What Is the Role of the Endocannabinoid System?

What Is the Role of the Endocannabinoid System?

by Edie Horstman

what is the role of the endocannabinoid system

You are likely aware of the 11 major organ systems in the human body: circulatory, respiratory, urinary, reproductive, integumentary, skeletal, muscular, nervous, endocrine, lymphatic and digestive systems. Combined, these systems do everything from circulating blood and filtering oxygen, to allowing you to lift weights and run on the treadmill.

However, there is also the endocannabinoid system (ECS). While it is less well-known than the other major organ systems in the body, the ECS is deeply involved in establishing and maintaining human health in various ways.


The ECS was first discovered in the 1990s by Dr. L.A. Matsuda. Dr. Matsuda was the first to describe the structure and functional expression of the cannabinoid receptor, CB-1. At the time, scientists were trying to understand how THC—the primary psychoactive substance in marijuana—affected the body. What they discovered was a remarkably complex network of cannabinoid receptors (CBr) expressed in cells of both the central and peripheral nervous system.

Since then, other cannabinoid receptors have been identified as well, including cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB-2). CB-2 is found primarily in the immune system, digestive system and many of the body’s major organs.

The discovery of CB-1 and CB-2 changed everything. It prompted a hunt for the body’s own cannabinoid-like chemicals that naturally interact with these receptors. Over time, doctors, researchers and scientists have unveiled the endocannabinoid system as a whole. The ECS has three parts: endocannabinoids (cannabis-like substances that naturally occur inside the body), receptors in the nervous system and around your body (that endocannabinoids and cannabinoids bond with) and enzymes (that help break down endocannabinoids and cannabinoids).


While the size and scope of the endocannabinoid system is still being discovered, the ECS is crucial for homeostasis. The body naturally wants to keep its internal environment stable, regardless of the circumstances in the outside world. In order for homeostasis to occur, the body activates ECS to help correct it.

For example, when you’re feeling exhausted and can’t keep your eyes open, that’s ECS reminding you it’s time for sleep. When your body is perspiring at the gym, that’s ECS helping you cool down. In other words, when your temperature is too hot or too cold, your heart is beating too fast or your hormones are unbalanced, ECS steps in.

The ECS and Cannabinoid Receptors

When something is operating out of range in the body, the ECS uses cannabinoid receptors found in select tissues to initiate homeostasis. As mentioned earlier, humans have at least two types of cannabinoid receptors: CB-1 and CB-2. CB-1 is in the central nervous system (brain and nerves of the spinal cord), and CB-2 is in the peripheral nervous system (nerves in your extremities), as well as the digestive system and specialized cells in the immune system.

Through these receptors, the ECS assists in regulating a variety of important functions, such as appetite, digestion, immune function, inflammation, mood, sleep, reproduction, memory and pain. By stimulating the endocannabinoid system, CBD promotes homeostasis, reduces pain sensation and decreases inflammation.

CBD Oil as Pain Relief

Because cannabis products can stimulate activity within the ECS, they’re used to target issues like insomnia, anxiety, pain and more. In terms of pain specifically, CBD oil is known to relieve discomfort caused by arthritis, fibromyalgia, cancer, back spasms, migraines and muscle soreness. Instead of using over-the-counter prescriptions, using an alternative—like CBD oil—can provide an all-natural solution to chronic pain.

In essence, while the ECS responds to the endocannabinoids produced in the body, it also responds to external cannabinoids, like CBD. Introducing CBD to the body can help reduce the symptoms of a wide range of illnesses, and doses vary from person to person.

See below for our recommended daily dose, but please consult with your physician before incorporating CBD into your wellness routine.

Recommended Daily MG Dose
WeightEveryday WellnessMediumChronic Conditions/Pharma*
*High is very chronic pain + severe epilepsy. Low is everyday wellness.

Edie Horstman is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, wellness blogger, and freelance writer. She works with health-focused brands, co-creating content in the digital marketing space. She lives in Denver, Colorado.


  1. https://www.verywellhealth.com/organ-system-1298691
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2241751/
  3. https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-the-endocannabinoid-system-4171855
  4. https://terpenesandtesting.com/category/science/endocannabinoid-system-homeostasis/
  5. https://www.verywellhealth.com/cbd-oil-for-pain-4177627

Why Topical CBD Oil Is Just as Effective as Consumed CBD

Why Topical CBD Oil Is Just as Effective as Consumed CBD

by Natasha Burton

topical cbd oil

There are several methods for using CBD oil and reaping its benefits. As you’re likely aware, it can be ingested through vaping, pill form or used topically as a cream, among other means. But, depending on what you’re using CBD for, the method can really matter.

