CBD is the word on everyone’s lips and it’s something we’re excited to be talking about in our upcoming CBD and women’s health event on the 27th November: ‘ CBD and Women’s Health: A Woman’s Guide to CBD’.
So we thought we’d give you a little taste into what our event is all about and we’re excited to share this great piece by Zinmar Adkin – a cannabis marketing consultant and founder of CBD wellness platform ‘Roll with Z’ @Rollwithz – breaking down what CBD is and how it could work for you. Come and join us at our upcoming event to meet her, find out more here!
2019 has been an epic year for ‘Cannabidiol’ AKA CBD, the cannabis based wellness product that’s been sweeping the entire globe. Jennifer Aniston claims “CBD helps with pain, stress, and anxiety,” Kim Kardashian featured a whole CBD themed goody bag and even the ice-cream manufacturer Ben & Jerry’s announced they were working on a new ice cream for their customers, containing yes you guessed it, CBD!
Seemingly overnight, CBD is available as a shot in our coffee, or infused into our brunch or smothered onto our skin and has been hailed as the ‘cure all’ one stop shop. The global ‘Green Rush’ is on and there is no sign of it slowing down.
CBD is the first cannabinoid amongst many more which is helping revolutionise our idea of healthcare and wellness as we know it. Investors agree and predict it will be worth more than $16 billion by 2025.* Some would say this is an inflated figure, but given the trajectory of CBD sales on a global basis, many would say
that it is not. People are finding that CBD can improve the quality of their everyday life in areas of pain, anxiety, depression and more. The science behind WHY CBD works is complex – but once you discover the ins and outs, you may agree that this is one of modern science’s greatest discoveries.
What is CBD and what is it made of?
“CBD is short for ‘Cannabidiol’. It’s just one of over 100 chemical compounds called ‘cannabinoids’ which are found naturally in both cannabis sativa and hemp plants. CBD has all the therapeutic benefits of the cannabis sativa plant but without the ‘associated high’.
The cannabinoid that IS associated with the ‘high’ is called ‘Tetrahydrocannabinol’ (THC). Although stigma around THC usage is still very high in the UK (THC is still considered the ‘Big Bad Wolf’), globally incannabinoid medicine, its reputation is different as it is more understood for its medicinal properties.
CBD however, is the ‘darling’ of the medical cannabis world due to its vast range of health benefits without the associated intoxicating effects. It has been used for a variety of health and wellness benefits, most commonly pain and anxiety. Hemp and Cannabis have been used to treat pain as far back as 2900 BC – even Queen Elizabeth I used it personally for menstrual cramps as administered by her doctor. In order to defeat the might of the Spanish Armada, she farmed over 10,000 acres of hemp to make enough sail, rope and cloth for the British fleet ahead of the battle, which was won. Hemp strategically helped us gain freedom and is a rich part of UK heritage. In the decades after, hemp was heavily farmed all over the world – it was hailed in the 1930’s as ‘The billion dollar crop’. Even Henry Ford’s first car was (partly) made from industrial hemp.
“Why use up the forests which were centuries in the making if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products in the annual growth of hemp fields?” Henry Ford
It beggars belief to think of the world we could have been living in today – we would have had 90 odd years of utilising and innovating hemp for thousands of sustainable purposes!
But the world’s relationship with hemp and cannabis was about to turn from being a positive one – to a heavily negative one that would ruin the lives of millions and damage the planet to almost beyond repair.
Cannabis would undergo a 70 period of prohibition, a racially driven war on drugs which ended millions of lives and destroyed even more families. But during this time, one scientist decided that it was time we knew more about this plant.
The science behind CBD
“The Endocannabinoid System is very important. Almost all illnesses we have are linked to it in some way or another.” Professor Raphael Mechoulam
In the 1960’s, a scientist named Raphael Mechoulam discovered how to isolate the THC cannabinoid found in cannabis and hemp plants – and whilst doing so discovered the plant had a huge range of them – over 113 in fact (so far), all with their own remarkable set of natural benefits. He discovered THC to be the only compound with this effect and was the first person to successfully isolate it. It was this discovery that led to the discovery of ‘Anandamide’ (the bliss molecule associated with runners high), a molecule that helped us understand that our human bodies have their own way of producing natural cannabinoids which then led to the discovery of the ‘Endocannabinoid System’ (more on that below!).
The link below is from a documentary called ‘The Scientist’ – a must watch for anyone interested in CBD as it details the discovery of THC and also of the first endocannabinoid called ‘Anandamide’ (the bliss molecule that we know as a ‘runners high’). The documentary is full of humourous anecdotes and narrated by the softly spoken scientist himself and is perfect for sharing with adult family friends and family.
