The Science Behind CBD: Breaking Down the Benefits

The Science Behind CBD: Breaking Down the Benefits
The Science Behind CBD
Delve into the fascinating world of CBD as we unravel the science behind its numerous benefits. This insightful exploration will shed light on how CBD interacts with your body, making it a promising natural remedy. The science of CBD: Breaking down the benefits
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KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant.
  • Cannabis has been used for thousands of years for medicinal and recreational purposes.
  • CBD influences various neurotransmitter systems.
  • The ECS helps maintain balance in the body. This is called homeostasis.
  • CBD is used for various health conditions due to its potential therapeutic effects when interacting with the ECS.

Table of Contents

Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, is one of the most popular health and wellness supplements on the market today. From tinctures to topicals to edibles, CBD products are being used for a variety of ailments like anxiety, chronic pain, and more. In order to correctly use and garner the most benefits out of CBD, it’s important to understand the science behind CBD and how CBD works in our bodies according to our science source.

What is CBD?

CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant. It is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the plant, and it is non-psychoactive, meaning it does not produce the “high” associated with marijuana use. CBD has gained popularity in recent years due to its perceived health benefits, and it is now found in a variety of products, including oils, tinctures, capsules, and creams.

While research on CBD is still ongoing, there is already growing scientific evidence suggesting that CBD has a wide range of potential health benefits. Multiple studies have proven that CBD may be an exceptional solution for handling:

  • Anxiety
  • Chronic Pain
  • Depression
  • Inflammation
  • Epilepsy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Ailments related to cancer treatment

Keep reading to learn more about these benefits in more detail.

History of CBD and Cannabinoids

CBD and other cannabinoids have a rich history of use for medicinal purposes that stretches back thousands of years. However, it wasn’t until the 20th century that scientists began to study their effects in detail. In the 1960s, Israeli chemist Raphael Mechoulam made a significant breakthrough by identifying the chemical structure of CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. This discovery sparked increased interest in the potential medical uses of cannabinoids.

In Australia, the use of medicinal cannabis was legalized in 2021, leading to a growing interest in CBD and other cannabinoids for a range of conditions. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) rescheduled CBD from a prohibited substance to a legally purchasable medicine, making it easier for doctors to prescribe it to patients. CBD products over-the-counter in Australia with the restriction that the maximum dosage not exceed 150mg of CBD per day. These products must be 98% CBD with less than 1% respectively for THC and other non-CBD cannabinoids (CBN, CBC etc.)

How does CBD work?

How Does CBD Work?

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a special type of drug that works in many ways within our bodies. It can connect with certain spots called CB1 and CB2 receptors, as well as other pathways. One cool thing about CBD is how it can help our immune cells, specifically ones called neutrophils. Some lab tests have shown that CBD can make changes in these cells, which could help control how our body responds to illnesses.

Scientists have also found a way to make CBD more stable and easier for our bodies to use. This could make it even better at helping with different health problems. As you continue to learn more about how CBD works, you will come to learn in this article, more ways it can help you and your loved ones achieve health goals.

How CBD interacts with your Endocannabinoid System and Receptors

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is like a big control center in our bodies. It’s made up of special substances called endocannabinoids, places they connect with called receptors, and special helpers called enzymes [1].

The ECS helps maintain the balance in our bodies, kind of like how a thermostat keeps the temperature just right in a room (this is called homeostasis). And just like different parts of a room have different jobs, the ECS has different parts too. There are two main types of these connecting spots – CB1 and CB2 receptors.

CB1 receptors are mostly found in our brains and help control our mood, thought processes, and how we feel and deal with pain. CB2 receptors are mainly in our immune cells throughout the human body, which act as your body’s defense system. The CB2 receptors help control how our body fights off illnesses and handles inflammation.

Our bodies naturally produce endocannabinoids that connect with these receptors. When they connect, it triggers different responses in our bodies. Understanding this system and how it works with substances like CBD is the root to understanding ways it can help with different health problems [2].

How CBD works with Neurotransmitters in the ECS

Imagine your body as a big city, and neurotransmitters are like mail carriers. They have a critical job in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Two main types of Neurotransmitters, anandamide and 2-AG, are super important for the ECS. These neurotransmitters are naturally produced in our bodies to assist with the relay of information between cells in our ECS.

Now, CBD can attach to certain receptors in our bodies. Think of these receptors as mailboxes, specifically named serotonin receptors and Kv7 receptors [3].

CBD can also connect to another type of mailbox in our bodies, called the TRPV1 receptor. This particular mailbox helps us feel heat pain, like when we touch something hot accidentally. Here’s where it gets really fascinating: by understanding how these mail carriers work in the ECS, scientists have learned even more about how CBD delivers its benefits.

So, while CBD comes from the cannabis plant, it’s not about getting high. It’s about how CBD interacts with our Neurotransmitters and receptors in order to deliver the health benefits.

Health Benefits of CBD

Health Benefits of CBD

Scientific studies have shown that CBD may be effective in relieving chronic pain, reducing inflammation, and managing symptoms of anxiety.

CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, by binding to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and immune cells, leading to a reduction in pain and inflammatory response. This makes CBD a promising option for those suffering from conditions such as neuropathic pain and inflammation related chronic diseases.

Additionally, CBD has been shown to have an antidepressant-like effect by interacting with serotonin receptors in the brain [4]. This suggests that it may be beneficial for individuals with anxiety disorders, including social anxiety disorder. 

After the first 2 months of CBD treatment, 78.1–79.2% of participants reported improvements in anxiety symptoms.

Furthermore, CBD has been studied for its potential in treating forms of epilepsy, such as treatment-resistant epilepsy. It has shown promising results in reducing the frequency and severity of seizures in both human and animal studies [5].

