Understanding the ‘Boy Scout Molecule’ in CBD

People across the country are using CBD products in the hopes of relieving pain, improving mood, and helping with a variety of health conditions. Not only are they using CBD oil for themselves, but they’re also using it to help their pets, too.

It isn’t too often that a supplement grows in popularity for so many uses. How can one molecule help to reduce seizure frequency and severity in children, lessen the stress response during public speaking, possibly help to reduce pain, and be used in humans as well as pets?

The far-reaching effects of CBD has given it a nickname: the boy scout molecule. CBD is referred to as the boy scout molecule because it appears to have broad applications and somehow, knows how to do the right thing at the right time. 

This begs the question, how in the heck does CBD do all of that? It’s not like you can pop an ibuprofen if you’re feeling stressed or a Xanax when you have a headache… By the end of this article, you will understand how CBD works and why many researchers believe it may have such vast potential to heal. 

What is CBD? 

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of hundreds of healthy compounds found in hemp and marijuana plants. Specifically, CBD belongs to a class of compounds known as cannabinoids. You’ve likely heard of one other cannabinoid: THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana that is credited for the associated high feeling.

Unlike THC, CBD is not intoxicating. No matter how much you take, you’re not going to feel inebriated. But don’t mistake this lack of traditional psychoactivity with a lack of positive impact on the body. Many preclinical studies and limited human studies have found CBD to offer promise in helping those seek relief with a variety of conditions. 

Some of the most common reasons why people are using CBD for relief include:



There is still a lot of research that’s needed to be done on CBD before we can determine exactly how CBD impacts our health. But as it stands now, there is a lot of promising early research. This has been enough for people across the globe to decide that they want to see how CBD might benefit them. 

Understanding CBD Products 

Most CBD oil products are derived from the hemp plant. Unlike marijuana-derived CBD products, these products are legal in all 50 states thanks to the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill. This bill removed hemp-derived extracts from the list of Schedule 1 controlled substances as long as the products contain less than 0.3% THC by weight.

There are many types of CBD products, including:

  • Edibles: These are CBD products that you can eat, such as CBD Softgels and CBD-infused food and drink. 
  • Concentrates: These include concentrated extracts like those found in tinctures and oil that is smoked through a vape pen.
  • Topicals: Products that you apply to your skin for localized relief. 
  • Hemp Flower: This flower can be smoked similarly to how marijuana is smoked. Because hemp plants are low in THC, smoking hemp flower will not get you high. 

No matter how you take the boy scout molecule, the benefits are likely to be similar. That said, different products may be more easily absorbed into the body or better for different purposes. For the best relief, you’ll want to use the type of product that appeals to you the most. 

Cannabinoids and the Endocannabinoid System 

Cannabinoids like CBD and THC exert their effect through interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a vast system spread throughout the bodies of humans and all other animals with vertebrates. This means that humans, dogs, cats, fish, birds, lizards, and more have an ECS. 

The ECS is responsible for maintaining balance in the body, also known as homeostasis. Our bodies are in a state of constant flux, but if they go too far in one direction or another, disease or even death can occur. 

Take inflammation as an example. These days, you often hear about the damage that inflammation does to the body, but this is only once inflammation is chronic. Small doses of inflammation are absolutely critical for our survival. When we become injured, the inflammatory response is used to bring the body’s medics to the injury site and get it all fixed up. 

Unfortunately, excess inflammation can lead to more damage, rather than fixing it. And this is just one of many examples of how our bodies must maintain balance within a narrow zone to function properly. 

The ECS is made up of three parts:

  1. Endocannabinoids: These are cannabinoids made by the body.
  2. Receptors: Think of receptors as the lock that cannabinoids bind to in order to exert their effects. 
  3. Enzymes: ECS enzymes are substances that are responsible for the synthesis and breakdown of cannabinoids. 

You can think of the ECS as a system that controls how our bodies respond to internal and external stimuli. There are receptors found on cells throughout the body. This includes organs like the skin, lungs, and uterus, immune system cells, our gastrointestinal tract, our brains and spinal cords, and much more. Cannabinoids interact with these receptors and their enzymes, impacting our health and wellbeing. 

The Boy Scout Molecule and the Endocannabinoid System 

Researchers once thought that CBD impacted our health and wellbeing through directly binding to the ECS receptors. This is how THC makes us feel “high,” so it wasn’t a far leap. Interestingly, CBD doesn’t bind with certain ECS receptors, but still works largely through its interaction with the ECS. 

There are many ways that CBD interacts with the ECS, and as research continues, we are likely to learn more. Some of the effects of CBD are thanks to it:

  1. Boosting the levels of our natural cannabinoids, the endocannabinoids 
  2. Interacting with serotonin receptors. Serotonin is one of our feel-good brain chemicals. 
  3. Interacting with adenosine receptors. These receptors play a role in things like blood vessel constriction and dilation and neuroprotection.
  4. Interacting with vanilloid receptors, which are responsible for our perception of hot and cold. 

We are still learning about how CBD works in the body. The above are just a few examples of the many pathways through which CBD impacts our health and wellbeing.  It is this variety of interactions that may explain the diverse effects of CBD. The boy scout molecule works through so many pathways that it has unique and far-reaching benefits. 

Are You Ready to Try Out the ‘Boy Scout Molecule’ for Yourself? 

CBD is called the boy scout molecule thanks to its ability to interact positively with many parts of the human body, largely through its interaction with the ECS. It is the wide-reaching effects of CBD that are to thank for its cornucopia of uses. If you want to try out CBD for yourself, be sure to source a high-quality CBD products like those offered by Altura Wellness