Test tubes. Beakers. Unflattering lab coats and vaguely toxic chemical smells.
Are you flashing back to your high school science class yet?
We don’t mean to be nerds, but we get asked often about the science behind CBD. Sure, we at New Coastal love to geek out about chemical receptors, neurotransmitters and super-precise DNA tests.
But we totally understand that most people want a brief and easy-to-understand overview of the science behind CBD in order to decide whether it’s safe (our answer: it is!), whether it works (same thing: it does!) and what you can expect when you take it (we’ll walk you through this one).
Without further ado, please don your lab coat and join us …
SCIENCE LESSON #1: WHAT EXACTLY IS CBD?
As we’ve covered elsewhere in more depth on this site — cannabidiol, or CBD, belongs to a class of plant chemical compounds called cannabinoids. There are at least 113 known cannabinoids that have been isolated from cannabis, of which CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the most common and the most well-known. CBD can account for up to 40% of a cannabis plant’s extract.
CBD differs from THC in that CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it won’t get you high. CBD has exploded in popularity lately because clinical research suggests that it may have positive effects when taken to counteract anxiety, movement disorders, epilepsy and pain. CBD may also help improve cognition and mood.
Interestingly, when CBD and THC are taken together, CBD may reduce the adverse effects of THC on your body. (Important note: New Coastal CBD products do not contain THC — they are certified Zero THC, meaning there is less than 0.3% of the compound in each of our products.) This research is still developing.
SCIENCE LESSON #2: WHAT IS THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM?
Now that we’ve covered the broad strokes of what CBD is, let’s begin to talk about how it interacts with your body’s systems.
The starting point for this discussion must be the endocannabinoid system. Called ECS for short, the endocannabinoid system is a natural bodily system made up of endocannabinoids and cannabinoid receptor proteins. To put things as simply as possible, endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors; cannabinoid receptor proteins are sites all over the vertebrate central nervous system and peripheral nervous system.
Don’t remember learning about the ECS in high school? That’s not surprising — it has only recently been discovered and studied, and scientists are still in the process of learning about its true potential.
Here’s a quick, high-level rundown of the ECS. There are two primary endocannabinoid receptors that have been identified: CB1 and CB2. (To give context — each of these receptors was first cloned in the 1990s.)
You’ll find CB1 receptors predominantly in the brain and nervous system, plus in peripheral organs and tissues. THC binds with CB1, setting off a chain reaction that makes you feel the effects of the THC.
CBD, on the other hand, is active at both cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2). Scientists have noted that when CBD binds to either of the cannabinoid receptors, there can be a profound effect on the regulation of appetite, immune function and pain management.
New Coastal has partnered with EndoCanna Health on a breakthrough DNA test that helps match the optimal CBD and cannabinoid products (including dosage, delivery and concentration) with the people who could benefit from them the most.
As you may know, each of us has a DNA makeup that is 99.9% similar to everyone else’s — but it’s that 0.1% unique quantity that can make a huge difference. Cannabis is complex, and the 0.1% DNA difference is responsible for our individual experience with cannabinoids and CBD.
Thus, our DNA test can tell you:
- Whether you can tolerate THC in any form, including full spectrum, isolate and broad-spectrum products;
- The genetic expression, or effect, individual terpenes will have on your endocannabinoid system;
- Your metabolic function level (ultra-fast, average or poor metabolizer) which determines the dosing; and,
- Any drug-to-drug interactions you could experience.
Our DNA test’s revolutionary big idea is that each person has a unique endocompatibility profile that makes some CBD products more ideal to take than others. Previously, the only way to discover what products worked best was to undertake a frustrating, time-consuming and expensive journey of trial and error.
Welcome to the brave new world of CBD!
SCIENCE LESSON #3: WHAT HAPPENS IN YOUR BODY WHEN YOU TAKE CBD?
OK, you’ve made it this far in the article, so let’s get to the really good stuff! In our high school science class analogy, think of this as the big final lesson — the one that ties it all together. (We think you’re ready for it!)
Want to know exactly what CBD does when it enters your body? Here’s what we know so far about how this exciting compound interacts with our various systems. Remember, as with a lot of things relating to CBD — this is a developing science, with more and more exciting information being uncovered each day.
YOUR BODY ON CBD: WHAT’S GOING ON WHEN YOU TAKE IT?
These are the four main reactions that occur in your body when you take CBD — along with explanations for what the implications are.
- CBD binds with various neuroreceptors and channels in the brain and nervous system. The impact is cumulative — meaning you’ll feel the effects of these binding events more and more as you take higher concentrations of CBD. CBD can bind with neuroreceptors that regulate the release of mood-related neurotransmitters like dopamine, glutamate and serotonin. CBD can also bind with body regulation-related neuroreceptors like vanilloid. This binding can affect your body temperature, perception of pain and inflammation levels.
- CBD deactivates GPR55. GPR55 — a so-called “orphan receptor” — can affect your blood pressure, the density of your bones and the growth of cancer cells.
- CBD works to raise the level of endocannabinoids in your brain through an inhibition cycle. CBD can block the “reuptake” of the neurotransmitter anandamide. This is thought to provide anti-anxiety and anti-inflammation benefits, as anandamide reuptake inhibition has an effect on vasodilation and heart function.
- For cancer patients: CBD activates peroxisome proliferator activated receptors, or PPARs, which slows the spread of harmful cells and can cause tumors to go into regression. This particular benefit is still being examined for potential in treating Alzheimer’s, diabetes and metabolism disorders.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: SCIENCE SHOWS THRILLING CBD POTENTIAL
The CBD industry has grown astronomically in recent years. While the explosion started by word-of-mouth — with many people sharing the details of how their lives were improved by using CBD products — CBD has now earned its place in the sun, with the detailed, evidence-based science to back the most exciting claims up.
At New Coastal, we put science at the heart of what we do. We’re happy to change people’s lives with our CBD products, and we believe the best way to do that is to analyze, quantify and to keep searching constantly for the best possible ways to help.
Now that you have a solid foundation on the science of our CBD products, there’s one thing left to do: Try them out! Your personal experience will be unique to you and particular to your own DNA.
What products are you most looking forward to trying?