If you’re joining us here on ZenBears News, you’ve no doubt heard of CBD gummies. These chewy sweets are infused with all the benefits of CBD, and all the tasty goodness of your favourite bears. But how exactly do CBD gummies work? First, here’s a quick recap on CBD.
What is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid found in the hemp plant. Hemp contains around 120 cannabinoids altogether, along with hundreds of other phytochemicals (“phyto” = plant) like fatty acids, vitamins, terpenes and flavonoids.
How are CBD gummies made?
To make CBD gummies, you’d start by extracting oil from the hemp plant.
When it’s first extracted, hemp oil contains all of the plant’s natural phytochemicals, including CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the chemical that gets you “high” when you use cannabis, but hemp contains very low amounts.
For full-spectrum gummies, you’d leave the oil as it is. This delivers what we call the “entourage effect”, where the individual ingredients amplify each other’s effects. In other words, the oil is more powerful than the sum of its parts.
For broad-spectrum gummies, you’d take out just the THC. Even though CBD gummies don’t have enough THC to get you high, some people would rather avoid it altogether. This way, they can still get the entourage effect without the THC.
And finally, you could extract just the CBD and nothing else to make pure CBD isolate gummies. This is a popular option for gummies because the powdered isolate is easier to blend, but of course you wouldn’t get the entourage effect.
Next, you’d blend your CBD product with gelatin or pectin to make it “gummy”. Then you’d add ingredients like:
- Sugar, glucose or syrup.
- Citric acid (to stabilise).
- Flavourings (we use fruit juice).
Alternatively, you could make your gummies and then “coat” them with CBD. (That’s how we make ZenBears!).
Can you get vegan CBD gummies?
Yes! Gelatin is an animal product so it’s not suitable for vegans and some vegetarians. That’s why we make ZenBears with pectin, a plant-based compound that creates the same jelly-like texture.
So how do CBD gummies work?
Ok, so now you know how ZenBears and other CBD gummies are made. But how exactly do they work? Hold on, it’s about to get science-y…
Your body has a system called the endocannabinoid system, or the ECS. We didn’t even discover it until the 90s, and we’re still learning about how it works, but we know it’s one of the most complex and important systems in the body.
One of the main jobs of the ECS is to keep your body in a state of balance. It helps to regulate things like sleep, immunity, mood, memory, appetite, nerve health and reproduction, to name just a few.
The ECS does its job with the help of endocannabinoids. These chemical messengers travel around the body and bind to endocannabinoid receptors, signalling that the ECS needs to take some form of action to get things back in balance. Then when the job’s done, special enzymes break down the endocannabinoids and get rid of them.
To understand how CBD gummies work, think of endocannabinoids as your own “internal” cannabinoids, each with their own type of receptor, their own special job, and their own “clean-up” enzymes. CBD and THC would be “external” cannabinoids.
When you take an external cannabinoid – i.e. you eat a CBD gummy – it affects your ECS in a similar way to your own internal cannabinoids. It might bind to a receptor or break down an enzyme, with the effect depending on which receptor(s) or enzyme it affects.
THC, for example, attaches to a couple of different receptors. Some of them stimulate natural painkilling and mood-boosting hormones, which is why cannabis makes you feel “high”. Some of them are linked to appetite, which is why you might feel like eating anything that’s not nailed down! (Remember though, CBD gummies don’t have enough THC to create this effect.)
CBD, on the other hand, is a tricky one. We know that it offers some significant health benefits, but we’re not sure how yet.
We know CBD doesn’t bind to the same receptors as THC does, which is why CBD won’t get you high. What we don’t know is: does it bind to some other receptor we haven’t found yet? Or does it prolong the effects of your own endocannabinoids by preventing enzymes from breaking them down? Science is on the case, but for now, we don’t know for certain.
How do you take CBD gummies?
You simply pop a gummy in your mouth, chew, and enjoy!
When you chew a CBD gummy, the CBD is slowly released and begins to absorb into your bloodstream. However, much of the absorption happens after it passes through the liver and the digestive system.
Admittedly, some of the CBD is lost during this process. That means that CBD gummies have a lower “bioavailability” than some other CBD products like oil. However, it does mean that the effects last for longer. CBD gummies also taste much better than oil, and they’re more convenient in lots of ways (you can read more about our CBD oil vs CBD gummies throwdown here!).
Where can I try CBD gummies?
Right here! Our ZenBears are coated with high-quality, broad-spectrum CBD made from only the best organic hemp. With naturally tasty flavours, all-vegan ingredients, and no nasty extras, you can enjoy all the benefits of CBD with none of the health hangovers.