Introducing ‘Homeostasis’ – your body’s Zen
In this modern age we seem to be on a constant search for ‘happiness and health’, to restore our ‘balance and wellbeing’, whatever that is. But what does ‘healthy’ actually mean? As women we have struggled with the media portrayal of an often distorted idea of what ‘healthy’. All this time, we have been unaware that the answer is inside us, and it’s called ‘Homeostasis’.
Homeostasis is your body’s effort to create your ‘ultimate state of happy equilibrium’ (like your own Yin and Yang). It is ‘the state of steady internal physical and chemical conditions maintained by living systems’. This includes balance of your brain functions as well as your bodily functions, so when we think about achieving balance in our health – ‘homeostasis’ is the state our bodies are naturally trying to achieve. To gain this level of balance in all of our systems means true health.
So what does it take to get to this blissful, balanced state – and how can CBD help to get us there?
Say hello to your new BF – your ‘Endocannabanoid System’.
There is one system that goes hand in hand with your bodies ability to achieve ‘homeostasis’ and it’s probably the most important system we did not learn about in Biology – the ‘Endogenous Cannabinoid System’ (often called the ‘Endocannabinoid system’ or ‘ECS’). Imagine a ‘master control room’ of systems, one system that helps regulate many and voila, you have your ECS. It’s your internal aptonegenic.
The endocannabinoid system is your bodies control system for a variety of physiological and cognitive processes including fertility, appetite, pain-sensation, mood, for memory, and also for mediating the pharmacological effects of cannabis. The ECS is responsible for managing the following aspects to our
physiological functions: Appetite and metabolism, Digestion, Immune function and Inflammatory response, Stress/Mood, Sleep and circadian rhythm, Reproduction/fertility, Motor control, Temperature/Regulation, Memory, Pain, Pleasure/Reward, bone health, skin health, arterial and respiratory health
Because the ECS is so integral to our bodily functions – when we nourish it, it can work over most of the vital areas of our health and wellbeing. Which may explain why people have found it so efficacious.
The most comprehensive explanation of CBD is from a video made by Asher Milgrom, PhD in which he details how the Endocannabinoid system works towards helping our bodies establish the ‘homeostasis’ it seeks.
This video is perfect for anyone wishing to understand their own bodies and how CBD works within it.
How women are breaking the Grass Ceiling
So we’ve looked at what CBD is and a little bit of how it works – now let’s take a look at how why this industry is relevant for women. Overseas, women are rising higher in the legal cannabis industry than any other in existence – currently 27% of companies are female founded or led by women. Because it’s relatively new, the cannabis industry is a more progressive space than most industries. This figure however used to be 35% in 2015 – sadly within a matter of three years we have lost a critical 8%. Luckily, the women entering this industry are determined and helping to changing the image of weed, designing a new aesthetic which is taking cannabis away from the grungey ‘head shops’.
I’ve met women who are carving out their own spaces in this industry as CBD leaders in skincare, drinks, edibles, cosmetics and even CBD infused tampons (to help ease period pains and symptoms of endometriosis). And there’s more – there are specialist cannabis; creatives, influencers, third generation plant growers, chefs, doctors, patient advocates and lobbyists, ‘budtenders’, clinic managers, lawyers, head-hunters – many being the founders of companies which have literally bloomed in the past year. The secret of their success is a clear shared purpose to heal patients, creating safe quality products that work. The desire to dominate is replaced with creative collaboration and the courage to fight stigmas with authentic voices.
“There’s this industry for us and what we call ‘breaking the grass ceiling.’ That there’s a whole culture of women that are harbouring and snowballing this awesome effect of this billion-dollar sector that is the cannabis industry, not being dominated by men.” Ashley Reynolds,President Elmore Therapeutics, Vermont
Women are natural carers as well as savvy entrepreneurs. Mix that with an emerging market in the wellness sector and it’s the perfect combination.
This wellness space is full of opportunity for meaningful careers in an industry that’s both extremely rewarding and also suited well for women. Most of all, it’s the perfect opportunity to put the compassion, consciousness and sustainability we would like to see in the world into a brand new industry that will be transforming changing our future.
Now you have a little more of the context of CBD and how it came about to be in our world, and next time we will delve more into the practicalities of its use and benefits – how to dose, delivery methods and also how to identify a quality product.
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little more about CBD and how cannabinoids work with our bodies! CBD is changing the quality of life for millions in need, it’s here to stay and the discovery of our endocannabinoid system is so vital I believe its important learning for the health of ourselves and also our loved ones.
* Article source: Cowen & Co Investment Bank 2019
‘Women in cannabis are ‘Breaking the Grass Ceiling’
‘Women are trying CBD more than men’:
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