How Does CBD Work on the Brain?

We’re all aware that hemp extracts can provide a wealth of benefits, but how does CBD work on the brain? There's still a great deal of mystery surrounding this powerful compound. There have been countless cases where CBD has been effective. The problem is that scientists have a hard time quantifying exactly how these effects take place. People use CBD for various personal reasons. Some use it as a part of their wellness regimen and others use it for more specific ailments. Everyone experiences something different with CBD, but it seems to be universally beneficial. This is another aspect of CBD that makes it appealing to a diverse market. Scientists are still exploring how CBD interacts with the body and there's a lot we don't know. Since CBD was made legal there has been an increase in clinical studies. This has allowed us to take major steps in bettering our understanding of CBD. Though there's still much to be explored, scientists have gained some understanding of how CBD works.

What is CBD?

A woman holding a CBD tincture oilCBD isn't just an ingredient in delicious gummies. If we’re going to look at how CBD interacts with the brain, we should first get the basics out of the way. CBD is an abbreviation of Cannabidiol. This compound is one of over 140 known phytocannabinoids that exist in cannabis plants. CBD is present in both Marijuana and Hemp. CBD is typically extracted from hemp due to its low concentration of THC and a high concentration of beneficial compounds.  People often get confused about the effects of CBD because of its relationship to Marijuana. Though Marijuana does contain CBD, it's illegal on a federal level, and very rarely used to produce CBD.

CBD and the Endocannabinoid System

When CBD enters the body, its beneficial effects are realized through its interaction with the endocannabinoid system. All mammals have a complex series of retrograde neurotransmitters called the endocannabinoid system. This system affects various parts of the brain and body through its influence on the central and peripheral nervous systems. There are two primary cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system. The CB1 receptors primarily influences the central nervous system and the CB2 receptors influences the peripheral nervous system. CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system in a way that is unlike any other known cannabinoid. CBD indirectly interfaces with both the CB1 and CB2  receptors.

CB1 Receptors

CB1 receptors are found in all areas of the brain and are the most An oil dropperwidely expressed G-protein coupled receptors. CBDs interaction with the CB1 receptor is believed to be responsible for some of the benefits people experience.  Research shows that CBD is capable of inhibiting hyperphagia induced by the CB1. Simply put, this means that CBD can help regulate food intake and has great potential as a way to treat eating disorders. For those who struggle with fear or anxiety, CBD may be a dream come true. When CBD is infused into the infralimbic cortex it disrupts the effects of intra-IL and causes fear-extinction. Scientists believe that this could be therapeutic for patients to confront repressed memories or traumas.

CB2 Receptors

CB2 receptors are not found in the brain but can impact it in a big way. These receptors are found throughout the body and influence the immune system and play an important part in combating inflammation. While scientists aren't completely sure why CBT works pain, they believe the answer lies in its interaction with CB2 receptors. It’s possible that CBD affects the CB2 receptors in such a way that it inhibits their response to pain signals. This could mean that CBD has the potential to replace traditional pharmaceuticals at some point.  Just about any ailment, you can imagine in the brain or body can be traced back to some sort of inflammation. CBD inhibits the regular action of the CB2 receptor. This, in turn, has an impact on the way your body deals with inflammation. 

Combating Oxidative Damage

Blue colored oil bubblesOxidative stress is a natural process that has a big impact on our health and takes place at a cellular level. The brain doesn't like to be stressed. When it's over-stressed, not only do you suffer mentally, but you're far more likely to get sick. When your cells are stressed they generate energy. Free-radicals are a byproduct of this energy and are typically disposed of by antioxidants. When we don't have sufficient antioxidants in our body, it causes an excess of free-radicals that have the potential to damage our DNA. Free radicals are the culprits behind many different illnesses. An excess of free radicals can lead to Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, or other ailments. Scientists believe that CBD’s neuroprotective antioxidant capacity is similar to that of Vitamins E and C. If this is true, CBD has the potential to combat oxidative damage to the brain, preventing various illnesses.

Does CBD Work to Get You “High”?

A woman blowing vape smoke out from a penThere is a myriad of benefits to using CBD, but one of the things people really appreciate is that it is completely non-psychoactive. Many people assume that because CBD comes from cannabis that it will make the user feel “high”. The plant that they are mistakenly relating CBD to is Marijuana; a species of cannabis plant. Marijuana contains high-concentrations of THC. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the highly psychoactive compound that’s responsible for making the user feel “high.” Hemp and Marijuana are from the same family and contain a similar group of compounds but in very different concentrations. Marijuana typically has low concentrations of CBD and lots of THC. Hemp has very high concentrations of CBD, but virtually no THC. Industrial hemp (the plants CBD used for CBD extraction) is defined by the government as having less than 0.2% THC. This minuscule amount of THC is nowhere near enough to elicit a psychoactive reaction. This means that it's impossible for CBD to make the user feel “high”. CBD products offer your brain the opportunity to experience the incredible benefits of cannabis without any of the hazy side effects on the brain. This makes CBD a diverse and accessible compound with incredible potential.

The Unique Effects of Cannabidiol

Everyone uses CBD for something different. Some people use these products as a way to manage general wellness, and others use it as a natural way of treating specific ailments.  CBD is incredibly diverse and one of the things people love about it is the unique set of benefits they experience. You might find that CBD helps you sleep better at night, or that it helps immensely with your aches and pains. Everyone feels something different from CBD and these unique effects are believed to be quite beneficial for the brain.

So, Does CBD Work?

In the short period of time that CBD has been legal scientists have been making huge amounts of progress towards understanding how it affects our brains. Though we have learned a lot, the effects of CBD on the brain still remain a mystery. The way CBD affects our brain has yet to be articulated in any scientific fashion, but that doesn't mean the benefits aren't real. All of the research that goes into understanding CBD has been inspired by the testimonials of millions of people. These products may not be fully understood, but the proof is in the pudding.

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