Summer is the time for relaxation and fun- whether you love, or hate, the heat, there's no denying that the summer months can melt away tense muscles, give us an excuse to indulge in swaths of ice cream and allow us to bask in that much-needed vitamin D. Every season has its perks- but, at VAAY, we truly do value the summertime, for more reasons than one.
In some ways, summer represents our health, good mood, and lifted spirits. It allows trees to bloom and animals to come out of hiding. Summer is a time for new beginnings, ensures we get out of the house more, and allows us to shed our layers. In a nutshell, summer represents health, vitality, and cheer. And, if we're keeping it real, summer is also a time for us to take a deep breath, stretch out our limbs and think about our health and wellness in the long term. The warm weather can allow us to take more time to exercise, give us a reason to prioritise socialising with others, and might even be the kick we need to get that 'summer body' back into shape. In other words, why not use this summer as the excuse you need to improve your healthy, holistic, and balanced lifestyle?
With health and vitality at the forefront of our minds (alongside the flowers, sun, and trees in full bloom), we've collated an article's worth of reasons as to why you might want to try some CBD products in the warmer months, to really set your summer off right! CBD can be a handy assistant in potentially improving your health and potentially promoting your immune system into action, and it can also ease anxiety and depression symptoms, and often comes with antioxidants, which may, in turn, restore and centre your spirits, ready for the summer sun.
With all this in mind, let's have a deeper look at why this upcoming summer might be the best excuse to infuse a little CBD into your life.
With the discovery of cannabinoids (chemicals derived from the cannabis plant) and their potential in regulating our systems, came the discovery of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is responsible for regulating a range of vital processes, keeping our body in balance, and may be positively affected when we take CBD supplements. With these discoveries came a stronger level of research on what these cannabinoids might do to impact symptoms of mood disorders, inflammation, and pain-related issues. Compounds like CBD may even help regulate our sleep hygiene, appetite, and libido. Nowadays, there's not much wellness-focused research out there that cannabinoids haven't been involved with in some way or another. This is because cannabinoids, such as CBD, have become so closely tied with health and wellness that it's hard for us to imagine a time when they weren't a significant part of the wellness world. Indeed, many claim that not enough research and effort was put into what cannabinoids can do for us, holistically and therapeutically, until the latest possible moment- we didn't even discover the ECS until the 1940s!
Now, with the benefit of many, many preliminary studies, and an awareness of CBD as a potential daily supplement to improve our quality of life, there's a chance for us to dip our toes into helping the ECS balance our internal processes- and with it, we can finally see how cannabinoids, such as CBD, might help urge these processes along.
The ECS controls metabolic and cognitive processes, alike. This is because the ECS is mainly responsible for monitoring and modulating our central and peripheral nervous systems. It does this via endocannabinoids and ECS receptors, which are dotted around the body. The purpose of endocannabinoids are pretty simple; they're molecules naturally produced by the body which interact with ECS receptors and modulate homeostasis (our body's internal state of balance).
Since major ECS receptors tend to lie in the brain and the gut, you might see why the ECS is responsible for a wealth of different processes. CB1 receptors tend to lie mainly in the central nervous system- so, in the brain and along the spinal column. When triggered into action, CB1 receptors modulate our mental processes such as memory, cognition, appetite, temperature, perception, mood, and much more- including, according to new research, potentially assisting with the modulation of serious neuropsychological and neurodegenerative disorders. With the correct modulation of CB1 receptors, a lot of brain signalling is also regulated- which means the way that neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and GABA (which tend to monitor our perception, mood, and anxiety levels), are also monitored and regulated.
CB2 receptors, on the other hand, tend to moderate our peripheral nervous system, also known as our 'rest and digest' system. This means that CB2 receptors predominantly lie in the gut, spleen, within our immune cells and, in some less concentrated levels, within our bone and liver cells. It is the activation of CB2 receptors which allows us to keep our immune system active, keep our gastrointestinal health active, and balance inflammation symptoms.