For instance, when using CBD for pain management, topical oils could be an easy, effective option for physical relief. Here’s what you should know about using topical CBD oil for pain.

Topical CBD Oil: Ideal for Fighting Pain

Various research shows that topical CBD oil can be an effective method to combat chronic pain. From arthritis to general inflammation, studies have found that topical CBD oil can be very efficient for pain management. Another study shows that THC and CBD can relieve pain associated with multiple sclerosis. There’s also research finding that CBD can help with more minor forms of discomfort like cramps and headaches. However, since some of these studies have been performed on animals, further research is needed to confirm CBD oil’s pain-fighting effects on humans.

Topical CBD Oil: How It Works

There are two key ways that topical CBD oil works to fight pain. First, the oil contains what are called endocannabinoids, or body signals that help you notice and manage various functions, including pain. CBD naturally raises the endocannabinoids in your body, helping to relieve discomfort.

Second, CBD helps limit your body’s inflammatory response when you have muscle soreness due to exercising or lifting weights. By working with the natural functions in your body, CBD eases a variety of pain types and helps make you more comfortable, whether you’re dealing with a chronic condition or just have temporary aches and soreness.

Topical CBD Oil: How to Use It

Topical CBD can come in a number of forms, like an oil, salve, lotion or even a patch. There are even CBD-infused bath salts and soaks to give you full-body relief. When you have an area of the body that’s in pain, you can use topical CBD the way you would a lotion to help combat the discomfort. The great thing about topical CBD oil is that it doesn’t enter the bloodstream when you apply it—meaning that it really targets just the area where you slather it on.

And, just to give you a heads up: You need to apply it liberally. Skin is designed to keep anything put on it from entering the body. Choosing a product with a high concentration of CBD and making sure that you apply enough to get into your skin’s pores will give you the best results. If you’re using it in the bath, follow the product instructions for how long you should soak, to really reap the benefits.

Using CBD Inside and Out

Depending on the ailment you’re hoping to ease with CBD, you should use the most efficient method for relief. For instance, if you’re using CBD oil for anxiety, vaping is considered the fastest, most effective means since ingesting in this way can send the CBD and its healing properties straight to your brain. Topicals, by contrast, can take a bit longer to be effective. (And, as mentioned, concentration matters!)

Trying a sample on a sore muscle before you make a purchase can be helpful—you may feel the effects right away, depending on the formulation.

Natasha Burton has written for Women’s Health, Livestrong, MSN.com, Cosmopolitan.com and WomansDay.com, among other print and online publications. She’s also the author of five books, including “101 Quizzes for Couples” and “The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags.”


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4851925/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3371734/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3048583/
  4. https://www.chiroeco.com/science-behind-cbd-topicals/
  5. https://www.shape.com/fitness/tips/should-you-try-cannabis-creams-pain-relief
  6. https://www.cannahealth.org/cbd-bioavailability-whats-the-best-way-to-absorb-cbd/
  7. https://www.consumerreports.org/marijuana/how-to-use-cbd-inhale-spray-apply-eat/
How Is CBD Oil Made?

How Is CBD Oil Made?

by Natasha Burton

how is cbd oil made

You may know about CBD oil’s various health and wellness benefits, but most of us are a little less informed about the substance’s production and what we should know before choosing a product to use. Whether ingested or used topically, CBD oil is made using a few different processes. To boot, it can even be different colors and contain contaminants, depending on how the cannabis plants used to make it are grown.

As you can imagine, these are all important considerations before making a purchase. Here’s what to know about how CBD oil is made and what to consider when assessing CBD products.

CBD Whole-Plant Extract Method

When looking at how is CBD oil made, one method is known as “whole plant extract” (and it’s also known as “full spectrum”). This means that, when the oil is made, it contains not only CBD but also some levels of THC, as well as other cannabinoids from the cannabis plant, and terpenes, which are the anti-inflammatory agents within the plant. Typically, whole-plant is the more popular option. Research shows that full spectrum CBD oil can be more effective than isolate CBD oil—more on this in a moment—for treating inflammatory conditions.

