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What is CBD, anyway?

Updated: Sep 3, 2021

In recent years the CBD industry has grown exponentially and for good reason. With the recent discovery of the Endocannabinoid System, CBD and other cannabinoids have great potential to support body systems on a cellular and molecular level. When you look at the history of the world and even today, plants and herbs are frequently used for their medicinal quality. Turmeric, Lavender, Mint, Wheatgrass, and Garlic just to name a few. Similarly, the hemp plant has been shown to have really promising health benefits as well. You may have heard that it can be a gentle sleep aid or help with alleviate aches and pains and maybe you are curious if CBD is right for you. Let's dive into what CBD is and how it relates to the Endocannabinoid System in our body.

Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

In short, the ECS system is there to help achieve homeostasis. The body is always striving to be in balance despite constant change in our external environment so the ECS system is one way our bodies maintain that balance. Thermoregulation, hormone balance, sleep cycles, stress, appetite, memory, and inflammation are all influenced by the ECS. When it was discovered in the 1990's researches found that Endocannabinoid receptors are found in our immune system, central nervous system, brain, connective tissue, and organs. In order for the ECS to work efficiently it needs a steady supply of chemical compounds called cannabinoids. The receptors found within the system can "accept" or match with three types of cannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are produced by the body. Phyto-cannabinoids are derived from plants. And synthetic cannabinoids are manufactured in a lab. Think about this way, our body is able to make Vitamin D but most people are actually deficient in Vitamin D so we supplement to "stock our shelves" full of this essential nutrient so that it's ready when we need it. Similarly, the ECS uses cannabinoids for fuel and if we are deficient, it won't work optimally.

Hemp Plant and ECS

Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found in the hemp plant. Hemp Extract consists of about 80 non-intoxicating Phyto-cannabinoids and CBD is the most known variety. There is also CBG, CBN, and CBC. These plant derived Phyto-cannabinoids work together with the Endocannabinoid system in a "lock and key" model where the cannabinoids fit into the ECS receptors. To make a clear distinction between hemp and marijuana, marijuana plant is high in THC and low in CBD and hemp plant is high in CBD and low in THC which is the reason it is considered non-intoxicating.

Types of CBD products

Full Spectrum CBD is when all of the cannabinoids have been extracted from the the hemp plant. It is federally mandated that all hemp plant grown in this country must be under .03 percent of THC. The benefits of a full spectrum CBD product is you get the health benefits from a variety of plant derived cannabinoids including things like terpenes and flavonoids (antioxidants) which may synergistically to maximize the effects.

Broad Spectrum is when the THC has been completely removed and the CBD and other beneficial cannabinoids remain. Broad spectrum products contain a variety of cannabinoids natural to the hemp plant but not all of them. There is no trace of THC as it has been extracted.

Isolate also has THC removed and is 99.9% pure CBD with no other plant derived cannabinoids including THC. It is when CBD is "isolated" or extracted from all the other compounds and only CBD remains but no other compounds.

Understanding Package labels

A legitimate product will clearly provide the following information on the label:

  1. The form of hemp extract (Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, Oil or isolate).

  2. The amount of Hemp Extract in milligrams per bottle.

  3. The amount of pure CBD in the bottle expressed as a percentage of the hemp extract.

  4. The amount of hemp extract per dose.

  5. The amount of pure CBD per dose.

  6. An independent Certificate of Analysis confirming the above numbers.

  7. Does not claim to cure, treat, or prevent diseases.

CBD Cautions

With the industry growth there are lots of companies selling some form of CBD. Because the cannabis plant can easily absorb pesticides, heavy metals, and other chemicals during the growing process it is important that manufacturers keep a close eye on their products. Rigorous and frequent testing is necessary to produce quality CBD products. Always look for companies who implement testing for contaminants. You also want to glance at the ingredient list to check for any other chemicals, additives, fillers, and allergens that may be present but not necessary advertised. Lastly, research has shown some potential drug interactions with CBD products causing the inhibition of the body to metabolize certain enzymes found in over the counter medication and prescription drugs. Always talk to your healthcare provider for guidance.


From the desk of Dr. Lisette Miller Kondrad. Dr. Miller is a licensed Chiropractic Physician and Board Certified Acupuncture Provider who has been in clinical practice for over 7 years. She has helped hundreds of patients through chiropractic care and acupuncture. Click here to contact Clark Road Chiropractic Center with any questions or to schedule your appointment! 

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