Possible CBD Effects on The ECS
CBD, as a cannabinoid, can actually impact the ECS in a similar way to the endocannabinoids produced by the body. When our ECS is unable to balance itself, CBD can come in handy as a therapeutic agent, because it may assist in modulating a lot of our major processes. And, unlike THC (among other cannabinoids), CBD is non-psychoactive- in part because it doesn't actually have a high affinity for CB1 or CB2 receptors, so it tends not to 'flood the system' by binding to all the ECS receptor sites, causing imbalance to occur.
See, instead of causing psychotropic effects by overactive binding to CB1 and CB2 receptors, CBD actually assists the body by promoting higher levels of already-existing endocannabinoids- essentially urging the body to modulate itself, instead of binding to receptors and causing the body to lose all sense of normalcy. In particular, CBD's presence may actually promote higher quantities of two incredibly therapeutic endocannabinoids: 2-AG and anandamide.
2-AG and Anandamide
Anandamide, named after the Sanskrit word for 'bliss' is considered incredibly valuable in uplifting the mood, promoting lower levels of anxiety and producing pain-relieving benefits. 2-AG, with its high affinity for CB1 receptors, also has a massive part to play in protecting our neurons- thereby improving cognition and memory, as well as sharpening perception.
2-AG, the most abundant endocannabinoid, has also been linked to possibly reducing stress, protecting our neurons, and improving cognition, lowering inflammation, improving the mood, assisting with REM sleep (and sleep wellbeing in general) and curbing anxiety. Alongside this, research tells us that 2-AG might also assist, either directly or indirectly, with circulation and cardiovascular health- thereby impacting the chances of stroke or heart disease.
A study conducted on mice might help to prove conclusions regarding how higher levels of 2-AG in the system might help to combat symptoms of PTSD, stress, depression, physical pain, and fear- in the study, the mice's natural 2-AG pathway was purposefully disrupted, and all control factors and variables were accounted for. Researchers discovered that this disruption led to higher levels of fear and anxiety-like behaviours in the mice- telling us that mood and anxiety disorders may have something to do with lower levels of 2-AG in the system.
Not only does anandamide bind to CB1 receptors in the brain, which helps to promote higher levels of feel-good neurotransmitters, such as the rewarding neurotransmitter dopamine and the 'feel-good' compound serotonin, anandamide has also been shown to bind to vanilloid TRPV1 receptors in the brain. When neurotransmitters interact with TRPV1 receptors, this can affect a wealth of therapeutic change- from limiting pain perception, to curbing stress and fear. Other studies tell us that anandamide's affinity for TRPV1 receptors might help to explain why higher levels of this endocannabinoid can produce such a therapeutic, restorative response- which can be explained, in part, because TRPV1 receptors primarily lie in the emotional regions of the brain, such as the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex.
The activation of TRPV1 receptors may also be beneficial for preventing cardiovascular disease, inflammation, and respiratory disorders. The evidence may show that anandamide's affinity for TRPV1 receptors is high, given that when TRPV1 receptors are blocked, anandamide's positive effects on the system decrease significantly, even when levels of the endocannabinoid in the body are high.
Because of this, alongside anandamide's affinity for CB1 receptors in the system, the 'bliss molecule' has been hailed as a behavioural reinforcer- helping to lift mood and enhance cognition and perception. Recent studies have also shown us that higher levels of anandamide in the system may also help to strengthen, and even create, new neurons. This could lead to heightened perception, cognition, and memory- as well as the possibility of protection against neurodegeneration.
CBD's Inhibitory Benefits
So, how exactly may CBD manage to promote higher levels of these two endocannabinoids? Studies show that CBD's presence prevents the enzyme called fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) from reabsorbing and removing) anandamide from the system prematurely. According to some research, this is especially necessary when we're exposed to stressful situations- or alternatively, for those of us unlucky enough to have naturally occurring higher concentrations of FAAH.