Isolate Method

Comparatively, the isolate method means that the CBD oil extracted contains only CBD (that means no terpenes, fatty acids or other cannabinoids). Some people may prefer this method for one simple reason: Because it doesn’t have any level of THC, isolate method-produced CBD oil can be considered a less risky option for anyone who doesn’t want THC in their system. (The chances of this are low, but for those very cautious people, isolate can be a good option.)

CO2 Extraction

To make the oil itself, supercritical carbon dioxide process is the most expensive and purest way to go. This newish process uses fluid CO2—instead of chemicals—as a solvent, and it’s often used in the food industry for other commercial extraction processes, particularly to make coffee and omega-3 oil.

Ethanol Extraction

This extraction method is the most common. Basically, ethanol is used as a solvent to remove CBD from the cannabis plant. The upside to this is that it’s fast, it’s less power intensive than the CO2 method and it requires inexpensive equipment. The downside? Ethanol is super-flammable so the process requires certain precautions.

Color Choices

In addition to how CBD oil is made, there’s some variance in color, depending on the oil type. Filtered oil is yellow or gold and is considered the highest quality (meaning it may also be more expensive). Decarboxylated oil is heated to “activate” CBD’s healing properties and is known for being extremely potent. It’s typically more of an amber or brown color. Raw oil is usually dark or green-tinged, since it doesn’t get filtered and still contains plant fibers and chlorophyll.

What to Consider Before You Buy

The most important factor when choosing a CBD oil is not necessarily how it’s made and what process is used. What matters most is how the cannabis plants are grown and what contaminants, if any, they contain. While several states have legalized CBD, there is a still little regulation to protect consumers. Learning about whether topical or ingested is right for you, how much THC and CBD are in a product, and what testing was performed on the final product are some of the key things you should be sure to find out before choosing a CBD oil.

Natasha Burton has written for Women’s Health, Livestrong, MSN, Cosmopolitan and Woman’s Day, among other print and online publications. She’s also the author of five books, including “101 Quizzes for Couples” and “The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags.”


  1. https://www.scirp.org/journal/PaperInformation.aspx?paperID=53912
  2. https://www.fundacion-canna.es/en/full-spectrum-cannabis-extracts-vs-cbd-isolate
  3. https://echoconnection.org/cbd-oil-made/
  4. https://hempmedspx.com/make-cbd-oil/
  5. https://www.powerblanket.com/blog/cbd-extraction-methods/
  6. https://www.apekssupercritical.com/cbd-extraction-process/
  7. https://www.cannainsider.com/reviews/cbd-oil-color/
  8. https://www.consumerreports.org/marijuana/how-to-shop-for-cbd/

CBD Isolate vs. Full Spectrum Oil: What’s the Difference?

CBD Isolate vs. Full Spectrum Oil: What’s the Difference?

by Erica Garza

cbd isolate vs full spectrum differences

CBD is rapidly rising in popularity for health benefits that include relief from anxiety, pain, inflammation and sleep issues. While you may be familiar with these uses, did you know there are two distinct types of CBD products on the market? Learn everything you need to know about CBD isolate vs. full spectrum CBD oil, including the potency of each, recommended uses and how to decide between the two.

What Is Full Spectrum CBD?

The cannabis plant is home to hundreds of phytochemicals, which include cannabinoids, terpenes and other compounds. Full spectrum CBD refers to products that contain more than CBD, such as other plant molecules like THC and healthy fatty acids. This version of CBD oil is minimally refined, so that most of the cannabinoids and terpenes remain intact. Full spectrum CBD oil is often called “whole plant” oil because the full plant extract is included.

What Is CBD Isolate?

CBD isolate is often labeled as “pure CBD” or 99 to 100 percent CBD. As you may have guessed from the name, these products have been refined to isolate only the CBD compound with no extra cannabinoids or terpenes. Its CBD potency is usually higher than full spectrum, meaning a small dose is recommended.

How to Use CBD Isolate vs. Full Spectrum CBD

Full spectrum CBD is often preferable to CBD isolate because research shows that cannabinoids and terpenes occur in nature together and interact in useful ways. This synergy is referred to as the entourage effect and is thought to give CBD a wider reach as far as health benefits.

One study by Ethan Russo, M.D., illustrated the benefits of terpenes in full spectrum CBD, showing promising results for a variety of conditions. For example, the combination of terpenes pinene, myrcene and caryophyllene help to unravel anxiety, while combining terpenes linalool and limonene with cannabigerol (a lesser-known cannabinoid) shows promise in treating MRSA. Even terpenes linalool and limonene synergized with CBD make for a potent anti-acne treatment. This shows that full spectrum CBD is more of a full-body experience.

