Some of you may still know the song by Stefan Raab: Release the hemp!
This is exactly what has happened since 2018 for a specific isolated molecule from the hemp plant, the so-called cannabiodol, which is said to have adaptogen-like properties. But what exactly can this cannabiodol do for the human organism and how does it work? How can it be differentiated from the mode of action of adaptogenic medicinal plants? Could it be the new super adaptogen to manage stress?
To do this, I would first like to refer to the essential differences in the production of cannabiodol and adaptogenic plant extracts enter.
Cannabiodol, hereinafter referred to as CBD, can only be obtained from the flowers of the female plant, in contrast to the oil of the hemp plant (seed cold pressing). There are various methods of extracting pure CBD as an active ingredient in order to add it to other oils or hemp oil later. This molecule is not to be confused with the THC molecule, which, like CBD, is chemically similar to the body's endocannabinoids, but has intoxicating and psychoactive effects and is therefore subject to the Narcotics Act in Germany. With the extracted CBD, different dosages of the active ingredient CBD can be achieved. The active ingredients in hemp seeds do not fall into the category of adaptogens.
Adaptogenic active ingredients are obtained by processing the roots, seeds, leaves, flowers and fruits of the medicinal plants and fungi in question, i.e. they are not individual “molecules” or biochemical compounds, but a “drug” in the pharmaceutical sense, i.e. a remedy of biological origin in its largely natural form. Adaptogenic plants are distinguished by the fact that they are non-toxic and do not cause side effects, so there is practically no overdose.
Due to their broad-spectrum, non-specific effect, adaptogens can be a valuable help against harmful environmental influences and internal stressors. The preventive and protective effect makes adaptogens attractive for successful stress prevention and stress control. Adaptogens are also characterized by the fact that they can have a stimulating and calming effect at the same time. Adaptogens aim to increase a vital function of the entire organism, the body's resistance to stressors that can cause discomfort and ultimately disease.
Users of CBD oils report a clear relaxation of the limbs, skin and nerves, which usually begins within a few minutes after ingestion. This effect is probably due to the blockage of certain receptors in the brain and throughout the body. The endocannabinoid system is a special part of the human nervous system that reacts in a special way with the plant cannabinoids. CBD occupies nerve receptors, blocking stimulus transmission pathways.
CBD is therefore known for its calming, anti-inflammatory properties - the active ingredient is also considered an anxiolytic, antispasmodic, nausea-reducing and pain-relieving. So far, however, only the positive effect on epilepsy convulsions has been scientifically proven.
Similar to the adaptogen Rhodiola Rosea, CBD also increases dopamine production and thus promotes the feeling of happiness, joy and contentment.
With that conclusion, you might be wondering: now what is the difference between CBD and drugs that increase dopamine production and can be addictive? CBD does not act like a drug and is not addictive. With a correspondingly high dosage, however, CBD must be regarded as a prescription drug and also has correspondingly strong side effects that must be monitored from a medical point of view.
Various studies indicate that, for example, the non-prescription adaptogen Rhodiola Rosea has a positive effect on physical and mental performance as well as on mental illnesses. An important point about adaptogens is that, just like CBD, they are not addictive because they do not belong to the stimulants such as alcohol, coffee or amphetamines and also have no side effects.
How do adaptogens work and how do cannabiodins work in the human organism?
Research on adaptogens has concluded that adaptogens maintain homeostasis by regulating the HPA axis, the hypothal-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis; the system that modulates the body's response to stress, immune function, energy expenditure, mood, emotions, and libido.
The normal paradigm: A remedy for a disease does not apply to adaptogens because they can have numerous pharmacological effects and indications.
Adaptogens work like a permanent stress inoculation by activating stress-induced self-defense mechanisms so that the cells and the organism can adapt in order to mitigate the harmful effects of stress.
A study on this examines these neuroprotective effects of adaptogens 
The endocannabinoid system, the HPA axis and homeostasis
Adaptogens are typically described as regulating homeostasis of the neuroendocrine immune complex - the balance between our central nervous system, hormones and immune system. However, no mention is made of a relationship between adaptogens and the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS—the vast network of cell receptors and natural cannabis-like chemicals that balance all biological functions—was discovered just over twenty years after the term adaptogens was coined.
Some researchers even believe that CBD can also regulate the HPA axis by activating something called 5-HTR1A receptors, resulting in an overall reduction in the effects of acute stress.
Adaptogens and CBD oil in your wellness and beauty routine
As research continues, it is becoming increasingly clear that adaptogens and CBD can complement each other as partners for a holistic, healthy lifestyle. In skin care there are numerous products with CBD oil, adaptogens and their mixtures. You should always pay attention to the ingredients and the manufacturer, especially with CBD oils, many forums point out possible "cheating".
In conclusion, while CBD oil certainly appears to share similar traits with other adaptogens, there is no scientific peer-reviewed work to prove that CBD belongs to the adaptogen class. Also remember that cannabidiol is a molecule and not a plant extract in the traditional sense.
CBD can probably help to cope with feelings of stress and overwhelm, just as adaptogens have been proven to give us a better long-term stress response, for example Rhodiola Rosea or Schisandra - but we should always strive to have a balanced lifestyle as possible, with sufficient Exercise, healthy eating and breaks when you feel overwhelmed.
Adaptogens and CBD at a glance
From roots, seeds, leaves, flowers, fruits of adaptogenic medicinal plants and mushrooms
Made from female flowers of the hemp plant
"Drug" in the pharmaceutical sense, i.e. a remedy of biological origin in its largely natural form
Non-toxic isolated ingredient
no prescription required
as an approved drug, only available on prescription as CBD oil with a THC content of less than 0.2%
Broad-spectrum, non-specific effect on various stress symptoms such as anxiety, fatigue, and immune deficiency
analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties without scientific evidence,
antispasmodic (epilepsy) with w.proof
Soothing and energetic at the same time (depending on what the body needs)
Acts on the regulation of stress via the HPA axis, part of the endocrine system
Acts on the body's ECS – endocannabinoid system (part of the human nervous system)
not addictive, not a stimulant
Not addictive below 0.2% THC
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