Exposure to stress, unhappy situations, or a general predisposition to depression and anxiety can lead to more FAAH activity- which not only decreases levels of the 'bliss molecule' in our systems, but can also stimulate activity in the basolateral amygdala (BLA)- an area of the brain which tends to light up when we feel anxious, stressed, or fearful. In a nutshell, not only do higher levels of CBD help to stimulate and mobilise anandamide in our bodies, but it can also help prevent activity in the regions of our brain which tend to cause perceptions of stress.
Likewise, with 2-AG, CBD may similarly inhibit the activity of another enzyme responsible for degrading 2-AG before it can truly get going. Studies actually show that this enzyme is responsible for metabolising over 85% of 2-AG before it can truly benefit the system. This enzyme is called monoacylglycerol lipase (MGL) - and, with CBD's potential to inhibit the activity of MGL comes a wealth of possible therapeutic benefits.
These may include lowering pain symptom levels and improving tolerance, by allowing further activity of 2-AG to bind to CB1 receptor sites in pain-perceiving areas of the brain and CNS, and, of course (as stated above), limiting the symptoms of mood and anxiety disorders, particularly inhibiting the stress response.
VAAY's CBD-Summer Recommendations
So, we've established some of the major potential benefits of infusing CBD into your lifestyle. But why stop there? One of our favourite things about CBD isn't just the versatile ways it can help you, physically and mentally- we also love the versatile ways that you can take your CBD. There's a CBD method out there for everyone and anyone. Here's some of our favourite summer-friendly ways to take CBD.
Whether you're going for a nice summer walk or a picnic in the park, summer is a time for heading outside and absorbing some of that vitamin D. A CBD vape might just be one of the handiest ways to get your CBD intake without compromising your summer plans. This is because a CBD vape is flavourful, relaxing, fast-acting, and portable- allowing you to go anywhere and everywhere without having to compromise on your wellbeing.
Another beauty of a CBD vape is how very little CBD is wasted when we inhale it into our lungs. This is because, when we inhale CBD, it has the highest bioavailability- this means the most possible CBD enters our bloodstream, with very little being metabolised (as it tends to be when we ingest CBD- due to the CBD having to pass through our digestive system and enter our liver, where it's metabolised by digestive enzymes) before it enters our bloodstream. While every method of taking CBD has its potential benefits and drawbacks (we seriously don't recommend taking CBD by vape if you suffer from weak lungs, asthma, or hay fever- which might well be an issue for many, especially during the summer months) vaping CBD is, by far, the most effective way to get all those possible therapeutic benefits we've talked about.
And, because you might be wondering how a CBD vape is so quick and effective, with results hitting you in as little as an hour after you inhale that first puff, we're here to lay down the science. When we inhale our CBD, we're taking in the cannabidiol in a water-soluble format. In normal circumstances, CBD is hydrophobic- so, when we tend to swallow our CBD, not only does it have to pass through the liver (which could take a while- usually 3-4 hours!) but when the CBD does enter our bloodstream, a lot of it tends to get into our fatty tissues, to hide away from the water in our blood rather than be actively used by the body.
When inhaling our CBD, the cannabidiol in the vapour is already water-soluble, because it's become vapourised- this makes the CBD hydrophilic and more likely to absorb into the bloodstream, to be transported to the ECS. Even better, because our lungs have such a high surface area of permeability, it's relatively quick to get that vapourised CBD into the bloodstream, in order to promote all that anandamide and 2-AG in the body.
When it comes to your summer activities, we can't think of anything better than to go forward with your favourite CBD vape flavours. At VAAY, we have a range of customised vape flavours to choose from, from mint to lemon and even selected fruit, so that you can enjoy all the refreshing flavours of summer while basking in the heat.
While we do recommend consulting with a doctor before choosing to go down the vaping route, if you do feel comfortable, and believe that vaping is the best method for you, it can be a great way to get your daily CBD dose- anywhere you want it! So, if you choose to spend any measure of time outside in the open this summer, you can take your CBD vape with you- to combine all the potential benefits of CBD with all the best parts of summer.
