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  • by Nicola Boulton January 16, 2023 5 min read

    How Does CBD Work in the Body?

    Do you know how CBD oil works in delivering its therapeutic effects? The blog explains more about CBD, how to use CBD oil, and how it works with the Endocannabinoid system.

    CBD oil is the most popular and common cannabis supplement. It is mostly used to manage pain, anxiety, stress, and sleeping problems with minimal or no side effects. However, little clinical research has been done on how it interacts with the body system to deliver health benefits. One thing for sure is that it alters how the endocannabinoid system (ECS) works by interacting with body cannabinoid receptors.

    What is CBD?

    CBD is an abbreviation of Cannabidiol. It is a healthy natural compound extracted from the cannabis Sativa plant with other 100s of minor cannabinoids. It is mostly derived from the hemp plant, the only legal cannabis strain in the UK. However, CBD products should contain no or less than 0.2% of THC level. Most people may confuse CBD with mind-altering effects associated with cannabis. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the responsible cannabinoid that causes a feeling of high and paranoia in marijuana smokers. On the contrary, CBD has no psychoactive effects but is used to soothe THC's effects, such as anxiety increase and addiction.

    There are different forms of CBD in the hemp market, but CBD oil is the most commonly purchased. Highly diluting CBD compounds make it with organic carrier oils, such as hemp seed oil, olive oil, and coconut oil.

    How To Use CBD oil

    Unlike CBD topicals, vapes, and edibles that have only one way to take CBD, CBD oil has three different methods to use it, namely:


    This involves placing a few drops of CBD oil under the tongue and holding for 60 seconds. Since the oil is extracted using an alcohol-based method, the solvent will help CBD compounds to penetrate through the soft mucous mouth membrane directly into the bloodstream. It takes around 3 to 8 minutes to feel the effect of CBD kicking in.

    Cooking and Ingesting

    CBD oil is characterised byan earthy bitter taste which is a big roadblock to many CBD users. Therefore, you can easily include the oil in your daily food recipe to mask the taste with a delicious flavour. Afterwards, you can ingest your infused dish, where CBD must pass through the digestive tract before being metabolised and absorbed into the bloodstream. This is the slowest way to harness the therapeutic effects of CBD since it might take 30 to 60 minutes to feel the effects manifest.


    This involve applying CBD oil into the affected skin area. The cannabinoid does not penetrate the bloodstream but penetrates the inner skin layers where cannabinoid receptors are highly concentrated.It takes 15 to 30 minutes to feel relieved after application. 

    How CBD Oil Works

    When CBD reach your bloodstream, it interacts with the endocannabinoid system. ECS is a complex structure responsible for maintaining body balance by eradicating body discomforts like stress, inflammation, and pains. It comprises two types of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) and endocannabinoids (natural body cannabinoids) located in all body parts. In case of deficiency of endocannabinoids, unlike THC, CBD does not bind with the receptors but influences the production of body cannabinoids like anandamide and 2-AG to tackle body imbalances. Nonetheless, CBD works with ECS in the following ways depending on the type of cannabinoid receptor:

    CB2 Receptor

    CB2 receptors are located in all body parts along the immune system. It is mostly activated by 2-arachidonoglycerol (2-AG), the main endocannabinoid responsible for normal body inflammatory responses. According to Da Silva et al. (2020), When you take CBD oil, the plant cannabinoid activates the release of 2-AG that binds with CB2 receptors to perform the following functions:

    • Reduce body inflammations by supporting normal chemical reactions by immune cells. Inflammation is a normal reaction that helps the immune system sense danger, but excessive responses can trigger tissue or cell damage.
    • Regulating the production of body antigens is responsible for healing and repairing damaged body tissues. The interaction of CBD and CB2 receptors also increases the reproduction of healthy ones replacingthe dead ones to fasten internal healing.
    • Boost muscles and mind relaxation for a good quality sleep. CB2 receptors triggers CBD calming effects in the brain neurons that help you fall asleep quickly.
    • Boost body energy levels by enhancing body metabolic rate. This help to convert stored fat in cells into energy for the day.

    CB1 Cannabinoid Receptors

    CB1 receptors are mostly located in the central and peripheral nervous systems. They are mostly activated by anandamide. CBD, when circulated into the brain neurons, increases the production of anandamide that binds with CB1 receptors to tackle mental, movement, and emotional problems primarily. The interaction can help the body perform the following:

    Manage Anxiety and Stress

    According to García-Gutiérrez et al. (2020), CBD has anti-depressant properties whereby it increases the production of stress relieving hormone called serotonin. The hormone triggers the release of happy compounds like dopamine responsible for activating good hormones.

    Boost Memory

    CB1 receptors and CBD can help in memory formation to tackle memory loss in patients suffering from mental ailments like Alzheimer’s. According to Xiong et al. (2021), CBD increases the production of brain molecules called adenylyl cyclase that aid in the formation of new memory cells and restore lost memories. 

    Pain Relief

    CBD helps manage body pains like backache, sciatica, joint and muscle pains, etc. CB1 receptors bind with anandamide compounds induced by CBD to block the signalling of pain nerve impulses into the central nervous system.

    Boosts Body Movement

    Some CB1 receptors are located in the basal ganglia, a part of the brain that responds to regulate body movement.According to Wang et al. (2022), in case of movements complication, CBD can influence CB1 receptors to reduce the release of GABA transmitters by the brain,whichis responsible for making the body stay still.

    Boosts Mental Clarity and Concentration

    CB1 receptors and anandamide compounds are responsible for maintaining mental focus. However, a deficiency of anandamide in the brain neurons can trigger restlessness. CBD not only help you to feel motivated and alert and increases the release of body cannabinoids like anandamide.


    CBD products have gained huge popularity in people's lifestyles as they are powerful in reducing body pains, anxiety, stress, and mental problems. CBD oil is the most popular CBD product,which can be taken by applying it to the skin, ingesting it with food, or sublingually placing the oil under the tongue. It works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system responsible for maintaining body balance. CBD compounds in the oil interact with ECS to increase the release of body cannabinoids that binds with CB1 and CB2 receptors to help you tackle most of the body discomforts you are experiencing.


    da Silva, N. R., Gomes, F. V., Sonego, A. B., da Silva, N. R., &Guimarães, F. S. (2020). Cannabidiol attenuates behavioural changes in a rodent model of schizophrenia through 5-HT1A but not CB1 and CB2 receptors. Pharmacological Research, 156, 104749.

    García-Gutiérrez, M. S., Navarrete, F., Gasparyan, A., Austrich-Olivares, A., Sala, F., & Manzanares, J. (2020). Cannabidiol: a potential new alternative for treating anxiety, depression, and psychotic disorders. Biomolecules, 10(11), 1575.

    Wang, Z., Zheng, P., Chen, X., Xie, Y., Weston-Green, K., Solowij, N., ... & Huang, X. F. (2022). Cannabidiol induces autophagy and improves neuronal health associated with SIRT1-mediated longevity. GeroScience, 1-20.

    Xiong, Y., & Lim, C. S. (2021). Understanding the Modulatory Effects of Cannabidiol on Alzheimer’s Disease. Brain Sciences, 11(9), 1211.

    Nicola Boulton
    Nicola Boulton

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