Cannabidiol or CBD has gained immense popularity in recent times. It has several confirmed health benefits. It eases anxiety, helps in managing pain, and alleviates symptoms of various neurological disorders.
Unlike THC, CBD has no unpleasant side effects and does not intoxicate its users. It is easy to consume as it is available in forms of topical creams, oils, and edibles.
To understand how CBD is so effective, we must understand the effect it has on our brains.
How Does CBD Affect Your Brain?
Our body has a designated endocannabinoid system, that consists of numerous endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that bind to the receptor present along with our Central Nervous System and Peripheral Nervous System.
The endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating a variety of physiological and cognitive processes in our body. Some of these include pain, memory, appetite, and responses to stress.
The cannabis plant has more than 120 cannabinoids that bind with the endocannabinoid system’ receptors present in our body. The main receptors that bind with these cannabinoids in our body are CB1 and CB2.
CB1 receptors are prevalent in the Central Nervous System and are in charge of regulating appetite, mood, pain, coordination, and other bodily functions.
CB2 receptors are present throughout the body and specifically in the immune system, and these primarily control inflammation and pain.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) causes a psychoactive high in its users because it closely mimics a cannabinoid named anandamide, which is responsible for psychoactive effects.
CBD does not mimic this behavior and thereby does not cause its users to experience a “high”.
CBD, unlike THC, has a milder effect on the endocannabinoid receptors. It binds itself loosely to the CB1 receptors, which results in blocking of the receptors. Thus, it successfully mitigates THC’s psychoactive properties.
CBD also prevents anandamide degradation and increases the circulating levels of this molecule.
CBD binds itself to the receptors of our endocannabinoid system in a way that is similar to how a key fits itself into a lock.
The receptors that are thus activated and the parts of our brain that are involved depend from person to person. It varies due to factors like previous drug usage and each individual’s genetic make-up.
CBD Reduces Blood Flow
A study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology examined the effects of CBD on subjects that had Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD). The researchers found that the patients felt significantly better after being administered with CBD.
CBD helped in changing the way that their brains responded to anxiety. Moreover, the brain scans of the subjects revealed that CBD actively reduced the blood flow to the areas of their brain that were linked with anxiety.
CBD interacts with the CB1 and CB 2 receptors present in the endocannabinoid system of our body. A 2011 study corroborated these results and confirmed that the participants experienced a significant reduction in their anxiety levels after being given CBD.
CBD Works to Manage Pain
CBD can help people who suffer from chronic pain as it can manage their symptoms. CBD manages pain by modifying the CB2 receptors’ ability to bind with the endocannabinoids.
It also causes our body to produce natural cannabinoids in a greater number that can then subsequently attach to the CB2 receptors.
CBD creates pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory responses in our body that are effective in managing chronic pain. It can ease the symptoms of chronic back pain successfully.
A review was conducted in 2018 to assess how well CBD can work to relieve chronic pain. It studied several reports published during the period from 1975 to 2018. Various types of pain were examined under this review, namely:
- Cancer Pain
- Neuropathic Pain
The researchers concluded that CBD is effective in facilitating the overall management of pain and did not cause any side effects.
If you are suffering from chronic pain and looking to relieve it naturally, you can opt for an effective and affordable CBD product with permissible amounts of THC like Fab CBD’s CBD Oil. Made from organic hemp, FabCBD is a popular option to treat chronic pain and inflammation naturally.
Reduces Oxidative Damage
The manner in which our bodies regulate oxidative stress has a vast impact on the maintenance of sound health. Oxidative stress is a process that occurs naturally at the cellular level.
When a cell produces energy, it also releases free radicals as a by-product. Environmental toxins like exposure to smog can also aid in the creation of free radicals.
Our body uses antioxidants to nullify the effect of the creation of free radicals to stabilize the waste. This also ensures that no damage is caused to the DNA present in the cells.
However, if these free radicals are numerous and are not neutralized by antioxidants, they begin to attach the DNA particles. This may lead to the development of conditions like Alzheimer’s, Atherosclerosis, and Parkinson’s.
According to experts at the HCBT– “CBD reacts with the CB2 receptors to reduce the level of oxidative damage caused by free radicals. As CBD possesses strong antioxidant abilities, its neuroprotective antioxidant capacity is akin to that of Vitamins C and E.”
A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that long-term usage of CBD can prevent the development of “social recognition memory deficits”. The researchers also observed that CBD exerts strong antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective properties.
CBD can Lower the Degree of Excitation in Brain Cells
The damage caused to our brain cells when they become overactive as a result of excessive stimulation is termed as Excitotoxicity. It may be a result of a traumatic brain injury, loss of hearing, stroke, and neurodegenerative diseases of the Central Nervous System like Alzheimer’s and Multiple Sclerosis.
Glutamine-dependent excitotoxicity can be seen in almost every brain disorder and neurodegenerative disease that is characterized by old age. It is also one of the main molecular mechanisms observed in Epilepsy.
A study published in the Neuropsychopharmacology Journal examined the effects of CBD on inhibition systems and brain excitation. it was found that CBD had the potential to shift the levels of GABA+ and Glx metabolites.
These metabolites are responsible for the regulation of excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission in persons affected by autism.
CBD Has Significant Antipsychotic Properties
Anandamide is a neurotransmitter that can improve our mood. It simultaneously also reduces pain sensitivity. It is commonly called the ‘Bliss molecule’.
Anandamide is acted upon by Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase (FAAH) and it is broken down. However, CBD can inhibit the FAAH enzyme and maintain the bliss molecule’s activeness in the endocannabinoid system. CBD enhances FAAH’s potency.
Scientists have linked the higher levels of anandamide with a steep decrease in psychotic symptoms. A study published in Translational Psychiatry examined the effects of CBD on the production of anandamide.
The researchers concluded that an increase in anandamide levels in the cerebrospinal fluid is inversely proportional to the development of psychotic symptoms. They further noted that CBD actively boosts the production of anandamide and alleviates the symptoms of schizophrenia.
CBD is healthy for our brain and does not cause any side effects. It reacts with our brain and the nervous system naturally.
The time it takes for CBD to show its effects on your body is dependent on multiple factors.
If you consume CBD orally in the form of pills or capsules or gummies, it takes a little longer for CBD to get absorbed in the bloodstream as it first undergoes digestion in the stomach.
The fastest way to feel the magic of CBD is by inhaling or vaping CBD-infused products or by taking CBD oil or tincture sublingually for the best results.
If you are looking to try a CBD product for the first time, you must consult your physician to decide if CBD is the right choice for you and to determine the proper dosage that meets your needs.