Another Israeli study on the potency of CBD isolate versus full spectrum CBD showed that full spectrum CBD was more suitable in clinical settings for such conditions as inflammation and anxiety. Pure CBD resulted in a “bell-shaped dose response,” which means that, when the amount of CBD exceeded a certain point, its therapeutic impact declined dramatically.

However, this doesn’t indicate that CBD isolate is never useful. Some users who are particularly sensitive to THC turn to CBD isolate to benefit from the cannabis plant without any of the psychoactive side effects. CBD isolates also allow users to track how much CBD they’re getting from each dose.

How to Decide Between the Two

Whether you choose CBD isolate or full spectrum CBD, you will likely experience the health benefits of the cannabis plant. With emerging studies, researchers are learning more every day about the difference between the two types of products. Further, for those living in states where full spectrum CBD remains unavailable, pure CBD often delivers a positive and legal solution. After all, CBD alone is better than no CBD at all.

Erica Garza is an author and essayist. Her work has appeared in TIME, Health, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Health, The Telegraph and VICE. She lives in Los Angeles.


  1. https://www.leafly.com/news/health/cbd-for-treating-anxiety
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30157131
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2828614/
  4. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11920-017-0775-9
  5. https://file.scirp.org/pdf/PP_2015021016351567.pdf
  6. https://www.businessinsider.com/health-benefits-of-medical-marijuana-2014-4
What’s a Safe CBD Oil Dosage?

What’s a Safe CBD Oil Dosage?

by Edie Horstman

what's a safe cbd oil dosage
Papa and Barkley Product Photo Shoot in Beverly Hills. Brunch and cocktails. Photo Credit: Timothy Kuratek

What Is CBD Oil?

As more states legalize marijuana, the use of cannabidiol oil is on the rise. This non-intoxicating extract is one of the many chemical compounds in a class called cannabinoids which naturally occur in cannabis plants. Once the cannabidiol is extracted from the flowers and buds of marijuana or hemp plants, the CBD is diluted with a carrier oil, i.e. coconut or hemp seed oil. Due to its benefits and versatility, CBD oil is gaining momentum in the health and wellness world.

However, unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is non-intoxicating. In other words, CBD is known to deliver mental and physical benefits without THC’s typical side effects that can include paranoia, munchies and dry, red eyes. Plus, CBD comes in many forms: you can drop CBD tinctures under your tongue, whip CBD-infused butter into savory dishes or massage a CBD-enhanced salve into your skin. Currently, CBD oil is available in all states where medicinal and/or recreational marijuana is legal.

Benefits of Cannabinoids

With cannabis websites and dispensaries sweeping the nation, it’s no surprise that CBD-infused edibles, drinks, dog treats and beauty products are becoming mainstream. And, for good reason. By interacting with the brain’s signaling systems, CBD can provide relief from stress, pain, digestive upset, insomnia and even protect your body from neurodegenerative diseases. In every sense, it’s a non-toxic, medicinal powerhouse.

In addition to reducing pain associated with various chronic diseases and lowering anxiety, CBD is also known to have beneficial effects on acne and athletic performance due to its anti-inflammatory qualities. Furthermore, research has shown that CBD oil may benefit those with substance addiction as well as those suffering from seizures.


CBD needs to travel through the bloodstream to reach its target, whether that’s the brain, immune system or another location in the body. For those looking for immediate, short-term relief, using a vaporizer to inhale CBD products is ideal. On the other hand, to maintain steady levels of CBD throughout the day, an oral product like a CBD tincture or edible is the best option.

In terms of sublingual usage, MCT oil is the most efficient way to consume CBD oil. Medium chain triglycerides, or MCTs, are medium-length fatty acid chains. A common source of MCTs is coconut oil. Beyond the cannabis industry, MCT oil is also used for better brain function, weight management and hormone balance.

When cannabinoids break down, they are stored in fat, as opposed to water. In other words, cannabinoids are fat-soluble and are best consumed with fat to increase absorption. However, not all fats are created equal—especially when paired with CBD oil. That said, the liver recognizes MCT oils as carbohydrates and directly metabolizes the oil into energy. Interestingly, it does this without causing free radicals because the liver processes the oil as fat. This rapid metabolism puts the cannabinoids to use right away. To summarize, MCT oil can assist with energy, metabolism and brain function, making it a beneficial addition to CBD.

