How does CBD work?

Much is yet to be understood about CBD, including how it works. The current understanding focus on CBD’s interaction with a signaling system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), although more studies are needed to prove this. Here is all you need to know about how CBD works.

CBD is a non-psychoactive component of hemp and marijuana plants and one of the many active compounds in cannabis plants, also called cannabinoids. Many like it and consume it in gummies, vapes, topicals, and oils because it does not make one high as THC does. Although CBD has become many people’s favorite alternative therapy, there is limited research about it. CBD studies are limited, and much is yet to be understood about the cannabinoid. For instance, although many people would like to understand how CBD works, there is no satisfactory answer to this. It is believed that CBD works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) to express its therapeutic effects, although this is yet to be proved by studies. Here is everything you need to know about how CBD works.

Introducing CBD

Although many people have made CBD part of their daily regimen or even an alternative therapy, not every user or fan understands. There is indeed a lot of misinformation about CBD, making it more than necessary to explain what CBD is. According to Bauer (2020), CBD is the non-psychoactive hemp derivative that many take. CBD does not cause the high effect on users, and because Watt & Karl (2017) referred to its therapeutic effects, people take it to improve pain, sleep problems, anxiety, depression, and other challenges, although more studies are needed to prove the claims right. There are many CBD brands in the hemp space, making it more than important to be careful while picking your favorite CBD items.

How Does CBD Work?

Although CBD is growing in the hype day in day out, and people keep embracing it, the question about how it works remains unanswered. Or, it is answered but not to the most satisfactory means. How does CBD work? Many studies, including Chye et al. (2019), believe the human body and other life forms have a signaling system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), comprised of endocannabinoids (internal cannabinoids), receptors, and enzymes. These three components are believed to work in synergy to control the main body functions and processes, including digestion, heat regulation, satiety, and sleep. A small imbalance supposedly disorients the cannabinoid production, and the functions the ECS controls are equally jeopardized. The research shows that external cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, fill in the role of endocannabinoids and set the body in a corrective mechanism mode. It is because of these interactions that CBD is linked to therapeutic effects.

Loopholes in CBD Research

It is worth noting that while the ECS theory and CBD interaction with the signaling system to express the desired effects sound like it, it has many loopholes. For instance, more studies are needed to prove that the ECS indeed exists and that if it is real, it interacts with CBD to set body functions and processes in a corrective mechanism. Besides, the existing studies that ride on the ECS theory are limited in scope and have areas that require further research to uphold the theory. For this reason, we do not recommend CBD for pain, inflammation, anxiety, stress, or depression, although most CBD users have already embraced it for these reasons.

Types of CBD

Many people anticipating taking CBD soon would like to know the different types of CBD to explore. It is worth noting that there are at least three types of CBD to opt for, based on the cannabinoid profiles and the presence or absence of additional compounds like terpenes and flavonoids, which Anand et al. (2021) link to the full entourage or synergistic effects of CBD. You can buy CBD products in the following formulations;

  1. Full-spectrum CBD; has many cannabinoids other than CBD and comprises THC, CBC, CBN, CBT, and many more. Also found here are terpenes and flavonoids, additional cannabis compounds that add to the flavor and taste of CBD.
  2. Isolate-based CBD; features purified CBD without any cannabis compound, whether terpenes, flavonoids, or other cannabinoids.
  3. Broad-spectrum CBD; is more like full-spectrum CBD in composition, but it does not have THC, making it great for those who want to enjoy CBD with additional cannabis compounds but have nothing to do with THC.

Ways of Effectively Taking CBD

If you want to try CBD soon, you might want to know the effective means of administering it. After all, nobody wants to throw his money down the drain for a product that will not work. Here are several ways of taking CBD and ensuring it works, all factors left constant;

  1. Inhalation; you can smoke high-CBD cannabis flowers to benefit from CBD, although this means taking CBD with THC. Alternatively, you can vape CBD, another inhalation technique that quickly sets the CBD into the bloodstream.
  2. Topical application; you can topically apply CBD creams, patches, balms, and serums on the skin to benefit from the cannabinoid. Topical CBD application allows you to take advantage of the cannabinoid without ingesting it into the body, although more studies are needed to prove its efficacy.
  3. Sublingual administration; other than inhaling CBD, the other effective way and the fastest delivery option for CBD into the body is by sublingually administering it. You can opt for CBD oils, tinctures, and drops and drop them under the tongue for maximum bioavailability, although you will have to bear with their bitter taste.
  4. Ingestion; you can ingest CBD capsules and edibles like gummies and mints to mask the bitter taste of CBD oil. They feature flavor and taste, allow you to cover the bitter and earthy CBD taste, and also comfortably enjoy the fruity flavors.


CBD has become many people’s mainstream option, and many take it for pain, inflammation, anxiety, and depression. It is available in different forms, including edibles, tinctures, topicals, and vapes, which have pros and cons. There is much to be understood about CBD, including how it works. The current understanding relies on its interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), although more studies are needed to prove this.


Anand, U., Pacchetti, B., Anand, P., & Sodergren, M. H. (2021). Cannabis-Based Medicines And Pain: A Review Of Potential Synergistic And Entourage Effects. Pain Management11(4), 395-403. Https://Www.Futuremedicine.Com/Doi/Abs/10.2217/Pmt-2020-0110.

Bauer, B. A. (2020). What Are The Benefits Of Cbd–And Is It Safe To Use?. In Mayo Clinic. Https://Www.Mayoclinic.Org/Healthy-Lifestyle/Consumer-Health/Expert-Answers/Is-Cbd-Safe-And-Effective/Faq-204467000

Chye, Y., Christensen, E., Solowij, N., & Yücel, M. (2019). The Endocannabinoid System And Cannabidiol’s Promise For The Treatment Of Substance Use Disorder. Frontiers In Psychiatry, 10, 63. Https://Www.Frontiersin.Org/Articles/10.3389/Fpsyt.2019.00063/Full.

Watt, G., & Karl, T. (2017). In Vivo Evidence For Therapeutic Properties Of Cannabidiol (Cbd) For Alzheimer’s Disease. Frontiers In Pharmacology, 8, 20. Https://Www.Frontiersin.Org/Articles/10.3389/Fphar.2017.00020/Full.


Charlotte Cremers

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