It's only fairly recently - we're talking late '90s - that research scientists discovered our inherent 'ECS'; the 'endocannabinoid system' that helps to regulate our bodies' rhythms and support our sleeping patterns, our immunity, mood, appetite (and more!). There's still a LOT to learn and scientists are ploughing funding, time and energy into the quest to understand what makes this system 'tick' however, what we know so far is that we naturally manufacture cannabinoid-esque compounds (yep - like cannabis) - called 'endocannabinoids' - which work to stabilise the 'status quo'.

That said, in times of stress (Ie: most of the time), our scope to generate these precious compounds is inhibited - which is where CBD comes in...

CBD acts as a trigger for our cannabinoid receptors - in tandem with a larger group of lipids that the body utilises as the 'building blocks' for several different purposes. Also, because these molecules don't 'live' for very long within the body - they're effectively 'chewed up' by enzymes before they're 'recycled' for other biological processes - it's proven difficult to isolate the endocannabinoid system (ECS). It's part of a larger, interconnected network that is fuelled by fatty molecules to keep our engines running as they ought to.

What's more, our ECS is influenced by several different factors - from genetics to environment (like what we eat and how we exercise). For example, anandamide (a cannabinoid and so-called "bliss molecule") is also found in chocolate and, it's been established that through exercise we bolster its production - as well as that of other endorphins - which goes some way to rationalising the 'runner's high', believed to be a product of the ECS. 

So, how do you look after your 'endocannabinoid system'? Taking CBD can help to supplement your network and relieve the nagging symptoms of anxiety, headache, cramps... even chronic gut-related issues. With many autoimmune disorders a direct result of inflammation, CBD's inherent anti-inflammatory properties are proving helpful in the treatment of a spectrum of conditions.  

At Cult Beauty HQ, most of our desks are now graced with a bottle of CBD oil to bring rapid relief from a headache (the success rate is pretty profound), but this surge in demand for the 'erb isn't solely for easing our ailments...

Not to be confused, CBD is not the same as cannabis (or hemp) oil. Although both are derived from the cannabis plant, hemp seed oil - or cannabis sativa oil - is derived from the seeds which have next-to-no 'endocannabinoids' (although they do have countless other soothing, healing and free radical-fighting benefits). The cannabidiol - CBD - is extracted from leaves, stalks and flowers of the hemp plant and it's this which interacts with our receptive ECS.

Both hemp seed oil and CBD have roles to play in modern-day regimes - from bolstering your smoothie to replenishing your skin (and fragrancing your boudoir). Here's the low-down on a swathe of fresh favourites...

Designed to be ingested, added to your coffee or applied to skin that's stressed, DISCIPLE Skincare's (incredibly versatile) {Miracle Drops 1000mg} are a pure, potent blend of hemp seed and cannabidiol, to nurture your complexion and bring quick swift - sustained - relief from nerves or twinges.

BeYou's ingenious {CBD Oral Spray} is reportedly able to ease everything from inflammation to period pain, anxiety and insomnia. A godsend when you're PMS-ing (or suffer from cyclical cramps), this spritz is a great introduction to CBD's myriad benefits, while also being rich in MCT - a coconut oil that is jam-packed with essential fatty acids to re-energise and help you focus.

Ultra-hydrating, Milk Makeup's {Cannabis Hydrating Face Mask} is laced with soothing hemp seed oil and glycerin to quickly quench cells' thirst and bring relief from sensitivity.

A fast-absorbing formula, Herbivore's {Emerald Deep Moisture Glow Oil} delivers deep, long-lasting hydration and protection from environmental aggressors - while also promoting skin's radiance. Combining hemp seed oil with cannabis essential oil (rich in natural terpenes which give marijuana its signature, soul-soothing scent), this oil calms your mind as it comforts your visage.

From {THE INKEY LIST} comes the lightweight {Hemp Oil Cream Moisturiser} - a lotion that acts like a salve for inflamed, stressed or sunburned complexions. Rich in omegas to fortify compromised skin, this helps take the 'ouch' out of itches and stings while rebuilding your cells own defences.

And last (but by no means least), Malin + Goetz gorgeous {Cannabis Candle} upgrades the distinctively earthy aroma of hemp with a calming, olfactory cocktail of lemon and orange with heart notes of fig and a warm base of amber, oakmoss and patchouli to bring relaxed vibes to your living space...

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