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how does cbd work in the body

how does cbd work in the body

cbd is all the craze but how does it work?

Everybody is talking about cannabinoids like CBD. But while cannabis dispensaries are all the craze, not everyone fully understands how CBD works in the body. There are prodigious claims around the positive effects of CBD for pain management, anxiety, and even heart health. CBD seems like a miracle worker that can address a huge variety of health issues and challenges. To better understand this jack of all health trades, we need to focus on the complex ways CBD works in the endocannabinoid system. But first, let’s dive into the basics… what is CBD Oil and where does it comes from?

what is cbd oil?

CBD stands for Cannabidiol, one of the many compounds that are extracted from the hemp plant. Many people tend to be concerned about the psychological impact of CBD. This stems from the confusion between different cannabinoids naturally found in cannabis, namely between CBD and THC (Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol). While THC is a psychoactive cannabis compound that can be ingested or smoked, you can not get high from CBD. For those in the back, CBD will not produce the feeling of being “high”. 

where does cbd come from?

We know that CBD and THC are naturally found in cannabis. At this stage, it’s essential to understand the difference between cannabis, marijuana, and hemp. They all refer to the same plant. If a cannabis plant contains high levels of THC (over 0.3%), it’s described as a marijuana plant. If it has no more than 0.3% THC, it is considered a legalized hemp plant under the FDA-approved Farm Bill. CBD and other desired cannabinoids are extracted from carefully curated hemp plants that are consistently monitored to ensure no more than the legal amount of THC.

understanding how CBD works with our bodies

What is the Endocannabinoid System?

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) regulates a vast range of functions and processes in the body. It’s worth mentioning that the ECS is active in the body, regardless of whether or not you consume CBD. The ECS is responsible for the maintenance of physiological and biochemical balance through endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) and receptors in the body. These naturally produced endogenous cannabinoids are similar to those cannabinoids found in hemp.

The ECS is a collection of molecules and cell receptors that exist throughout the body. Together, they regulate processes such as mood, memory, appetite, reproduction, fertility, and sleep. The ECS is made of three distinct parts:

  • Receptors that encourage bonding with endocannabinoids and cannabinoids
  • Endocannabinoids (a substance similar to cannabinoids that exists naturally within the body)
  • Enzymes (responsible for breaking down endocannabinoids and cannabinoids)

CB1 & CB2 Receptors

The ECS has two receptors: cannabinoid 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid 2 (CBD2). You can find the receptors throughout your body. CB1 molecules are typically found on cerebral and spinal cord nerve cells, but they are also present in other organs. CB2 receptors exist in the immune system, the peripheral nervous system, and reproductive organs. Cannabinoids and endocannabinoids bind to the receptors to activate the endocannabinoid system. The result and effect varies and depends on the location of the receptor and the types of cannabinoids.

Anandamide (AEA)

We know that endogenous cannabinoids, or endocannabinoids, are essentially cannabinoids produced by the body. Anandamide (or AEA) is one of the endocannabinoids identified by researchers. Named after the Sanskrit term Ananda, or bliss, the molecule was first discovered in 1992. Functioning as a neurotransmitter, AEA affects the brain’s areas by sending messages to the nervous system. The body produces anandamide on demand when you absorb CBD. It plays an active role in mood regulation and may increase the sensation of happiness by boosting dopamine levels. It may also be effective in reducing pain, stress, sleep disorders, and many other functions.

2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG)

The second best-known endocannabinoid in the body is 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). Similar to AEA, the 2-AG endocannabinoid also attaches to receptors and interacts with the nervous system. Researchers found that 2-AG can bind with CB1 and CB2, affecting the peripheral and central nervous systems. On the other hand, AEA can’t bind with CB2. 

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transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1 (TRPV1)

The transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1, or TRPV1,  is the CBD receptor responsible for mediating pain perception, body temperature and inflammation. While TRPV1 activation can cause high pain, prolonged interaction with CBD and endocannabinoids may desensitize the receptors and reduce pain. 

TRPV1 also reacts to high temperatures, capsaicin, and acidic conditions in the body. 