Related: Myths and Misconceptions: Debunking CBD Rumors

Chronic Pain Management

CBD has emerged as a potential solution for managing chronic pain. By binding to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and immune cells, CBD alleviates pain and reduce inflammation associated with chronic conditions. It also has analgesic properties, making it a promising alternative for individuals seeking relief from chronic pain without the potential adverse effects of traditional pain medications. Furthermore, CBD’s ability to modulate serotonin receptors in the brain suggests that it has additional benefits in managing pain associated with conditions such as fibromyalgia and neuropathy.

Anxiety and Depression

CBD, or cannabidiol, has been found to have anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) and antidepressant properties. Numerous scientific studies and research have shown that CBD has the potential to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. CBD interacts with cannabinoid receptors in the human body, specifically the CB1 receptors and 5-HT1A receptors, which are also serotonin receptors. By interacting with these receptors, the CBD regulates mood and alleviates symptoms of anxiety and depression [6]. Additionally, CBD has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and can promote the release of serotonin, which further contributes to its beneficial effects on anxiety and depression. With its ability to effectively treat anxiety and depression without the psychoactive effects of THC, CBD has become a popular alternative for individuals seeking relief from these conditions.

Treat Select Epilepsy Syndromes

CBD has emerged as a potential treatment option for various epilepsy syndromes. Numerous studies have shown its efficacy in reducing seizures in individuals with treatment-resistant epilepsy, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome [7]. CBD interacts with cannabinoid receptors in the brain, regulating neuronal activity and reducing seizure frequency. It is believed that CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties and ability to modulate neurotransmitter release contribute to its anticonvulsant effects. Additionally, CBD doesn’t cause the psychoactive effects commonly associated with cannabis, making it a safer alternative for individuals seeking relief from epilepsy symptoms. Consult a healthcare provider before using CBD for epilepsy treatment to ensure it is appropriate and effective. Overall, CBD shows promise as a potential treatment option for epilepsy syndromes, providing hope for those who have been unresponsive to traditional medications.

Reduce PTSD Symptoms

CBD has shown promising potential in reducing symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In recent studies, CBD has been found to interact with the endocannabinoid system in the brain, which plays a crucial role in regulating emotional responses and memory formation. By modulating the activity of cannabinoid receptors, particularly the CB1 receptors, CBD can help restore the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, reducing anxiety, fear, and intrusive thoughts often experienced in individuals with PTSD. Additionally, CBD has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can also contribute to the reduction of symptoms related to this condition. Early findings suggest that it may serve as a valuable therapeutic option for those who are suffering from this debilitating disorder.

Treat Opioid Addiction

CBD has shown great potential in treating opioid addiction. Studies have found that CBD can help alleviate withdrawal symptoms and cravings associated with opioid addiction, making it a promising option for those looking to overcome this devastating condition. One study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that CBD reduced drug cue-induced cravings and anxiety in individuals with heroin use disorder [8]. Additionally, CBD has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce pain and inflammation associated with opioid addiction. These findings suggest that CBD could be a valuable tool in the treatment of opioid addiction, providing a safer and potentially more effective alternative to traditional medications.

Ease Diabetic Complications

CBD has shown potential in easing diabetic complications, according to scientific studies. Diabetic complications arise from chronic inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, which can lead to damage in various organs and tissues, including the eyes, kidneys, and nerves [9]. CBD, a non-psychoactive compound derived from the cannabis plant, has been found to possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can help alleviate these complications. Studies have shown that CBD can reduce inflammation and prevent oxidative stress, thereby protecting vital organs from damage. CBD has been found to regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, which are crucial factors in managing diabetes. These promising findings suggest that CBD could be a potential natural option for easing diabetic complications, but further research in human studies is necessary to fully understand its effects and determine optimal dosing and treatment protocols.

References

  1. Rosenberg, Evan C, et al. “Cannabinoids and Epilepsy.” Neurotherapeutics : The Journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604191/.
  2. E;, Biernacki M;Skrzydlewska. “Metabolism of Endocannabinoids.” Postepy Higieny i Medycyny Doswiadczalnej (Online), U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27516570/. Accessed 30 Aug. 2023.
  3. Ghonghadze M;Pachkoria K;Okujava M;Antelava N;Gongadze N; “Endocannabinoids Receptors Mediated Central and Peripheral Effects (Review).” Georgian Medical News, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32141867/. Accessed 30 Aug. 2023.
  4. SRL;, Sales AJ;Crestani CC;Guimarães FS;Joca. “Antidepressant-like Effect Induced by Cannabidiol Is Dependent on Brain Serotonin Levels.” Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29885468/. Accessed 6 Sept. 2023.
  5. Pamplona, Fabricio A, et al. “Potential Clinical Benefits of CBD-Rich Cannabis Extracts over Purified CBD in Treatment-Resistant Epilepsy: Observational Data Meta-Analysis.” Frontiers in Neurology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 12 Sept. 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6143706/.
  6. Shannon, Scott, et al. “Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series.” The Permanente Journal, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2019, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6326553/.
  7. Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Dravet Syndrome: A Literature Review …, www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Cannabidiol-in-the-treatment-of-Dravet-Syndrome%3A-a-Lacerda-Assis/ec3aa6744f94fc574e76bd16ff7f12b581af9fe4. Accessed 29 Aug. 2023.
  8. CBD Reduces Drug Craving in Abstinent Patients with Heroin Use Disorder …, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/pu.30471. Accessed 29 Aug. 2023.
  9. Role of Plant-Derived Polyphenols in Reducing … – Semantic Scholar, www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Role-of-Plant-Derived-Polyphenols-in-Reducing-Bhattacharya-Sil/97145d738e0ff5a4fb3384f8198c5cd9674856cd. Accessed 29 Aug. 2023.
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