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The Scoop On CBDs

A lot of people ask me about CBD products, and I have finally taken a deeper dive into how it works, why it can be pricey, and contraindications for use. I’ve broken some of it down here - and if you have any questions let me know and I’ll cover more later!

The Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system is present in all living beings except insects, and its main job is to maintain homeostasis in the body. Interestingly, both acupuncture and TCM herbal formulas have been shown to regulate the endocannabinoid system as well.


Cannabinoids are compounds that bind to receptors in the body to bring about homeostasis. In humans, there are two cannabinoid receptors that have been discovered - CB1 and CB2. These receptors are found pretty much everywhere, from the major organs, bones, and skin to the brain stem and vagus nerve. With the increase of research in this area, many people think we will find more receptors as well as more endogenous cannabinoids. As of now, we know that humans have at least 2 endogenous cannabinoids: anandamide and 2-Ag.

Full Spectrum Hemp Oil Vs. Marijuana

By legal definition full spectrum hemp has less than 0.3%,THC and has over 113 cannabinoids, so you get the benefits of the wide range of cannabinoids without the high.

Marijuana also has over 113 cannabinoids, but it also has THC which is usually anywhere from 5-35% of its chemical constituency, so you can see that the concentration of the other cannabinoids would be lower.

The Legal Stuff and Pricing

Previously, hemp was a grey area, where it wasn’t explicitly legal or illegal, but after the passing of the federal farm bill on 12/13/18, it has become explicitly legal. What does this mean for the future? Hopefully, prices will go down, as more farmers are able to grow hemp. The main reason these products are so expensive is just a lack of supply. Also, there will be even more research into the effects and possible side effects of CBD.

Caution! The CYP3A4 Enzyme

CBD products can inhibit the CYP3A4 enzyme in the liver when they are ingested. This enzyme is also responsible for controlling the half-life of many pharmaceuticals, so CBD could potentially extend their half-life in the bloodstream. As more research goes into this interaction we will be better informed as to how to manage this potential outcome. In the meantime, if you are on a medication that interacts with grapefruit juice (which has the same effect on CYP3A4), I would be cautious about consuming CBD products internally.

On the other hand, topical usage of CBD is safe for those individuals, as it bypasses the bloodstream and the liver by working with the cannabinoid receptors on the skin. These receptors help it treat more than just pain. Clinically, we have even seen that using topical full spectrum hemp oil can help with anxiety and insomnia, especially when applied to the back of the neck or insides of the wrists.

Long Term Use

For some people (especially those ingesting CBD), the body can become tolerant to a certain dosage and they may find that they have to increase dosage to get the same results. Taking a small break from consumption can reduce that tolerance and the smaller dosage will often work again. Research has shown that It is not biologically addictive - you can come off it for a few days and not have any detox reactions like alcohol or opiate withdrawal.

Overthinking It

So, theoretically, if these compounds are helping the body return to homeostasis, once they have accomplished this feat they should no longer be needed, right? I think this is really possible, but you have to be working on the underlying imbalance that caused the problems in the first place. So while I don’t think that CBD is the panacea we are all hoping for, I do think it can teach our bodies about homeostasis, and create an environment where we can begin to take care of ourselves and keep our own bodies in balance, as well as bring us some relief in the meantime.


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