How Does CBD Work
This week we look at how CBD works with your body and its affect on the endocannabinoid system.
Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is one of the most abundant components in cannabis plants. It has been gaining traction over the recent years due to its therapeutic benefits. CBD is a phytocannabinoid extracted from hemp plants. Unlike marijuana, hemp doesn’t contain THC (psychoactive compound) which gives a high. Hemp contains no more than 0.3% of THC.
Now that you know what CBD is, let’s see how it works in our system. Cannabinoids are capable of interacting with our body and brain through the endocannabinoid system. (ECS)
What is the endocannabinoid system?
The endocannabinoid system is a complex biological system in the human body. The ECS was discovered in the 1990s by scientists who were doing plant molecules research. It plays a significant role in balancing the essential functions in the body, including sleep, appetite, mood, bowel movements and much more.
While ECS is a complex network of cell receptors and neurotransmitters, it is responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the body. Cannabinoid receptors are known to be found all over the body with considerable concentrations in the nervous system, central, and immune system.
Thanks to the endocannabinoid system, whenever something wrong happens to your body’s health, the ECS will release cannabinoids which aid in restoration. However, endocannabinoids may be deficient in our systems leading to EC syndrome.
What is Endocannabinoid Deficiency?
Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD) is a condition where you produce fewer cannabinoids than required in the body. If the body is not capable of maintaining the body’s balance, diseases linked to the immune system can occur. Some of the conditions that are as a result of lack of cannabinoid include migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, and fibromyalgia.
The ECS has three major components:
- Enzymes may appear in a variety of forms, but only two are responsible for breaking endocannabinoids. There are two major enzymes in the ECS: FAAH that breaks down anandamide and MAGL that breaks down 2-AG. Such enzymes make sure endocannabinoids are used when needed.
- Cannabinoid receptors are found on the surface of the cell, which maintains the functions of the body. Generally, it ‘listens’ to the conditions outside the cell and transmits information about the changing conditions, thus kickstarting cellular responses.
The two primary cannabinoid receptors include CB1 and CB2 receptors. We’ll explain this further later in this article.
- Endocannabinoids are molecules that interact and trigger cannabinoid receptors. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), endocannabinoids are produced naturally by cells in the human body.
There are two primary endocannabinoids which included: anandamide and 2-AG, which are created from fat-like molecules around the cell membranes and synthesized when needed.
CBD and Endocannabinoid system
The body naturally releases its own endocannabinoids to support the body system. However, they may be deficient, just like any other nutrient and will need support. Now, this is where cannabis comes in – cannabis plants produce phytocannabinoids that interact with the endocannabinoid system. While CBD is a phytocannabinoid derived from the hemp plant, it doesn’t bind to receptors in the ECS.
That being said, the endocannabinoid system has two receptors which interact with CBD. They include:
- Cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1)
CB1 receptors are primarily present in the central nervous system and are responsible for the healthy functioning of the brain. Their location in the brain determines how they will affect your mood, memory, and response to pain. Although they can be found in several parts of the body, they are available in low densities.
- Cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2)
CB2 receptors are commonly present on cells in the immune system and associated structures such as the spleen and gastrointestinal system. Once the receptors are stimulated, they can affect how your body fights diseases and inflammation. However, it’s beneficial to people who take CBD for immune disorders or seeking to fight inflammation.
How does CBD interact with the Endocannabinoid system
Just like all cannabinoids, CBD influences CB1 and CB2 receptors but doesn’t interact directly. While some cannabinoids like THC interact directly, CBD is way different. Instead, CBD interacts directly with cannabinoid receptors, thus known as ‘indirect antagonists’.
CBD causes chemical changes by obstructing CB receptors in the body. It also works to increase the level of anandamide in the system, which is broken down by fatty acid amide hydrolase.
With such interactions, CBD increases the body’s endocannabinoids which supports the endocannabinoid system to keep the body’s functions running smoothly.
CBD is an exceptional cannabinoid, and its interaction with the endocannabinoid system requires more research. While it plays a primary role in keeping your body system stable, it’s essential to have a better understanding of ECS.