Cannabinoids have been used for millennia to help people achieve physical and mental wellness. The herbalists of the past may not have known exactly how the hemp plant worked in the body, but they knew it made people feel better – with less pain and a more balanced mood. As a sexual health and wellness brand that creates hemp-based formulas for vibrant wellbeing both in and out of the bedroom, we view our role today as a continuation of that tradition – call it a 4,000-year-old fad, with modern science to support what our ancestors always knew.
And they were right. CBD really is a remarkable substance, with wide-ranging applications for mental and physical health. To celebrate the launch of Tonic Flavors – our bestselling Wellness Tonic with CBD, now available in all-natural, all-organic and delicious Double Mint and Blood Orange – we’ve rounded up our favorite fascinating, surprising, and above all useful information about what CBD can do for you, whether you’re looking for a great time in the bedroom or just a little gentle help in coping with chaotic times – or both!
The Roots: Your Endocannabinoid System
CBD has proven pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and antioxidant properties. Even though it might sound too good to be true, there’s a great deal of solid scientific research that shows the complex ways CBD interacts with the body, promoting balance and improved functioning across multiple systems. But how exactly does CBD work, and what mechanisms lead to its effects?
The answer lies in a recently-discovered, but essential, component of human biology – the endocannabinoid system. An ancient network of biochemical pathways that we share with a host of other animals, from mammals to birds to sea urchins, the ECS plays a foundational role in promoting homeostasis – the stable internal environment that the body needs to stay healthy and well.
It turns out that our bodies naturally produce endocannabinoids – chemicals that are strikingly similar to the phytocannabinoids in hemp and other plants (some of which can be found in our multibotanical formulas!) Our native endocannabinoids are essential to many different physiological and neurological mechanisms, including perception of pain, inflammation, appetite, mood, metabolism, and the stress response.
And CBD helps to modulate endocannabinoid production – preventing our bodies from overproducing or underproducing those essential chemicals, promoting all-important internal balance.
CBD, Stress and Anxiety
“Balance” doesn’t only refer to physical processes, of course. It can also describe a manageable emotional state, with stress and anxiety diminished (sometimes difficult to imagine in this day and age!), deeper, more restful sleep, and all our mental and emotional resources available to us as we adapt to changing times and provide for the many needs of our daily lives.
“Stress” is so commonly perceived as negative that it’s hard to see it as beneficial in any way. However the human stress response, and even acute anxiety, evolved to be useful – priming the mind and body for making quick, potentially life-saving decisions when faced with danger or pain. Problems arise when we’re stuck in “survival mode” with no way out for long periods of time, and chronic stress can damage our physical and mental health.
CBD can help to mitigate the effects of stress and anxiety by modulating the neurotransmitters that play a role in the human stress response. It binds to serotonin receptors that are thought to play a primary role in maintaining calm, may encourage neural regeneration in parts of the brain that can become damaged by chronic stress, and can even help us to “unlearn” the anxiety triggers that often keep us in a spiral of panic. Read more about CBD and anxiety here!
CBD and Your Microbiome
Every day, we’re learning more about how our gut health affects our wellbeing. It might be a little creepy to think about, but human bodies are teeming with microorganisms that depend on us to survive – as we depend on them to be well. Our microbiome – comprising the millions upon millions of nonhuman bacteria that consider us their universe – evolved alongside us, and we need it to be healthy as much as it needs us.
The majority of our friendly microscopic tenants live in our digestive tract, and they interact with our bodies in complex and fascinating ways. The gut is also home to a great concentration of ECS receptors, creating uncountable links between native endocannabinoids, gut, and brain, and playing a vital role in functions from inflammation to digestion and even mood. Since CBD helps to promote homeostasis in general, a daily CBD supplement can help provide a nurturing environment for our tiny, ancient hitchhikers. Read more about CBD and your microbiome here.
CBD and Sex
Our sexual selves aren’t separate from the rest of our beings. Healthy intimacy, with ourselves and with our partners, is necessary for social animals like humans to be happy and content, and sexual intimacy in particular is a critical component of human connection.
Unfortunately, when the chips are down and stress and anxiety loom large, sex is often the first thing to be shunted to the side. Sexual anxiety is a serious problem for many, and can lead to erectile dysfunction, anorgasmia, and even physical pain. Anxiety about sex can make chronic pain conditions like vaginismus worse, and it can heavily impact our relationships even if pain isn’t a factor for us.
CBD can be very effective when used as a component of a topical, easing inflammation and improving bloodflow to our sensitive parts. But taken as a daily supplement, it can also provide essential support for our most sensitive part – and largest sex organ – our minds, mitigating anxiety and helping us unlearn the stress triggers that can take us out of our bodies and farther away from healthy sexual intimacy. Read more about CBD and sex here.
CBD and Right Now
At the time of this writing, most of us need all the help we can get. Coping with our everyday obligations as well as the ongoing chaos of global events is a tall order, and many people are struggling.
There’s no magic bullet for what ails us. 2020 may have taught us that we can’t rely on Fate; fixing our collective problems will take collective effort, on the part of all of us. All we can do is the best we can, on a micro- and macro-scale, and to care for others, we must first care for ourselves.
When we set out to improve our lives and the lives of our communities, it helps to have all possible tools readily to hand – and one of those tools may just come from a humble plant and a wellness tradition thousands of years old, as we strive to remain well, healthy and strong for ourselves, our loved ones, and our precious earth.
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