How cannabidiol works with the brain

People these days are looking for natural remedies for a variety of conditions. One product that is showing quite a bit of promise is cannabidiol (CBD).

A number of scientific studies have been performed on cannabidiol, and here is what you should know about how it works.

What Is Cannabidiol?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the main active compound found in hemp, accounting for more than 40% of the marijuana plant’s extracts. It is only one of more than 85 active cannabinoids or chemical compounds found in cannabis. It comes in oil form, and may also be mixed in with different concentrations of hemp oil extracts. CBD is legal to use for medical purposes in all fifty states as well as in 40 different countries.

The Body’s Endocannabinoid System

The body’s endocannabinoid or EC system mimics the effects of marijuana inside the brain. Natural chemicals produced by the EC system are referred to as endocannabinoids, and are responsible for a number of bodily functions. Endocannabinoids work differently from other neurotransmitters in the body because they travel backwards from the neuron.  Effectively turning up or down the signals which they receive from other neurons in an attempt to keep the body in a state of homeostasis.

Stimulates Cannanbinoid Receptors

There are two cannabinoid receptors in the human body: CB1 and CB2. CBD does not bind with these receptors, but rather is responsible for stimulating them. CB1 receptors are found on nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, while CB2 receptors are located primarily in white blood cells and the immune system. CB1 and CB2 are collectively responsible for regulating several neuro-hormones in the body, and also play a part in controlling processes such as memory, appetite, mood, and sensations of pain. 

Separate from THC

Many people are cautious of cannabidiol because they believe it makes people high. Since it is completely separated from THC, cannabidiol does not contain any psychoactive properties, and therefore does not produce a “high.” CBD also acts on entirely different pathways than THC. Unlike THC, cannabidiol does not cause anxiety – in fact, some research suggests it may actually counteract some of the anxiety or paranoia produced by THC. Because CBD does not result in a high, it is safe for use without concern for the psychoactive side effects seen with THC.

Implications

A study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology claimed that CBD provides a number of medical benefits. This oil contains anticonvulsant properties, which is why it is being studied as a potential treatment for certain types of epilepsy. CBD acts in some experimental models as an anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, anti-oxidant, anti-emetic, anxiolytic and antipsychotic agent.  It is therefore a being studied as a potential treatment for a number of clinical conditions including some neurodegenerative disorders. While further research is certainly needed, CBD is showing promise as a treatment in a number of clinical conditions without the psychoactive effects that are seen with THC.

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