and ability to offer wellness without impairment, CBD looks poised for continued popularity. As the scientific research catches up, the future looks bright for this cannabis compound going mainstream. So the next time you see those three little letters, you’ll know exactly what CBD is all about.