Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound that is present in hemp, a close relative of marijuana. It is nonpsychoactive—meaning, it doesn’t make people feel stoned. CBD is also known to have various medical benefits that can help relieve patients from pain, inflammation, anxiety, lethargy, and other conditions. When taken, CBD allows a person to feel relaxed without the intoxication.
The unique neurological effects of CBD are key to this supplement’s growing popularity.
Why does THC get you high but not CBD?
Despite being chemical cousins, THC and CBD have very different effects. The primary difference is that THC get you high while CBD does not. This is because THC and CBD affect our endocannabinoid system (ECS) in different ways. The major ECS receptor in the brain, CB1, is activated by THC but not CBD. In fact, CBD can get in the way of compounds like THC, preventing them from activating the CB1 receptor. This is why the THC:CBD ratio is so important for influencing the effects of cannabis products.
What makes CBD different from THC and other cannabinoids?
CBD is notably different from other cannabinoids, or chemicals which are found in hemp and cannabis. While all other cannabinoids interact with two significant receptors in the nervous system, CB1 and CB2, CBD has very little effect on both of them. CB1 receptors are found in different parts of the brain, including those concerned with emotion, sensory perception, memory, and cognition.
CBD may also moderate the effects of THC. While some people report anxiety from consuming marijuana, strains which are high in CBD tend to cause less of these effects. CBD itself may be beneficial in the treatment of anxiety.
How CBD works in the brain?
CBD produces effects through various molecular pathways. I have already mentioned that CBD does not really bind with two of the cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, it acts through several different receptor-independent channels. CBD enhances and inhibits the binding action of certain protein-coupled receptors.
Listed below are some of the receptor systems and their relationship with CBD.
CBD targets a specific serotonin receptor, the serotonin 1A receptor. Its affinity with this receptor is associated with a lot of CBD’s therapeutic properties.
Take note that serotonin receptors regulate the release of hormones like cortisol, which is responsible for metabolism and reactions to stress, and oxytocin, which affects social behavior. Serotonin receptors also affect a person’s mood, cognition, and appetite.
Enhancing the activation of serotonin 1A receptors supports the theory of how CBD impedes certain problems and disorders such as neuropathic pain, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and nausea from chemotherapy.
CBD binds to TRPV1 receptors, which are also called vanilloid receptors, to achieve a therapeutic effect. As an ion channel, TRPV1 plays a role in thermoregulation (temperature regulation), inflammation, and the perception of pain.
GPR55 is called the orphan receptor because researchers are still not sure if it belongs to a larger receptor family tree. It is involved in the process of modulating blood pressure, bone reabsorption, and bone density.
When it is overactive, GPR55 may cause osteoporosis. GPR55 also contributes to the multiplication and migration of cancer cells. CBD blocks GPR55 signaling. This could affect the likelihood of cancer cells proliferating under the right conditions.
Peroxisome proliferator activated receptors (PPARs), also known as “nuclear receptors,” are activated by CBDs to produce an anticancer effect. They are found on the surface of the cell’s nucleus. When activating a receptor known as PPAR-gamma, an antiproliferative effect begins. Its activation also causes tumors to regress in lung cancer cell lines.
Therapeutic effect CBD on the brain
CBD has therapeutic properties that can aid individuals facing both physically and psychologically related problems.
ANXIETY, STRESS, AND DEPRESSION
While THC can amplify the anxiety in some people, a study done by Neurotherapeutics suggests that CBD can help lessen the anxiety felt by people with particular anxiety disorder. The neurological effects of CBD could lead to it being used as a supplement to existing treatments like pharmaceutical drugs.
A study posted in Epilepsia suggested that CBD is able to treat epilepsy and neuropsychiatric disorders. Since CBD has antiseizure properties, it has a low risk of adverse side effects on people who already have epilepsy. Because of this, there are more and more studies being conducted with the focus to treat many of the disorders linked to epilepsy, such as neuronal injury, neurodegeneration, and psychiatric diseases.
Since CBD can help reduce anxiety, this, in turn, can help out with sleep difficulties. It may increase the overall amount spent sleeping by subduing chronic pain and insomnia. At a small dosage, CBD induces wakefulness and reduces daytime sleepiness, but heavy doses taken a few hours before bedtime have a balancing effect that often leads to a good night’s sleep.
CBD and Brain Injury
Damage caused by traumatic injuries can cause temporary damage to the brain and affect various nervous functions. If not treated properly and in a timely manner, temporary brain and nerve damage can become permanent. Researchers believe a consistent CBD regimen can help protect against injury damage and improve recovery.
How CBD Protects the Brain from Itself
Recent scientific findings also suggest CBD shows promising benefits for spinal cord injuries and diseases, strokes, and neuron-degenerative diseases. While research is still being conducted to determine the exact benefits of CBD on neurological disorders, it is believed the neuron-protective properties of CBD may help slow down or prevent the progression of conditions like multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s.