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CBD Cannabis vs CBD Hemp
As the popularity of Cannabidiol increases around the world, and the legality of consumption continues to evolve, numerous new products...
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Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of numerous cannabinoids, or chemical compounds, found in the cannabis plant. It is the second most abundant cannabinoid in the cannabis plant after tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid responsible for producing a ‘high’ sensation. CBD offers a diverse range of healing benefits — without the psychoactive effect.
Numerous studies have been conducted over the past decades assessing the impact of CBD on a variety of conditions from pain to anxiety, and exploring how CBD actually interacts with our bodies in order to produce these results.
Research into CBD’s effects and ways of working is continuously growing, and leading to exciting findings related to physical, mental and emotional health. In this article, we will dive into what is known so far on how CBD works, and the many benefits it can provide.
When cannabis is used in its various forms, the cannabinoids in the plant affect our bodies by interacting with our endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The endocannabinoid system is a complex system that is active in our bodies, whether or not we use cannabis. While research is still being done on how the ECS works, we know that it plays a role in maintaining your body’s homeostasis, or internal balance and stability. When something throws off your body’s homeostasis — such as injury or illness — the ECS helps your body return to normal.
The ECS is made up of three core components: endocannabinoids, endocannabinoid receptors, and enzymes.
– Endocannabinoids, or endogenous cannabinoids, are similar to the cannabinoids found in cannabis, but are naturally produced by our bodies.
– Endocannabinoids bind to endocannabinoid receptors, found throughout our bodies, when the ECS needs to take action. There are two kinds of receptors: CB1, which is found in both the central and peripheral nervous systems. The majority of these receptors are located in the hippocampus and amygdala regions of the brain, which are primarily involved in the regulation of memory, fear, and emotion. CB2, which is found in the peripheral nervous system in immune cells, lymphoid tissue, and peripheral nerve terminals
– Enzymes break down endocannabinoids once they have performed the necessary function.
Experts are not yet clear on precisely how CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system. The widely held belief is that CBD prevents endocannabinoids from being broken down, enabling them to have a greater effect on the body. While the exact process is yet to be understood, research shows that CBD can help with inflammation, pain, sleep, and other functions regulated by the ECS.
Beyond its interaction with the endocannabinoid system, cannabidiol affects our bodies by binding to three additional receptors:
– At high concentrations, CBD directly activates 5-HT1A serotonin receptors, which are involved in a range of biological and neurological processes, including anxiety, addiction, appetite, sleep, pain perception, nausea and vomiting
– CBD also activates TRPV1 receptors. Also known as “vanilloid” receptors, TRPV1 receptors mediate pain perception, inflammation and body temperature
– Finally, CBD blocks a receptor called GPR55. Overactive GPR55 receptor signalling is associate with osteoporosis — by blocking GPR55 signalling, CBD may act to decrease both bone reabsorption and cancer cell proliferation. These receptors are also widely expressed in the brain, especially in the cerebellum, and are involved in modulating blood pressure and bone density
One of the many benefits of cannabidiol is its anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is a natural defense mechanism that the body uses to fight off illness-causing pathogens and foreign compounds. In the case of injury or infection, acute inflammation lasts briefly, and plays a vital role in healing.
Chronic inflammation, however, carries on for months or years. It can be caused by, and result in, a number of severe conditions. Longterm diseases associated with inflammation include rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease and cardiovascular disease.
CBD exerts its potent anti-inflammatory effects through four biological processes:
Studies have shown that CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties may help alleviate multiple inflammation-related conditions, when used in both topical and oral forms.
The use of cannabidiol to treat chronic pain dates back thousands of years. Still today, pain relief is the most common reason for the use of medical cannabis in the US.
The efficacy of CBD in treating chronic pain stems from its interaction with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in our body.
CBD has proven effective in improving pain across a number of conditions:
Migraine pain relief. A series of studies combining CBD and THC show effectiveness in reducing acute pain for people with migraines and cluster headaches.
Beyond the relief of physical conditions, CBD boasts benefits in addressing mental and emotional conditions, including anxiety management.
The anxiety-reducing effect of CBD is carried out in a few ways:
Numerous studies exhibit the positive effects of CBD on a range of anxiety-related conditions and behaviors:
Social anxiety disorder. Research participants with SAD experienced overall reduced anxiety levels after taking CBD orally. An additional study showed CBD effective in helping people with social anxiety give public speeches
Sleeplessness is caused by a number of diverse factors. These can include physical conditions such as chronic pain, mental disorders such as anxiety and depression, or of course external factors such as loud noises or uncomfortable sleeping conditions.
Cannabidiol can help us get a better night’s sleep by alleviating some of the root causes of sleeplessness, such as pain and anxiety. However, CBD boasts additional benefits in treating sleep disorders because of its interaction with the endocannabinoid system, which is involved in the regulation of the circadian sleep–wake cycle — including the maintenance of healthy sleep.
Pilot studies have shown promising results of the effects of CBD on sleep and fatigue:
Cannabidiol effectively relieves many of the factors that impair our focus — pain, anxiety sleep — and can therefore naturally help boost our concentration.
Research investigating additional effects of CBD on concentration is currently anecdotal, but results are promising. A 2017 study on adults with ADHD showed that a combination of CBD and THC led to the reduction of ADHD-related symptoms.
While there always remains more research to be done on how cannabidiol works and the various benefits it provides, it is clear that CBD can positively impact our health and wellbeing: