HOW DOES CBD WORK?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a stable and non-toxic compound found in hemp. Unlike its counterpart THC – which is another naturally-occurring compound in the cannabis plant – CBD does not stimulate euphoria or make you “high”.
CBD is known to interact with and mimic the effects of naturally-occurring receptors inside the body in an effort to produce a wide range of physical and behavioral responses. These receptors have been found on essentially every cell type in the human body, which helps to explain the seemingly endless physiological roles that the plant-based cannabinoid possesses.
The receptors associated with CBD are CB1 and CB2; both of which are involved in stimulating multiple processes throughout the body. CB1 receptors are spread throughout the body – mainly in the brain and central nervous system – while CB2 receptors are found primarily in organ and tissue systems, as well as various cells of the immune system.
CB1 receptor cells are known to stimulate the production of neurotransmitters, which can produce a wide range of effects on the body. Among other things, these receptors are involved in fat production inside the liver, which in turn helps play a pivotal role in maintaining core body temperature, and also regulating an internal homeostatic environment. CB1 is also understood to influence things like memory, drug tolerance, pain threshold, appetite, and the central nervous system’s pleasure and reward centers.
CB2 receptors are primarily known to interact with the body’s immune system cells, influencing and regulating various immune functions such as immunosuppression and programmed cell death (apoptosis). These receptors have also been known to help modulate the sensation of pain, and also to play a pivotal role in protecting against neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
How CBD Actually Works
Unlike THC, CBD is not known to directly act upon CB1 and CB2 receptors. Rather, it is believed to influence receptor action by indirectly associating with behavioral neurotransmitters such as serotonin, adenosine, and vanilloid.
As a plant-based phytocannabinoid substance, CBD’s main role is believed to be in supporting the body’s endogenous (endocannabinoid) system, which is an innate molecular network that (amongst other things) helps to regulate things like pain response, inflammation, and nerve cell degeneration.
Also, CBD is widely known to act on FAAH enzymes, which readily inhibit the function of CB1. For this reason, CBD is recognised as a powerful component able to reduce the psychoactive effects induced by THC.
Moreover, the indirect action of CBD on neurotransmitters such as adenosine have been known to produce a variety of positive effects on the body. Once activated, adenosine receptors typically aid in the release of dopamine, which is another neurotransmitter responsible for influencing things like motor control, reward mechanisms, and motivation.
For these reasons, the presence of CBD and its interaction with naturally-occurring neurotransmitters in the body are believed to have the potential to influence such factors as emotion control, cognitive ability, memory, and learning.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) CBD is generally regarded as being safe and well-tolerated, and has even been cited for its neuroprotective effects and its ability to mollify they anxiety-inducing psychoactive properties of THC. In a general sense, it is also routinely used by healthy individuals to help restore the body back to a state of balance and homeostasis.