CBD - What Is It and What Does It Do In Your Body?
Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, is a naturally occurring cannabinoid that can be extracted from hemp plants. CBD is not psychoactive like THC and will not make you “high”, it also will not cause you to test positive for marijuana as it does not contain any THC. CBD produces many effects through multiple biochemical pathways, research has identified more than 65 molecular targets of CBD and there are still more to be found. CBD’s main effects are shown through various receptors in the body.
Receptors are small proteins attached to your cells that receive chemical signals from various stimuli and help your cells respond. The human body contains an endocannabinoid receptor system, this system receives and translates signals from cannabinoids. Many benefits of CBD are from its anti-anxiety and calming effects, this is proven by multiple studies which have shown that CBD activates the 5-HT1A (hydroxytryptamine) serotonin receptor, this is shown to create an anti-anxiety effect. The same receptor is involved in a wide range of biological and neurological processes, including appetite, sleep, pain perception, nausea and vomiting.
This shows CBD can be effective at treating anxiety, chronic pain, and nausea, all through one receptor. CBD can also bind to TRPV1 (transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V) receptors, this receptor mediates a few biological processes, most importantly pain perception and inflammation. This pathway could be the main reason CBD is so good at treating pain, many herbal remedies for headaches and inflammation work through this pathway. CBD can have neuroprotective effects due to the compound’s ability to activate PPARs (peroxisome proliferator activated receptors), which are receptors located on the cell’s nucleus. PPAR-gamma activation has been shown to degrade amyloid-beta plaque, which is a molecule that is linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
This pathway also has the ability to induce tumor regression in human lung cells. PPAR receptors functioning optimally is very important for fitness enthusiasts too, because they also regulate genes that are involved in lipid uptake, insulin sensitivity, and other metabolic functions. CBD also inhibits adenosine reuptake, which helps regulate inflammation and anxiety. CBD boosts adenosine levels in the brain which regulates adenosine receptor activity. A1A and A2A are both adenosine receptors that that regulate inflammation. CBD can act as a positive allosteric modulator of the GABA-A receptor which enhances the natural calming effects of GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid). GABA is often supplemented for its calming effects but it is not orally bioavailable due to its inability to break through the blood-brain barrier, CBD is a superior supplement for calming effects because it can help your brain use more of its own natural GABA production. This could be why CBD works so well as sleep aid, a higher usage of GABA in the brain will cause a calmer state of mind.
Through these interactions, cannabidiol shows it has a strong ability to decrease anxiety, help with mood, decrease inflammation, help with chronic pain symptoms, create healthy sleep cycles, and help with overall body and brain health.
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11064-005-6978-1 Study showing CBD’s interaction with 5-HTP1a
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4851925/ Study showing CBD treats chronic pain
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4851925/ Study showing CBD treats inflammation (arthritis)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24923339 Study using CBD as an antidepressant