What Does CBD REALLY Do to the Body?

What Does CBD Do?

There’s little debate that CBD may work wonders for the body, especially for people who are grappling with mental stress, body aches, poor sleep, anxious thoughts and feelings, a foul mood, excessive hunger, accelerated aging, and more.

Along those lines, in the first piece in this series on the ancient healing plant that is hemp, we covered the top surprising health benefits of CBD, which leads us to the questions how it works and why it works so darn well for certain people.

As a matter of fact, whenever it comes to CBD, one of the most common questions I get from my clients and online followers is: What does CBD do to the body? And what a profound, important question it is. So, let’s dive in…

What is CBD? And Why It’s Different From Marijuana

First, before we go into what CBD does in your body, let’s define what CBD—and its source, hemp—is. Because even with all the media hype, you might still be needing a little more information on this 10,000-year-old plant.

CBD stands for cannabidiol, and it is the most prevalent active phytocannabinoid in the hemp plant. This compound occurs naturally in hemp, and hemp-derived CBD extracts are used in oils and edibles to help, among other benefits, impart feelings of relaxation and calm.

Before going any further, let me make this point abundantly clear: No, CBD does not get you high. CBD is not psychoactive. A separate phytocannabinoid called THC is responsible for the “high” feeling people experience when they consume marijuana, which is a totally different animal than hemp.

Hemp, naturally and by law, contains only very, very small amounts of THC—no more than 0.3%. Practically speaking, that means hemp contains about 100 times less THC than marijuana, which is cultivated specifically for THC. While they are both phytocannabinoids, the difference between CBD and THC is night and day.

This is one of the big characteristics that sets hemp apart and why hemp-derived CBD is getting so much attention. In fact, I’ve seen everyone from grandmothers to young adults use this ancient botanical safely to help their bodies without the intoxicating, addicting, high feeling that comes with marijuana and THC.

Now, the jury is still out on some conditions, but when you do an online search, you will find many men and women across the world using hemp-derived CBD for:

  • Headaches
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Neuropathic pain management
  • Managing stress and anxious thoughts and feelings
  • Symptoms of depression

In fact, a recent study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry, researchers found that CBD reduced anxiety, stress hormones, and heart rate. What’s more, it dampened cravings for dangerous, addictive substances of abuse. 1

That’s exciting for those suffering without anywhere to turn!

Why Real CBD is a Health Breakthrough

Of course, I’m not the only healthcare professional to recommend CBD. CNN Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has given his ringing endorsement of CBD as well. “I think there is legitimate medicine here. We’re talking about something that could really help people.”

(Of course, we’re referring to only pure, tested forms of CBD. When it comes to the wild, wild west of the CBD, buyer beware! The market is flooded with counterfeits and scams, and in the next installment of this series, I’ll reveal how to make sure you’re getting real CBD—not some fake imposter that could actually be harmful.)

The truth is, in all my years as a healthcare practitioner, working with thousands of clients ages 8 to 88, I’ve never seen a breakthrough quite like CBD. (And truth be told, I think we’re just on the brink of understanding the vast healing potential of the hemp plant, which has quite a bit more to offer than just CBD.)

So many people have been helped in a short amount of time.

What many people don’t know is why CBD works so well for people. You see, hemp holds a treasure trove of phytonutrients—from phytocannabinoids to terpenes to flavonoids, over 100 have been discovered, and there’s certain to be even more—which can help provide health benefits for those struggling with:

  • Mental stress
  • Body pain
  • Excessive hunger
  • Poor sleep

But what does CBD do in your body?

What is the Endocannabinoid System

Here’s a quick backstory on CBD that shows why everyone is now buzzing so much about this herbal remedy. In the 1990s, a team of medical researchers at St. Louis University uncovered a hidden signaling network in the human brain and throughout the body. 2

This network is called the endocannabinoid system (or ECS for short).

This formerly unknown system reaches all parts of your body, kind of like how cell towers connect cell phones from all over the country. Simply put, the primary role of your ECS is to regulate pleasure, energy, mental well-being, pain, immunity, and inflammation.

Wherever your body is agitated, your ECS network works to get it back in balance. And when your body is sick, your ECS helps bring it back to health—no matter if that’s anxious thoughts…difficulty sleeping…accelerated aging…or physical pain in your joints, back, or anywhere else in the body.

Now, here is the amazing part of this discovery: your body produces its own version of cannabinoids like CBD that stimulate the ECS network to keep you in balance.

Okay, so why do you need to take CBD if it’s already in your body?

The problem is today’s society. 3

We live crazy-busy lives that use up our body’s limited supply of internal CBD, leaving us deficient like a car without gasoline. Even more, we don’t eat the right foods to naturally nourish our ECS and fill up our internal CBD tanks. That’s when things don’t seem to work right anymore and:

  • You feel aches and pains
  • A foul mood sneaks up on you
  • You have trouble falling asleep
  • You feel hungry all the time and gain weight
  • Anxious thoughts take over your mind
  • You age faster

This is where CBD comes into play, as research has revealed that consuming CBD from hemp refuels your empty tanks that get depleted from the hustle and bustle of life.