Optimal CBD Dosage

Cannabidiol (CBD) oil has become the hot new product in states that have legalized medical marijuana. However, depending on your needs, CBD oil dosage will vary. Read below for optimal dosages, whether you’re looking for daily wellness or suffer from chronic pain or anxiety.

Whether you’re interested in reducing anxiety, performing better at the gym or improving your insomnia, CBD has a staggering variety of therapeutic properties. And, although the use of cannabidiol as a therapeutic, restorative substance is in its infancy, medical professionals and scientists are beginning to develop dosing schedules for everything from medical marijuana to CBD.

Once you find your optimal CBD method and dosage (listed below), you’ll want to ensure you’re using a high-quality CBD oil, as some manufacturers are less trustworthy than others.

Recommended Daily MG Dose
WeightEveryday WellnessMediumChronic Conditions/Pharma*
*High is very chronic pain + severe epilepsy. Low is everyday wellness.

Depending on your weight and pain level, you can adjust the amount you take daily. Keep in mind that, if you’re concerned about taking too much, we recommend speaking with a trusted medical professional before embarking on your CBD journey.

Edie Horstman is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, wellness blogger, and freelance writer. She works with health-focused brands, co-creating content in the digital marketing space. She lives in Denver, Colorado.


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  2. https://www.leafly.com/news/lifestyle/8-must-have-cbd-products-for-athletes-and-exercise-junkies
  3. http://www.governing.com/gov-data/safety-justice/state-marijuana-laws-map-medical-recreational.html
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  7. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cbd-oil-benefits#section1
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Natural Stress Relief With CBD and Adaptogens

Natural Stress Relief With CBD and Adaptogens

by Jacquelyn Nause

health benefits of cbd oil natural stress relief

CBD oil, or cannabidiol, is the non-intoxicating cannabinoid extracted from hemp or cannabis plants that can be used to reduce stress and help the body function at its best. Adaptogens are plant compounds that help the body cope with stress, and promote balance and wellness. Sound similar? The medicinal properties of CBD mimic the effects that adaptogenic herbs have on your adrenals and immune system, both of which play an integral role in your body’s ability to stay healthy, fight disease and manage stress. Let’s take a closer look at how these plant compounds can work together to strengthen the body.

What Are Adaptogens?

Adaptogens are plants that support the adrenal system. They help the body cope with stress and promote normal function by regulating hormonal balance. The benefits of adaptogens are numerous. They have an anti-fatigue effect that increases attention and cognitive function, even during periods of mental exhaustion and stress. Further research shows positive effects on immunity, brain health and sleep cycles while also reducing inflammation. They can also improve the appearance of our hair, skin and nails.

Some of the most commonly known adaptogens include ginseng, ashwagandha, matcha and medicinal mushrooms such as maitake and cordyceps. They help create and maintain homeostasis in the body, continually working to regulate systems to calm or energize as needed. In other words, they help the body adapt to various stressors.

What Are the Benefits of CBD Oil?

CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for regulating bodily functions like appetite, mood, sleep and immunity. CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning users can glean the medical benefits without feeling impaired or foggy.

Like adaptogens, CBD helps to maintain homeostasis in the body. It can help boost focus and clarity, or have a relaxing effect. There are many health benefits of CBD oil including decreased anxiety, more restful sleep, lower blood pressure and relief from pain and inflammation.

How to Take Adaptogens

Unfortunately, most people cannot stomach the taste of adaptogens on their own. Powdered adaptogens can be added to smoothies, cereal and other foods for maximum palatability. They are also available in capsule form or tinctures.

There are some synergistic adaptogen blends that contain CBD — but, when starting out, it is best to try adaptogens individually to note how each affects your body. The general rule is to allow three to nine months for adaptogens to take their full effect.

While cannabis is not officially classified as an adaptogen, it meets all of the criteria of being a nontoxic, natural plant that has a stress-reducing effect on the body. Because CBD and adaptogens work similarly, there is potential that they boost or enhance the effects of the other when taken in combination. Pair the relaxing, anti-anxiety effects of CBD with various adaptogens to boost their effects and reap the medical benefits of each.

Jacquelyn Nause is a contributing writer with specialties in cannabis, real estate and wellness. She enjoys traveling with her husband, being a doting mother to her two incredible kids and enjoying the beautiful Pacific Northwest playground.


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  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3991026/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3991026/
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  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569602/
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