The hemp legalization in 2018 led to the increased production of CBD for medical and recreational use. This article will focus on CBD, the endocannabinoid system, how CBD interacts with this vital system, and the benefits of CBD for the endocannabinoid system.
Clinical trials and studies over the past few years show that chemical compounds in the cannabis plant have various health properties. Regardless of how they affect your psychology during recreational use, the marijuana plant contains a compound called Cannabidiol (CBD), which greatly impacts human health. CBD has gained popularity because it provides these benefits without psychoactive effects.
However, it doesn't work alone in most causes. Scientists have discovered that humans and mammals generally have an extensive network of endocannabinoid receptors. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) helps maintain internal body balances, relieves pain, inflammation, and anxiety, and improves appetite and sleep quality; others are still under research. CBD interacts with the system to provide effective and efficient results.
What is CBD?
CBD is an active chemical compound derived from the cannabis sativa plant. It is largely extracted from the leaves and flowers of the hemp plant. The plant has a higher compound concentration compared to other cannabis plant classes. CBD is a prevalent cannabinoid since the hemp plant is legal in most USA states. The plant has a low tetrahydrocannabinoid (THC) concentration, which is common to marijuana users because it causes highness. In addition to the CBD regime, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently approved the first cannabis-derived medicine, Epidiolex, which contains CBD compounds for treating rare forms of epilepsy.
McFadden et al. (2021) suggested that CBD manufacturers use different extraction techniques, resulting in three types of CBD compounds. Each type has its composition, cons, and pros, depending on how they interact with ECS. They include:
Full-spectrum CBD- contains all cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant, including traces of THC. Therefore, consuming it has entourage effects on the ECS system, whereby people may prefer it since it is more beneficial to the human body. Apart from CBD, it contains other cannabinoids, such as CBN and CBG, which have more additional health benefits.
Broad-spectrum CBD- contains most of the cannabinoids in the hemp plant except THC; it provides encouraging effects on the endocannabinoid system without the risk of getting high.
CBD isolate – is mostly available in the form of white crystalline powder. Naturally, it is pure since all cannabinoids are removed during extraction, isolating CBD compounds. It is common to most users due to its pureness and minimal side effects.
What is the Endocannabinoid System?
Our bodies have a network of neuromodulatory receptors called endocannabinoids. The system is similar to the endocannabinoids in CBD and primarily exists in humans and other mammals. Lowe et al. (2021) explained that the ECS is a complex cell signing system that keeps our bodies in a homeostatic state. Additionally, the system regulates body pain, stress, energy levels, appetite, cardiovascular function, reproduction, sleep, and more to achieve internal homeostasis.
It consists of three main components: receptors, endocannabinoids, and enzymes breaking down the cannabinoids. The system exists throughout the body, from the central nervous system, the skin, the spinal cord, and the immune cells in the blood, to the neurons in the brain.
People can have endocannabinoid deficiency wherein a patient is not producing enough cannabinoids, thus resulting in complications such as depression, chronic anxiety, inflammation, PSTD, chronic pain, and fibromyalgia. CBD, when consumed orally, in injections, or applied to the skin, has proven to control some of the symptoms caused by this deficiency.
Anandamide is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, pain, memory, and emotions.
Arachidonic is a neurotransmitter responsible for controlling nausea, appetite, and any growing tumor.
CBD helps the body produce more endocannabinoid compounds in case of inadequate endocannabinoids. It also prevents the body's cannabinoids from being broken down, thus improving their efficacy.
They are known to bind with body cannabinoids to trigger cell responses. In case of deficiency, they can bind with consumed CBD compounds resulting in the same functionality. There are two main types:
CB1 is located in the central nervous system and is responsible for motor functions. CBD does not bind with these receptors but promotes neuro-transmission of the receptors in tackling the imbalance.
CB2 is found in the immune system and plays are role in neuroinflammation and neuroprotection. Neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties characterize CBD; therefore, it binds with receptors activating various pathways to increase feelings of improved mood and relaxation, thus tackling imbalances such as pain, anxiety, and inflammation.
Moreover, brain cells communicate with the rest of the body by sending chemical signals called neurotransmitters which coordinate and regulate everything you feel, do or think. CBD perceives the neurons (brain cells) on how they respond to emotions and increases neurotransmitters' signaling to the affected area.
They are responsible for breaking down and production of anandamide endocannabinoids. CBD triggers the enzymes in producing the body's cannabinoids and delays their breakdown resulting in maintaining homeostasis. In addition, CBD triggers enzymes that produce the hormone serotonin, the stress-relieving hormone that promotes sleep and reduces high anxiety and stress levels.
The Beneficial Result of CBD Activating the Body's ECS
Pamplona et al. (2018) explained that when CBD interacts with the system, it results in the following health benefits:
Treating anxiety and insomnia- CBD changes how your brain perceives emotion resulting in better sleep and reduced anxiety.
Research shows that CBD, with the help of ECS, reduces seizures by a 60% rate.
Alleviating chronic pain- CBD interacts with body receptors responsible for alleviating pain, inducing calming effects that help manage chronic pains such as arthritis, acne, and spinal cord problems.
Reducing inflammation- CBD has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. In the brain, it acts as an anti-oxidative, reducing inflammation accumulation in neurons. Additionally, CBD regulates sebum production on the skin since excess oils increase inflammation which causes acne.
Improving cardiovascular health - CBD interacts with ECS lowering the body's blood pressure and improving the body's circulatory system. High blood pressure causes hypertension which adversely affects cardiac functions.
Reducing depression- CBD has anti-depressant properties that bring a feeling of relaxation to its users.
Improving memory and cognitive function- short-term memory effects characterize most cannabis-derived products. However, CBD is exceptional; it activates ECS, which increases the production of memory neurons in the brain gland.
Nausea and vomiting- most people suffering from chronic conditions such as AIDS and cancer can give up on medication due to these side effects. Studies have shown CBD, with the help of ECS receptors, reduces these side effects, increasing a patient's chances of survival.
Clinical studies and trials are being conducted to establish the relationship between CBD and ECS further. The ECS plays a major role in regulating and maintaining stable internal processes. It stabilizes conditions such as pain, anxiety, stress, inflammation, memory, and many others under investigation. Furthermore, CBD activates the system in its functions, resulting in better, more effective, and more efficient tackling of the imbalance. In case of endocannabinoid shortage, CBD triggers the production of more endocannabinoids and reduces their breakdown to ensure they efficiently tackle these health problems. Therefore, the interaction between CBD and ECS results in controlling symptoms of diseases such as AIDS, PTSD, GAD, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, acne, diabetes, insomnia, and ADHD.
McFadden, B. R., & Malone, T. (2021). Homegrown perceptions about the medical use and potential abuse of CBD and THC. Addictive behaviors, 115, 106799.
Lowe, H., Toyang, N., Steele, B., Bryant, J., & Ngwa, W. (2021). The endocannabinoid system: A potential target for the treatment of various diseases. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 22(17), 9472.
Cooray, R., Gupta, V., & Suphioglu, C. (2020). A review is a review of current aspects of the endocannabinoid system and targeted THC and CBD phytocannabinoids as potential therapeutics for Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. Molecular Neurobiology, 57(11), 4878-4890.
Pamplona, F. A., Da Silva, L. R., & Coan, A. C. (2018). Potential clinical benefits of CBD-rich cannabis extracts over purified CBD in treatment-resistant epilepsy: observational data meta-analysis. Frontiers in neurology, 759.
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