Our bodies are thought to produce endocannabinoids by the billions every day. “We always thought the ‘runner’s high’ was due to the release of dopamine and endorphins. But now we know the euphoria is also from an endocannabinoid called anandamide,” its name derived from the Sanskrit word for bliss, says Joseph Maroon, M.D., clinical professor and vice chairman of neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. We produce these natural chemicals all day, but they fade quickly because enzymes pop up to destroy them. That’s where CBD comes in: By blocking these enzymes, CBD allows the beneficial compounds to linger. This is why Amanda Oliver, 31, a career consultant in Charleston, SC, pops a CBD gummy bear each night before bed. “I used to lie there tossing and turning as my mind raced from work projects to whether I had set the home alarm,” Oliver says. One piece of candy with 15 mg of CBD is enough to shut off her brain and facilitate sleep. She also swears by the CBD oil she takes at the height of her period, which she says quells her debilitating cramps.
In response to the FDA’s historic decision, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced in September 2018 that it had removed Epidiolex from Schedule I classification, a category reserved for dangerous drugs with no medical value. Henceforth, Epidiolex would be considered a Schedule V drug, the least dangerous designation under the Controlled Substances Act.
There are more than 80 cannabinoids found in cannabis plants, with THC being the primary one, followed by CBD. However, in the hemp plant, which is a different strain of the species Cannabis sativa, CBD is the main active ingredient, and THC is barely present, making its use and legality more widespread. The reason that CBD is such an effective form of support for human health is due to the body’s endogenous cannabinoid system. This regulatory structure of the body has millions of cannabinoid receptors in the brain and nervous system, which react not only to plant-derived cannabinoids (such as hemp and marijuana) but also to natural cannabinoids produced within our body. When hemp oil is used and processed by the body, it is effectively boosting the function of the endocannabinoid system, helping our body regulate itself in many different ways.
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