It’s one of the hottest supplements on store shelves today: CBD, an extract taken from the hemp plant, has been extolled for its ability to help promote health throughout the body, from the brain down to the smallest joints. And the good news is that a growing body of research supports its benefits.
But CBD is only one of a whole family of compounds, known as phytocannabinoids, found in hemp. Scientists have discovered that the body produces a parallel set of substances called endocannabinoids, collectively known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
Researchers realized only two decades ago that cells throughout the body have receptors for endocannabinoids—literally everywhere they looked. This means the ECS is capable of acting as a master switchboard that plugs into the entire body.CBD and other hemp compounds work with the body's own master control system, helping to maintain a healthy state of balance. Click To Tweet
Here are some ways in which hemp helps support well-being.
Reduces stress and anxiety: Hemp has shown an ability to affect levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps control mood; has been helpful in reducing anxiety in studies; can counteract stress-caused endocannabinoid deficiency
Supports clear skin: Hemp promotes proper skin cell development; defends skin against free radical damage; appears to help regulate oil production within the skin
Helps protect the heart: According to one study, “accumulating evidence now also suggests that CBD is beneficial in the cardiovascular system”; hemp has been linked to reductions in cholesterol and improvements in arterial flexibility
Reduces obesity, diabetes risks: A cell receptor called cannabinoid receptor type-1 has been found to help regulate energy metabolism, which plays a role in fat accumulation, and hemp may interact with this receptor; hemp has shown an ability to reduce body mass and blood glucose, and to curb appetite
Promotes healthy digestion: The ECS helps control gut motility, or the rate at which food moves through the digestive tract; hemp may help ease symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome, such as bloating and pain
Helps ease inflammation: The ECS is involved with pathways in the body that control inflammation and pain; hemp has been found to ease mild to moderate pain, especially when inflammation is present
Supports bone health: Endocannabinoids control the cells that build up and break down bone; scientists believe that hemp may help prevent bone loss
NOTE: Always consult with your healthcare practitioner for help in designing a supplementation program, especially if you have a pre-existing condition.
Hemp Cofactors for Total Well-Being Support
Like most other herbs, hemp works best when used with other nutrients and plant-based therapies. Some support hemp directly; for example, black pepper extract, cocoa and acacia, along with medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) from coconut, boost absorption, while rosemary, oregano and clove help support the ECS.
Other cofactors help boost hemp’s effectiveness in dealing with specific concerns:
Healthy Sleep: GABA, a key neurotransmitter, enables relaxation and supports sound sleep, as does the amino acid tryptophan. Herbs such as lemon balm and hops have long been used to promote slumber.
Inflammation Control: Boswellia, an Ayurvedic herb, has long been used to treat such inflammatory conditions as osteoarthritis, as has curcumin, taken from the turmeric often used in Indian recipes. Evidence suggests that AmLexin, a patented acacia/mulberry extract, fights the breakdown of joint cartilage.
Stress Relief: L-Theanine, found in tea, promotes alpha brain waves and relaxation, while reishi mushroom has been linked to reductions in fatigue and depression.