What Are CBD and Cannabinoid Receptors?
According to an article in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, cannabinoids have the potential to treat many medical conditions. These conditions include neuropsychological disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. Additionally, the National Institute of Health published several clinical studies showing that cannabinoids can treat heart disease, diabetes, and more. Cannabinoids (substances derived from the cannabis plant) work with cannabinoid receptors in the body. As scientists research the relationship between CBD and cannabinoid receptors more and more, we see how useful CBD can be.
What is CBD?
Before learning how CBD and cannabinoid receptors work together, it’s essential to understand what CBD is. While cannabis and cannabinoid research is ongoing, we have been using the cannabis plant for centuries. The cannabis plant has several components, which people use for different purposes:
- Hemp: This is the fiber produced from the stem of the cannabis plant. People use hemp in jewelry, clothing, and paper products, and more. Hemp plants are cannabis plants bred to have minimal THC.
- Terpenes: These aromatic compounds give cannabis its unique smell and flavor. Myrcene is the primary terpene in cannabis.
- THC: Tetrahydrocannabinol is the psychoactive chemical found in the cannabis plant. When people talk about marijuana plants, they are typically referring to cannabis plants with high levels of THC. THC alters your mental state
- CBD: Also called “cannabidiol,” CBD is the second chemical extracted from the cannabis plant. It does NOT produce a “high” feeling. The World Health Organization declared that CBD has no public health risk or abuse potential when used alone. They base their recommendations on the cannabis and cannabinoid research performed by scientists around the world.
How do CBD and Cannabinoid Receptors Work?
So now that you know what CBD is, how does it work in the body? Recent clinical cannabis and cannabinoid research is promising for many different types of patients and their families.
As noted, CBD does not give you a “high” feeling. However, CBD works by affecting the endocannabinoid (EC) system in your brain. Your brain cells (neurons) communicate by sending chemical messages to one another. The pre-synaptic neuron sends the message, and the post-synaptic neuron receives the message. Then, the post-synaptic neuron may pass the message on by taking a pre-synaptic role and communicating with the next cell. Imagine it like skipping a rock across a pond. The message jumps from neuron to neuron so that your body can move, speak, feel, etc. Instead of a stone, your cells use chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin to communicate.
Additionally, this communication triggers neurons that produce another type of chemical called cannabinoids. They travel backward from the post-synaptic cell to the pre-synaptic cell to regulate the flow of the messages. In other words, naturally-produced cannabinoids work like a traffic cop, monitoring the speed and density of traffic. Learn more about how neurotransmitters work.
Cannabis and cannabinoid research shows that CBD does not attach to CB1 and CB2 receptors. So, it does not overwhelm the system like some other drugs might. Instead, it works indirectly to support your natural cannabinoids. Therefore, studies suggest you could see medical benefits with therapeutic CBD use.
Is CBD Right for You?
Every person’s body is different. While you should consult your doctor, the National Institute of Health suggests CBD can help with many clinical problems. These include mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, both chronic and acute (stress-related). Also, cannabis and cannabinoid research suggests it can help with physical medical conditions like multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and arthritis. Some studies suggest it can also help with substance abuse withdrawal. Of course, people also use CBD to combat all types of chronic and acute pain.