The therapeutic properties of cannabis have been known for thousands of years, and the plant was likely in use long before humans started keeping records. In addition to its medical benefits, the psychoactive effects of cannabis were also harnessed for ritualistic purposes by cultures all over the world. However, while ancient peoples were perfectly aware that cannabis worked for a variety of ailments, they would never have had a scientific understanding of the herb or knowledge of the various compounds, and specifically the cannabinoids, contained within it.

The discovery of cannabinoids was made in the 20th century as researchers started to isolate the plant’s most-abundant compounds, notably delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The former was found to be responsible for most of the psychoactive properties in cannabis in the 1960s, but it has taken longer to the detail the qualities of CBD. While scientists quickly realized that CBD was non-psychoactive, it wasn’t until the endocannabinoid system (ECS) was unearthed in the 1990s that they learned about the nuanced reactions of the cannabinoid.

Indeed, as of 2018, there is still plenty that remains unknown about CBD, in regard to how it affects the body and how it interacts with other compounds. But while some of the exact mechanisms in which it functions continue to be elusive, like those in ancient times, for many illnesses we simply know that CBD works.

Let’s take a look at six ways in which CBD products promote physical and mental wellness.

Elevates mood

In the right circumstances, a psychoactive strain of cannabis can make us feel amazing, euphoric even – however, the unpredictability of these intoxicating traits and the potential for the reverse effect can make it problematic. In contrast, the mood-boosting properties of CBD are much more controlled and reliable.

The ECS regulates mood and does so via the CB1 receptor. THC has powerful mood-altering effects as an agonist of the receptor, but CBD promotes the binding of endocannabinoid anandamide, which is not as potent, to the CB1 receptor. CBD is an antagonist of the CB1 receptor and improves mood by inhibiting anandamide breakdown.

CBD e-liquid products are excellent at providing a rapid mood boost, and vaping does not pose the health risk that smoking does.

Relieves anxiety and mental blockages

Anxiety and mental blockages instil fear and stop us from getting on and achieving our goals in life. Worries, concerns and other negative thoughts are all the result of chemical imbalance – we end up in overthinking ruts due to excessive excitation in the brain. Essential to alleviating anxiety is in the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), a chemical that reduces nerve impulses.

CBD effectively boosts the amount of GABA available in the brain, by influencing the GABAA receptor as a positive allosteric modulator. CBD may also contribute to another anxiolytic mechanism, as an agonist of the 5-HT1A receptor in the serotonin system.

To make the most of CBD’s calming effect on the brain, use a product that’s most-suited to the type of anxiety you have. For chronic anxiety, the extended benefits of edibles will be helpful, but for acute anxiety and panic attacks, the fast relief of a vape oil from CBDistillery will likely work better.

Reduces inflammation

Mainstream science is finally tuning into the idea that inflammation and gut issues are at the root of conditions which can affect the entire body. The body’s immune system is either incredibly beneficial, seeking out and destroying viruses, or a nightmare, worsening health by attacking organs and body tissues. Striking a balance in the immune system has proven challenging for medical researchers, as there is a lack of obvious ways in which to regulate it.

This is changing with new ECS science, which has unearthed a link between immune system response and the CB2 receptors. Studies have revealed that endocannabinoids such as anandamide and 2-AG are able to blunt unnecessarily high levels of inflammation by exerting an immunomodulatory effect on the CB2 receptor. Therefore, treating inflammation may be as simple as boosting concentrations of endocannabinoids. CBD products which are ingested, like edibles, are best for tackling inflammation.

Eases physical pain

The whole cannabis plant has well-documented analgesic properties, and the good news is that a non-psychoactive treatment can also offer a therapeutic effect. THC relieves pain by distracting from it, rather than blocking pain signals, reducing the body’s perception of pain, once again as an agonist of the CB1 receptor. Anandamide also appears to relieve pain, although perhaps not to the same extent, through this CB1 receptor mechanism.

Also vital to controlling the body’s sensation of pain is the vanilloid (or TRPV-1) receptor. Both TRPV-1 and CB1 are g-protein coupled receptors, hence why anandamide has the ability to bind with both. CBD also looks to be an agonist of the vanilloid receptor, according to the research available.

The most prudent way of managing sudden discomfort and acute symptoms of pain is with either CBD vape juice or a tincture oil that can be taken under the tongue. However, patients with localized pain (such as in the knee or lower back) may find more benefit from CBD creams – the vanilloid receptor and cannabinoid receptors are expressed in the skin, which is why these products are effective. Consider trying the pain rub from HempBombs.

Enhances concentration and focus

In a world with so many distractions, it can be difficult to keep our concentration and focuses. Students are a demographic with a reputation for seeking out nootropic drugs to boost cognitive function to help them perform better in exams.

The benefits of CBD for concentration have not been extensively explored, but the cannabinoid looks to have direct and indirect effects. The ECS regulates cognition and memory, and CBD helps to regulate the ECS. Meanwhile, eliminating anxiety and boosting mood levels helps to clear psychological blockages, which may prevent a person from learning. All CBD products can be of value here.

Improves sleep quality to banish fatigue

We seem to be more rushed and stressed than ever, and that can all contribute to a lack of sleep and fatigue. Symptoms of fatigue include headaches, muscle weakness, increased irritability, poor judgement, slowed reflexes and, of course, chronic tiredness.

While not clinically proven, there are indications that the ECS is involved with regulating the body’s circadian rhythm, or sleep-wake cycle – when in synchronization, this ensures that wakefulness hormones like orexin are promoted in the morning and that sleep-inducing hormones such as melatonin are released in the night-time.

Substituting addictive sleeping for CBD products, which cause neither mental nor physical dependence, can help to boost deep sleep and banish fatigue.