Bear with me as we take a little deeper dive.

What CBD Does to the Body?

You see, CBD acts like a key that fits into ECS-specific locks called CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are found in every part of your body, including the brain, immune system, cardiovascular system, endocrine glands, and reproductive organs. Unlocking these receptors means unlocking all the body-balancing benefits the ECS offers.

That’s why many health-care practitioners are referring to CBD as the closest thing we have to the fountain of youth.

Pretty amazing: this ancient botanical extract was perfectly designed to work with your body! Even Dr. Sanjay Gupta said, “We evolved as a species to have access to this natural plant.”

Instead of potentially dangerous, addictive alternatives like opioids and sleeping pills, why not try CBD for yourself to see how YOUR body responds to an ancient botanical that Mother Nature designed to work in harmony with your body?

Once the ECS-specific keyholes are unlocked, the ECS is free to activate a cascade of healthy results. After all, your ECS helps regulate…

  • The Nervous System (including neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.)
  • Mood
  • Memory
  • Stress response
  • Pain sensation
  • Sexual pleasure
  • The Digestive System
  • Immune function
  • Inflammatory response
  • Sleep
  • Skin health
  • Fertility
  • Bone and joint health
  • Thermoregulation
  • And more, including appetite and metabolism.

Yes, it’s true. Certain forms of CBD extracts—like a full-spectrum, hemp-derived CBD oil that’s rich in phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids—can help balance the ECS, naturally taming an overactive appetite, which can lead to weight loss.3,4

When it comes to better sleep, CBD has positive effects on that, too, which helps with appetite. I don’t know about you, but when I don’t get good sleep, I end up exhausted and make bad food choices, which leads to weight gain.

In addition, certain compounds found in full-spectrum, hemp-derived, CBD-rich extracts may also help increase calorie burn and by transforming fat to fuel. 5

Long story short, CBD (and its hemp-derived phytochemical partners) can work wonders to help balance the ECS, which can be problematic when deficient and when overactive. But that’s not the only way CBD flexes its body-balancing muscle. In fact, researchers speculate that CBD may work on dozens of different molecular targets in the body to help produce its range of effects. 6

I admit the following is a little scientific, but the point is not to overwhelm. It’s simply to highlight the powerful potential of hemp-derived CBD.

  • CBD acts on the 5-HT1A receptor, which is the same receptor activated by the well-known “feel-good” compound serotonin.
  • CBD also activates TRPV1, which is a primary target for pain modulation.
  • CBD also acts on adenosine A1 receptors, which play a role in regulating the body’s inflammatory response, immune system, and sleep.
  • CBD also enhances the activity of GABA and glycine receptors, which are two of the body’s most important relaxing neurotransmitters.

But You MUST Avoid Fake CBD Supplements

The amazing healing properties of CBD and hemp’s other phytocannabinoids and terpenes, which all interact with your ECS, bring a lot to the table. CBD has the potential to work wonders for the body by naturally working with and helping balance the ECS, arguably the body’s most important system. Not only was this ancient botanical perfectly designed to work with the body, its cannabinoids—such as CBD—are the very compounds that led to the discovery and naming of the ECS.

However, along with the good comes the bad, and in the next installment in this series, I’ll help you navigate the wild, wild west of fake CBDs by revealing exactly how to know if you’re getting real CBD.


  • 1. Hurd YL, Spriggs S, Alishayev J, et al. Cannabidiol for the reduction of cue-induced craving and anxiety in drug-abstinent individuals with heroin use disorder: A double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial. Am J Psychiatry. May 2019:appiajp201918101191. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2019.18101191
  • 2. Alger BE. Getting high on the endocannabinoid system. Cerebrum Dana Forum Brain Sci. 2013;2013.
  • 3. McPartland JM, Guy GW, Di Marzo V. Care and feeding of the endocannabinoid system: A systematic review of potential clinical interventions that upregulate the endocannabinoid system. PLoS ONE. 2014;9(3). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0089566
  • 4. Pertwee RG. The diverse CB1 and CB2 receptor pharmacology of three plant cannabinoids: Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabivarin. Br J Pharmacol. 2008;153(2):199-215. doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0707442
  • 5. Rossi F, Punzo F, Umano GR, Argenziano M, Miraglia Del Giudice E. Role of cannabinoids in obesity. Int J Mol Sci. 2018;19(9). doi:10.3390/ijms19092690
  • 6. Ibeas Bih C, Chen T, Nunn AVW, Bazelot M, Dallas M, Whalley BJ. Molecular targets of cannabidiol in neurological disorders. Neurotherapeutics. 2015;12(4):699-730. doi:10.1007/s13311-015-0377-3