A popular and convenient route for those who want to say away from vapes, or who want to get creative with their summertime recipes, is our CBD oil. Infused with home-grown hemp plant extract, using 100% natural, vegan ingredients (as well as some wonderful terpenes and flavonoids- to promote that 'entourage effect'), our CBD oils are pretty much the perfect way to get your daily dose of CBD in.
One of the best things about summertime can be all the refreshing drinks you can conjure up- from a refreshing spritzer to an iced coffee. The beauty of CBD oil is that it can be added to pretty much any drink, to potentially promote that slow, long-lasting and therapeutic effect as you go about your day.
Unlike vaping, orally ingesting your CBD might not have the best bioavailability- but we don't necessarily see this as a bad thing, since the potential effects of edible CBD can be so long-lasting!
First and foremost, taking your CBD oil mixed with a delicious summertime drink can be a creative, fun way to get your CBD intake. If you like to alternate your dosage, you can put as little or as much CBD oil as you like- it all depends on you on you and what you desire for the day (though we do suggest starting with a low dose and slowly working your way up to a more potent amount before truly experimenting with CBD).
Of course, the best thing about orally taking your CBD is how long cannabidiol remains in your system. According to studies, the 'mean residence time' that CBD can stay in your system is 4.2 hours- which is double the amount of time that CBD's effects stay in your system when you vape. Studies also tell us that, when you eat or drink it, CBD can remain in the system for 6-8 hours.
And, for those of us who don't want to bother with the possible complexities of a vape- vape juice, cartridge, pen and so forth- a simple CBD oil, with alternating concentrations and a slow-burn effect on your system might be a perfect, effortless solution.
While the potential effects of taking your CBD oil might be less intense than if you vape, the payoff is a lot longer and gentler- making CBD oil pretty perfect for newbies or those who want to feel the less intense, slow-curling, always therapeutic possible effects of CBD.
CBD Body Care
If you're wondering if topical CBD can be an effective way of utilising the myriad of benefits that CBD can do for your system, look no further. VAAY's collection of CBD gel, and assortment of body oils can be useful all year round- but especially during summer.
The sun can be as harmful for our skin as it can be refreshing- purely because sun rays carry harmful UV rays. If we're not careful, these UV rays can produce harmful molecules in our skin cells- known as free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules, which, when left unattended, can cause a chain reaction in our skin (and within other systems) to cause something called oxidative stress. Not only can this cause the skin to prematurely age, but it can also lead to severe skin disorders. You might have heard that too much sun can cause issues such as melanoma or skin cancer to develop. This is often down to oxidative stress within the skin cells, resulting in degradation and damage.
How can CBD topicals combat this?
Not only do our body oils and sports gel, ease and relieve tense muscles (since CBD may relieve symptoms of pain and tension, as well as promote relaxation on a physical level- which is great news for the muscles, no matter what season it is) but they also contain potent antioxidants. In fact, any topical CBD product you apply to your skin is likely to be rife with natural, nourishing antioxidants- which are essential for combatting the buildup of free radicals. Antioxidants tend to be incredibly useful for our system, and especially our skin (which is often exposed to UV rays- we can't avoid that, no matter how hard we try!) because they bring balance to unstable free radicals, stabilising them and preventing them from causing harm to other cells.
According to some studies, CBD is such a powerful antioxidant that it is known to potentially increase our body's concentrations of superoxides- which are concentrated, highly effective antioxidants.
Not only this, but CBD may have the power to promote skin healing, ease hyperpigmentation and reduce the amount of sebum that the skin produces- all very useful during hotter months, when acne, sunburn, and generally increased levels of pigmentation tend to affect the skin to a higher degree.
This summer, whether you'll be vaping your CBD in the park or ingesting your CBD in the form of a refreshing piña colada- we, at VAAY, hope you enjoy the hot weather, get some much-needed sun (with plenty of sunscreen and CBD topicals to really impact those pesky free radicals) and, above all, feel relaxed, rejuvenated, and replenished.
With the versatile and therapeutic power of CBD (in whatever form you choose to take it) in your corner... we don't doubt you'll have a great summer!