CBD as an Allosteric Modulator

CBD may change the receptor’s shape, hence enhancing or inhibiting the ability to transmit a signal. This trait is called allosteric modulation. For example, CBD works actively to enhance the sedating effects of medications on the GABA-A receptor. Taking CBD amplifies the benefit of the GABA medications such as Valium and Benzos. On the other hand, CBD works as a negative allosteric modulator when consumed with THC, reducing the “high” sensation.

CBD and the GPR55 Receptor

GPR55 is an orphan receptor that modulates blood pressure, physiological processes, and bone density. However, when highly activated, GPR55 is often present in cancer cell proliferation and osteoporosis. CBD works as an antagonist for GPR55, and may reduce the negative effect of its overactivity.

CBD and the PPARS Receptor

The PPARS receptor also reacts when CBD binds to it. However, CBD has an agonist role, which means it triggers a reaction. Through its agonist binding, CBD may help control neurodegenerative disorders, cancer, diabetes, glucose metabolism, and pain. Supplementing our diets with cannabinoids may even be an effective remedy to control degenerative developments such as Alzheimer’s disease. 

How do different CBD Oils work?

Differences types of CBD Oil

The process and degrees of extracting cannabinoids from the hemp plant can vary, which is how we produce different types of CBD Oil:

  • CBD Isolate or Pure CBD Oil: This is the purest form of CBD. The extraction process removes all compounds but CBD, providing high-quality oil that’s over 99% pure. 
  • Broad Spectrum CBD Oil: This contains other cannabinoids in addition to CBD to enhance the potency of the hemp compounds. This oil, however, does not contain the cannabinoid THC. 
  • Full Spectrum Hemp Extract Oil: This oil contains a myriad of cannabinoids (including both CBD and THC) in addition to flavonoids and terpenes. This is the most sought after oil, and we will get to the “why” in a moment. 

Different types of cannabinoids and how they work

A Pure CBD Oil is preferred for microdosing CBD and is typically used in conjunction to a Broad Spectrum or Full Spectrum Oil. Microdosing a Pure CBD Oil specifically allows you to better control and maintain levels of CBD in the body. 

Broad Spectrum CBD Oils are usually preferred by those who want the benefit of consuming a multitude of cannabinoids sans THC.

And lastly, Full Spectrum CBD Oils are the most popular because of the entourage effect that is produced. 

What is the entourage effect?

The entourage effect refers to the synergistic interactions of all the cannabinoids and plant compounds (terpenes and flavonoids) working together. THC is critical in this effect and helps amplify the therapeutic benefits of the other cannabinoids.

benefits of CBD

A 2018 study identifies many reasons for taking CBD Oil to enhance your health and wellbeing:

relieve pain

People see CBD as a natural alternative to medication that may treat chronic pain, arthritis, migraines and headaches, and other pain-related disorders.

reduce anxiety and stress

While THC can have an adverse effect on anxiety, CBD has demonstrated its abilities to reduce anxiety, panic disorders, PTSD, and even obsessive-compulsive disorders.

benefit heart health

CBD Oil may also help reduce blood pressure, making it an ally for individuals with high blood pressure. 

reduce inflammation

A recent study reveals that CBD may prevent the release of the specific compounds connected to inflammation in the body. Used in topical applications, CBD may also help reduce scarring and prevent inflammatory skin disease.

mitigate acne

CBD’s anti-inflammatory property may also prevent the production of sebum by reducing inflammation in the skin.

effects of cbd

While CBD works as a wonder healer in the body, it may have unpleasant side effects in some cases, including:

  1. Diarrhea
  2. Changes in appetite and weight
  3. Fatigue

Side effects may result from excessive CBD consumption, adverse reactions when taken with other medication, or idiopathic reactions. As always, we strongly recommend reaching out to a medical specialist to discuss the best course of action. Your doctor may also advise against CBD, depending on your medical history and existing conditions. 

final thoughts on how cbd works

In conclusion, cannabinoids like CBD work in the body alongside the endocannabinoid system to help maintain homeostasis and regulate a vast range of our functions. CBD can help enhance positive results or inhibit negative reactions through its interactions with different receptors in the body. We naturally produce cannabinoids and supplementing our diets with cannabinoids from hemp may help support the efficacy of our endocannabinoid system to bring greater health and wellbeing to our body—both physically and mentally

There’s a lot of noise around how CBD works in the body so please consult with your physician before starting a CBD regimen.

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