CBD is short for Cannabidiol, a compound found predominantly in some varieties of the Cannabis Sativa L plant. Chemically, CBD falls into the category of terpenophenolic compounds, which are abundantly produced in hair-like structures, called glandular trichomes, which are found on the surfaces of flowers and leaves of cannabis plants.

Research on CBD

So far, scientists have identified more than two hundred of these compounds, which are referred to as phytocannabinoids in the literature. Among them, CBD has been the most studied in recent decades. Glandular trichomes can be thought of as biofactories in which the cannabis plant synthesizes phytocannabinoids through a series of biochemical reactions catalyzed by different enzymes.

Most cannabinoids are bio synthesized in their acid form, with cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) forming first. CBGA is subsequently converted to other acidic phytocannabinoids depending on the types of enzymes present in the variety of the cannabis plant. Several varieties contain the enzyme cannabidiolic acid synthase (CBDA synthase) which converts CBGA to CBDA (cannabidiolic acid), which is an acidic form of CBD.

In other words, so-called high-CBD strains produce CBDA which is converted into CBD by a process called decarboxylation, during which the loss of carbon dioxide from the CBDA results in its transformation into CBD. Decarboxylation of acidic cannabinoids begins with the drying of cannabis plants or occurs during the heat treatment of cannabis extracts.

In the late 1980s, researchers in the United States discovered that the brains of some mammals have receptor sites for phytocannabinoid compounds. This spurred further research, which in the early 1990s led to the discovery of the first endocannabinoid anandamide by researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Further research led to the discovery of other endocannabinoids, which led to the discovery of a new signaling system that occurs at the molecular level in humans and other vertebrates.

Endocannabinoid system

This system, which was found to be involved in the regulation of many biological functions, was called the endocannabinoid system. It has since been established that the endocannabinoid system performs many functions in the body, enabling homeostasis. CBD and other phytocannabinoids have been found to interact with the endocannabinoid system, which is an endogenous system of neurotransmitters and receptors found in the central and peripheral nervous systems of vertebrates.

The endocannabinoid system appears to be involved in several processes, such as memory, appetite, stress, sleep, and the immune system. Low endocannabinoid levels can lead to dysfunction of the endocannabinoid system and consequently to various disorders, resulting in certain conditions.

CBD and phytocannabinoids are believed to complement endocannabinoids and therefore mitigate ailments, mainly those related to anxiety, sleep deprivation and pain. Furthermore, studies have shown that CBD exhibits remarkable anti-inflammatory properties, and therefore can greatly benefit the skin.

It has been shown to relieve dermatological conditions related to acne, psoriasis, eczema and reduce dryness, redness and irritation of the skin. 

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