Cannabidiol (CBD) is among the most popular compounds from a cannabis plant. This cannabinoid has various health benefits.
Unlike THC which is psychoactive, CBD doesn’t get you high. Conversely, the compound regulates the effects of certain cannabinoids like THC.
In order to get a better grasp of how cannabinoids affect our system, we should learn about how they are processed in our brain.
How does CBD affect the brain?
To describe the science behind the human brain as complicated is an understatement. Scientists, in fact, know more about the most complicated and mind-blowing astrophysics than they actually do about the functioning of the human brain.
In the 1960s, an Israeli team of scientists headed by Dr. Rafael Mechoulam made significant breakthroughs. The team has identified the chemical structures of THC and CBD which paved the way for the discovery of the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
Various receptors of the ECS can be found across the body. They are connected with the human nervous system that is itself connected to the brain. To simply put, chemicals with varied reactions come from various receptors.
CBD is believed to have anxiolytic properties and could relieve anxiety, thanks to its interaction with the 5-HT1A receptor. This is particularly linked to serotonin neurotransmission that helps regulate mood and can be linked to the mediation of depression and anxiety. It is also believed to have a compounding effect as CBD could boost the endocannabinoids that are naturally produced in the body.
CBD and Neuron Receptors
CBD is also known to affect non-cannabinoid chemicals and disrupt opioid receptors. Consequently, it makes the compound a potential treatment against opioid addiction through alteration of the reward mechanism of the brain. In particular, CBD is said to interact with dopamine, the chemical behind the sense of reward we feel.
Dr. Mechoulam also discovered another chemical called anandamide or the ‘bliss’ molecule responsible for the joy that human feels. CBD, according to the study, seems to constrain the breakdown and reuptake of anandamide which consequently results in the increased levels of endocannabinoid. The compound is thought to induce neuron growth in the hippocampus. With CBD, the hippocampus is enlarged, while anxiety and memory is enhanced.
CBD Health Benefits
So why is CBD increasing in popularity as an effective dietary supplement?
CBD is believed to offer various therapeutic applications that protect the brain from degenerating because of its role in neurogenesis. As it binds to TRPV1 receptors, the compound plays an important function in relieving pain, inflammation and in regulating body temperature. The potential of CBD to treat conditions is being studied due to numerous anecdotal evidence about improvements in many cases of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and other spasmodic conditions after administration of CBD. The compound is thereby believed to have anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, and anticonvulsant properties.