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How Does CBD Work in the Body?
CBD Education


How Does CBD Work in the Body?

Many of us have heard about the soothing benefits of CBD and how it's become a trusted partner for many in their wellness journeys. Its rise in popularity isn't just a trend — countless individuals are experiencing firsthand how CBD can help ease tension and encourage feelings of relaxation. But have you ever stopped to wonder how CBD works within the body to produce these revered effects?

Wonder no more — we’re here to illuminate some of these mysteries. In this guide, we'll dive deep into the inner workings of CBD and its interaction with the body's systems.

What Is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a term that's been echoing through health and wellness corridors for quite some time now. But what exactly is it? As a cannabinoid — a type of active compound found within all forms of the cannabis plant — CBD is particularly abundant in the hemp plant.

While there are over 100 known phytocannabinoids, CBD stands out as one of the most active and well-known. Found in both cannabis and hemp plants, CBD has been the focus of numerous studies due to its potential benefits and the significant role it plays in how our body interacts with these plants.

CBD vs. THC: What's the Difference?

When we talk about the Cannabis sativa plant, it's impossible to overlook its two most celebrated compounds: CBD and THC. Though they share the same roots, they are fundamentally different in how they interact with the human body and their effects.

CBD has become increasingly popular for its reported health benefits and non-psychoactive nature. This means that, unlike THC, CBD doesn’t produce the "high" that cannabis is often associated with. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), on the other hand, is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis.

What Is the Endocannabinoid System?

At the heart of CBD's interaction with the body is the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This intricate cell-signaling system plays a key role in maintaining the body's internal balance, or homeostasis.

The ECS is composed of endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and enzymes. To fully understand how CBD works in the body, we must first understand how the different parts of the ECS work together.

Endocannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds that are molecularly similar to plant cannabinoids. These molecules are produced within the brain as needed and can then bind to cannabinoid receptors (known as CB1 and CB2 receptors) to send signals and maintain our internal equilibrium.

CB1 receptors are predominantly found in the brain and central nervous system. They play a significant role in our mood, memory, and motor functions. On the other hand, CB2 receptors are more commonly found scattered throughout immune cells.

After endocannabinoids bind to these receptors to trigger the desired biological response, enzymes in the ECS break them down, ensuring they don't remain in the system longer than necessary.

How Does CBD Work in the Body?

At a molecular level, CBD's structure shares striking similarities with our body's natural endocannabinoids. This resemblance allows CBD to interact seamlessly with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), bolstering its efforts to maintain internal balance.

Now, when we dive deeper into cannabinoids, we find that THC, another compound found in the cannabis plant, binds directly to CB1 receptors, particularly in the brain. This direct binding is responsible for the psychoactive effects typically associated with THC. On the other hand, CBD takes a more nuanced approach.

Rather than binding directly, CBD is believed to work by influencing enzymes responsible for breaking down endocannabinoids. In essence, CBD helps support the presence and effects of endocannabinoids in the system.

Clinical trials also suggest that CBD may also support the role of other receptors outside of the ECS, such as serotonin receptors. These interactions can contribute to the calming effects that many CBD users report, further establishing CBD's role in wellness.

The exploration of CBD's role in wellness is exciting, illuminating, and ever-evolving. With its potential benefits, it's no wonder people everywhere are eager to incorporate it into their daily routines.

What Are the Wellness Benefits of CBD?

The beneficial effects of CBD can help you feel more balanced physically and mentally. From encouraging feelings of relaxation to supporting various bodily functions, the use of CBD has a unique role in supporting our overall well-being.

Eases Feelings of Stress

Chronic stress is becoming an increasingly common part of our daily lives, but the effects of continually heightened stress levels can have dire consequences on our well-being. Finding a natural way to support healthy stress levels and encourage balanced mental health is more relevant than ever. CBD, with its calming properties, has shown promise in this realm.

Research suggests that CBD may help ease feelings of stress by fostering a sense of relaxation. Instead of offering a temporary escape, CBD works in harmony with our body's systems, helping to promote a calm demeanor and a balanced state of mind, which are essential for our everyday challenges.

Helps Ease Physical Discomfort

Anyone familiar with physical activity knows that with exercise can come moments of tension and discomfort. Here's where CBD's potential shines. By partnering with our endocannabinoids at the source of tension, CBD can offer a gentle, natural approach to ease physical discomfort.

Many users turn to CBD after strenuous activities, finding it helpful in supporting muscle recovery. Its soothing benefits can make it a go-to choice for those seeking to support their post-activity routines and encourage their body's natural recovery processes.

Encourages Balance Throughout

One of the most remarkable aspects of CBD is its potential to encourage balance in various systems of the body. Because the ECS plays a role in many physiological processes, including mood regulation, sleep patterns, and immune system responses, CBD can help to maintain harmony throughout these biological systems.

For instance, a well-functioning ECS can support a stable mood, as it can encourage the production of mood-boosting endocannabinoid anandamide. Likewise, a balanced ECS can play a role in sleep quality. With our increasing understanding of sleep's role in overall health, having a natural solution like CBD to help encourage high-quality sleep is invaluable.

How Do Different Forms of CBD Work in the Body?

Venturing into the world of CBD, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the choices available. Each form of CBD offers a unique experience tailored to meet the diverse needs of its users. Let's dive into how these various forms interact with our bodies.

CBD Oil and Tinctures

Some of the most popular and versatile forms of CBD are oils and tinctures. These versatile oils are made by combining CBD-rich hemp extract with a carrier oil, which helps increase CBD’s bioavailability, or the percentage of a substance that enters the bloodstream when introduced into the body.

As a fat-soluble substance, CBD requires a fatty acid like coconut oil or hemp seed oil to carry it into the bloodstream, where its benefits can take hold.

A standout method of consuming CBD oil is the sublingual method. By placing a few drops under the tongue and waiting for about 60 seconds, the CBD is directly absorbed by the blood vessels in the mouth. This bypasses the digestive system, leading to faster and more efficient absorption compared to other methods.

Topical CBD

For those looking for targeted support, topical CBD products, like lotions, creams, and balms, come to the rescue. These are designed to offer localized benefits, working in harmony with cannabinoid receptors at the application site.

The beauty of topicals lies in their direct approach. When applied to the skin, they interact with local cannabinoid receptors, providing potential soothing benefits to the specific area of application.

It’s also worth noting that these topicals aren't typically absorbed into the bloodstream. This means they offer targeted benefits without the systemic, full-body effects that other CBD products might provide. It's a direct, focused approach for those seeking to address specific areas of tension or discomfort.

CBD Gummies and Edibles

Imagine merging the delightful treat of a gummy with the potential wellness benefits of CBD. That's precisely what CBD-infused gummies offer. CBD gummies and dietary supplements provide a consumable method of intake, requiring the CBD to pass through the digestive tract. This process involves what's known as "first-pass metabolism," where the liver metabolizes the CBD before it enters the bloodstream.

While this method means that it might take a bit longer for the effects to kick in, the upside is that they often provide longer-lasting support, offering full-body benefits that can extend for several hours. It's a gentle, prolonged approach, ideal for those who prefer a sustained experience from their CBD products.

In essence, the form in which you choose to consume CBD can significantly influence your experience. Whether you're looking for fast absorption, targeted support, or prolonged effects, there's a CBD product tailored to meet those needs. As always, it's essential to stay informed and choose the format that aligns best with your wellness goals.

Is CBD Legal?

Navigating the legality of CBD can be complex, primarily due to varying state laws regarding recreational and medical cannabis use. But, the 2018 Farm Bill made a clear distinction between hemp-derived CBD products and other forms of cannabis. This bill federally legalized hemp-derived CBD containing less than 0.3% THC content.

But, it’s important to remember that CBD products derived from cannabis plants containing larger quantities of THC are still federally illegal, with regulations varying from state to state. It’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the laws in your state and check the label of any CBD product to ensure it is legal at the federal level.

Are There Any Side Effects of Using CBD?

The benefits of CBD are undeniably promising, but as with any substance introduced into the body, it's essential to be well-informed about potential side effects and considerations. Thankfully, CBD is generally well-tolerated, and serious side effects are rare.

Occasionally, users might experience minor side effects, the most common being drowsiness and nausea. These are often due to additives such as sweeteners and carrier oils. It’s important to start out with a low dose — typically around 10mg — to see how your body reacts to CBD before taking in larger doses.

Another critical aspect of CBD consumption is its potential interaction with other medications. CBD can influence the way certain drugs like blood thinners or blood pressure medication are metabolized by the liver, potentially affecting their mechanisms of action. It can also affect the way that certain medical conditions present.

It’s generally a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before integrating CBD into your wellness routine, especially if you have any health conditions or take any other medications.

Lastly, the purity and quality of CBD products play a key role in minimizing the risk of side effects. Choosing high-quality, third-party tested products can substantially reduce potential risks.

CBD is considered a supplement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which means it’s not as regulated as medications are. This means that it’s all the more important to source your CBD from a company you trust.

How To Choose High-Quality CBD Products

When it comes to wellness, there should be no compromise. It's not just about the experience; it's about ensuring that the experience is safe, effective, and consistent.

The best way to ensure your CBD product is safe and legal and that all ingredients are accurately reflected on the label is to use companies that are transparent with their third-party testing. At Muscle MX, all of our products are third-party tested to ensure that every batch of product meets stringent quality and purity standards.

With all of our lab reports accessible online, you can be confident that your Muscle MX products are free from harmful chemicals, pesticides, and heavy metals — offering a truly pure CBD experience.

The Bottom Line

CBD's interaction with the body is truly a marvel of nature. Its potential to support various facets of health and wellness makes it a great supplement to incorporate into modern well-being practices. By understanding how it works, its potential side effects, and the importance of quality, you can make informed decisions that truly enhance your quality of life.

If you’re ready to get started, remember that quality counts. We invite you to explore our full line of CBD products and experience the potential of CBD in its finest forms.


The endocannabinoid system: Essential and mysterious | Harvard Health

Pharmacology of cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 receptors | PMC

Cannabidiol modulates serotonergic transmission and reverses both allodynia and anxiety-like behavior in a model of neuropathic pain | PMC

Chronic stress puts your health at risk | Mayo Clinic

Enhancing Endocannabinoid Control of Stress with Cannabidiol | PMC

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