What are the benefits of CBD for women's health?
What if you could find a plant-derived substance that has the potential to support your overall health and well-being on a cellular level to effect real, positive change in the way your brain and body functions? Sounds too good to be true, right? And yet there is such a substance, found in nature and identified and studied by scientists. Its full name is cannabidiol, and we call it CBD.
What Is CBD?
CBD is a naturally occurring compound found in cannabis. When we talk about CBD, the first and most important thing to note is that CBD is not the substance found in cannabis that can give you a “high.” If the first thing you think about when you hear the word “cannabis” is “marijuana,” you’re not wrong, but there’s so much more to this amazing plant than that.
CBD is one of 113 identified phytocannabinoids found in cannabis. Among the other 112 is tetrahydrocannibinol, commonly referred to as THC, and that is the cannabinoid that can give us a temporary, mind-altering “high.” When you think of the potential effects of marijuana, it is THC that produces those effects. Without the THC, you cannot get high. Industrial hemp, a type of cannabis federally legal in the United States since 2018, has less than 0.3 percent THC. When we talk about CBD and WOO’s CBD products and supplements, we derive the CBD from hemp.
Why CBD, and why now?
It’s true: the availability and use of CBD has grown exponentially over the past few years in the United States. The reason begins with the Agricultural Act of 2014—also referred to as the “Farm Bill” —a piece of legislation that didn’t fall on the radar for most Americans. With this Farm Bill, cannabis containing less than 0.3 percent THC was given a new classification. The 2014 Farm Bill classified this CBD-rich version of the cannabis plant as “industrial hemp.”
That was the first step, because even with this important distinction, the production of industrial hemp was still strictly regulated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). That changed with the 2018 Farm Bill, which made two key changes to the previous act. First, industrial hemp was removed from the controlled substances list, which also removed DEA regulation. Second, the 2018 Farm bill legalized the production of industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity. For the first time, farmers could grow hemp without strict government oversight.
But an increase in hemp farmers and the production of CBD doesn’t tell the whole tale. CBD products are not only readily available now, they are almost unavoidable. You can’t go to a drugstore and pick out something as simple as a hand lotion without seeing a version with added CBD. Why is it so popular? The simple answer is that people who use CBD regularly find that it’s effective.
What Can CBD Do?
CBD is a cannabinoid. We call it a “phytocannabinoid” because it is plant-derived, and “phyto-” means “of a plant.” It’s an important distinction, because our body already makes its own cannabinoids. Surprised? Our bodies have an entire system regulated by cannabinoids, named by the scientists who discovered it as the Endocannabinoid System, or ECS for short. We use the word “endocannabinoid” because “endo-” means “internal,” and these are the cannabinoids we make on our own.
Scientific research reveals that the ECS is a powerful system that impacts major functions in our daily lives like mood, sleep, and how we handle stress. But we don’t always produce enough endocannabinoids on our own. Think of CBD as a plant-derived cannabinoid that can assist the function of our ECS by supporting those areas that may be deficient.
Bringing our ECS into balance is only the start. Consider this: the ECS is integrated on a cellular level throughout our entire body, and researchers continue to identify the ways CBD helps our cells communicate with each other. So far, CBD has been found to soothe discomfort, fight free radicals, and support brain health. Early studies also suggest that CBD may impact blood pressure, cell growth, and pain perception. The more we research CBD, the more potential benefits are uncovered.
Knowing all that’s possible, the question changes from “Why CBD?” to “Why not CBD?”
Our brains are constantly sending signals. It may signal, “I’m hungry,” or “Ouch!”, or “I’m feeling sad today.” These signals go back and forth throughout our bodies constantly, all due to activity going on at locations as small as a single cell in your body. And the Endocannabinoid System—the ECS—is involved in it all.
The ECS was first discovered by scientists in the 1990s, and there are four major components of this system that work together:
- Cannabinoid Receptor: think of this as an information-seeking unit located on the surface of a cell. As a “receptor,” it wants to “receive” information in order to tell that cell how to function. Cannabinoid Receptors are found not only in the brain, but throughout the body as well, in our organs, in our skin, and in our central nervous system.
- Endocannabinoids: cannabinoid receptors are seeking information, and endocannabinoids are the molecules that provide it. Endocannabinoids bind to cannabinoid receptors in a foundational process that helps our cells know when to activate, when to work together, and when to calm down.
- Metabolic Enzymes: a special protein that helps our bodies by both creating the endocannabinoids we need and breaking them down when their job is done.
- Fatty Acid Binding Proteins: these are the molecules that help our endocannabinoids move throughout the body.
When you see how the ECS functions, you can see right away that any area where our endocannabinoid production is failing, we are going to run into some trouble. Without the proper levels of endocannabinoids, we have cannabinoid receptors without the information they need. This is where CBD—a plant-derived cannabinoid—can step in to help us. By acting in the same way that our endocannabinoids act, CBD has the potential to improve a whole host of processes within our body.
Which Product Is Right For You?
We all have different bodies and our reasons for taking CBD may be different as well, so finding your ideal form of dosing may take some experimentation. Here are a few tips that can help you get started:
- Softgels and Gummies: these types of doses are swallowed and the CBD is absorbed through the digestive system. The benefit of this method is that the CBD is widely distributed throughout the body and has a long sustained effect. The potential downside is that it takes longer to go into effect (think 1 to 2 hours), so it’s not your delivery source for fast relief. Still, these formulas are a popular choice because softgels and gummies are very easy to take.
- Drops: our drops are a tincture that is most effective when held under the tongue for one minute before swallowing. This delivery method allows the tincture to be directly absorbed by the blood vessels under the tongue. The benefit of this method is that it provides fast relief, with onset in as little as 15 minutes. Some may also find this dosing is more effective, because absorption into the bloodstream means less gets broken down by the digestive system. However, while we think our mint-flavored drops taste great, some may not like the taste or may dislike holding the drops under the tongue.
- Topicals: this is a cream applied directly to the skin. With this delivery method, CBD primarily engages receptors within the epidermis and does not enter the bloodstream directly. It can provide rapid relief for conditions like sore muscles and joints.
Why Women Only?
Both women and men have an endocannabinoid system (ECS), the system that works to bring balance to our body functions. But emerging research suggests that supporting the ECS can have a significant impact on conditions that particularly affect women. We already know that the ECS is involved in the female reproductive system. With every new study, we learn a little bit more about the potential of CBD in relation to specific concerns that impact women everywhere.
There are many options when it comes to CBD. What sets WOO apart is our mission, driven by the experience of an OBGYN whose long-held goal has always been to educate and empower women to make informed choices about their health. WOO meets women on their own terms by first providing access to the information they need. Then, when it is the right time for a woman to uncover the potential of CBD in her life, we provide high-quality CBD products and support for every step to come.