2 Ways CBD Affects the Brain

With more and more people opening their eyes to the therapeutic effects of CBD, many are curious as to HOW it affects our brains. Cannabidiol (or CBD) doesn’t have the same psychoactive effects as tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC)¹. You won’t get “high” from intaking CBD even though it still comes from a cannabis plant. So, if you’re not getting high, what happens to your brain if it isn’t producing psychoactive effects? This article seeks to provide you will all the information you need on how CBD affects the brain.

1CBD Increases Your Brain’s Cannabinoids

The brain is so complicated, scientists still don’t understand every aspect of how it works. With that, it’s impossible to fully comprehend how CBD interacts with it. Still, there’s enough information to give us an idea.

Within our brains is something known as the endocannabinoid system (ENS)². This system naturally processes two distinct cannabinoid receptors throughout the entire nervous system. These receptors are CB1 and CB2.

When you intake CBD, it attaches itself to both CB1 and CB2 receptors and decreases their response time throughout the nervous system. So, if that’s the case, then how can CBD have such therapeutical effects?

The answer may lie in a variety of other chemicals that respond to cannabidiol.

For example, there’s a receptor known as 5-HT1A that has a strong effect on our serotonin neurotransmission. This chemical plays a major role in our mood and is often connected to certain mental illnesses, such as anxiety and depression³.

Since 5HT1A interacts with our body’s natural endocannabinoids and CBD has the ability to increase the body’s cannabinoids, it’s believed cannabidiol might hold the potential to naturally raise serotonin levels.

2CBD Is Not Limited To The Cannabinoids

CBD is miraculous in the sense that it can go beyond our endocannabinoid system.

For example, research has found evidence that CBD distorts opioid receptors. In turn, many scientists are seeking out whether or not it can be used to treat opioid addictions⁴. This concept was furthered when it was found that CBD also interacts with dopamine, the chemical that makes us feel as though we’ve achieved a reward.

In another example, CBD has the ability to bind with TRPV1 receptors. These are vital to regulating our body temperature, inflammation, and tolerance to pain. It’s due to this interaction that CBD has been used as a treatment for both chronic pain, epilepsy, and spasmodic conditions.

Final Thoughts

Research is still limited in how much it can tell us about CBD’s interaction with the brain. Since the brain is such a complicated vessel, there’s a lot of areas to look into which scientists haven’t had the time to do. Primarily due to prohibition.

But now with more research underway, it’s safe to say we’ll begin to learn more about CBD and the brain. And with this knowledge, we’ll have the ability to develop further forms of therapy for people suffering from a multitude of illnesses.

Reference Sources

¹ Dialogues in clinical neuroscience: Cannabis, cannabinoids, and health

² Rambam Maimonides Medical Journal: The Endocannabinoid System, Cannabinoids, and Pain

³ PubMed: Agnostic properties of cannabidiol at 5-HT1a receptors.

⁴ Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment: Cannabidiol as an Intervention for Addictive Behaviors

⁵ Arthritis research & therapy: Cannabinoid-based drugs targeting CB1 and TRPV1, the sympathetic nervous system, and arthritis

8 Examples Of What Cannabinoids Are

Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found within cannabis flowers that have been linked to a variety of therapeutic benefits, from pain and anxiety to inflammation and nausea.¹

Cannabinoids create these therapeutic effects by directly or indirectly influencing our endocannabinoid system. This system is responsible for a number of processes in the human body, including pain regulation and mood.²

Throughout this article, we’re going to observe the most common cannabinoids and discuss their therapeutic benefits. It’s important to note that there are over 100 cannabinoids found within the cannabis plant. With that, it’s important to keep in mind this list is only a basic analysis of some cannabinoids.

1Cannabichromine (CBC)

Cannabichromine is one of the less known and less active chemical compounds in the cannabis plant. Yet, it’s potential ability to inhibit cancer cell growth is currently a topic of discussion amongst scientists.³

This means CBC won’t have the ability to cure cancer. Rather, it may have the ability to stop cancer from spreading throughout other areas of the body.

CBC has also been found to be particularly helpful with pain relief and promoting healthy bone growth.

2Cannabidiol (CBD)

Cannabidiol is currently one of the most popular cannabinoids and for good reason. It’s non-psychoactive effects and long list of health benefits make it one of the most therapeutic cannabinoids.

Recent research has linked CBD to as a(n):⁴

  • Antibacterial
  • Anxiety reliever
  • Immune system inhibitor
  • Inhibitor of bacterial growth
  • Inhibitor of cancer cell growth
  • Neuro-protector
  • Pain reliever
  • Promoter of bone growth
  • Reducer of blood sugar levels
  • Reducer of chances with artery blockage
  • Reducer of inflammation
  • Reducer of nausea and vomiting
  • Reducer of seizures
  • Suppressor of muscle spasms
  • Tranquilizer

3Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA)

Cannabidiolic acid is what CBD starts out as before developing into the cannabinoid we know it for. CBDA is also a precursor to other cannabinoids on this list.

In and of itself, CBDA is believed to be able to impede on cancer cell growth and decrease inflammation.

4Cannabigerol (CBG)

Similar to CBD, cannabigerol is its own class of cannabinoid with its own set of similar therapeutic benefits. Currently, there’s only so much research that’s gone into CBG.

However, what we do know is CBG can help with sleeping problems (such as insomnia) and slow bacterial growth.

5Cannabigerolic Acid (CBGA)

Cannabigerolic acid is the precursor for the cannabinoid CBG and has been linked to pain relief and decreased inflammation.

6Tetrahydrocannabinl (Δ9-THC)

Tetrahydrocannabinol is the other most popular cannabinoid as it’s the main chemical ingredient in marijuana that produces the “high” effects. However, THC has also been found to stimulate the appetite while relieving nausea, vomiting, and pain.⁵

7Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (Δ9-THCA)

Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid is the precursor to THC and is believed to help those with sleep problems and reduce muscle spasms.

8Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)

Tetrahydrocannabivarin is apart of another class of cannabinoids but remains similar to tetrahydrocannabinol. It has been found to reduce the risks of convulsions and seizures while promoting healthy bone growth.

The Importance of Understanding Cannabinoids

By understanding cannabinoids, we’re allowing ourselves to better comprehend the cannabis plant as a whole. Public perception surrounding cannabis is unfortunately still stigmatized solely to marijuana and its psychoactive effects. Leaving many unaware of the many, non-psychoactive benefits the cannabis plant has to offer.

Furthermore, through an understanding of cannabinoids, medical professionals may have the ability to one day create proper medicine for specific diseases and illnesses. For example, since tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is better at curing nausea in comparison to other cannabinoids, a medical professional or scientist may one day be able to use the cannabinoid to one day create a promising medicine.

Reference Sources

¹ Dialogues in clinical neuroscience: Cannabis, cannabinoids, and health

² PubMed: Endocannabinoid system: An overview of its potential in current medical practice.

³ Oncotarget: Cannabinoids as therapeutic agents in cancer: current status and future implications

⁴ Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research: An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol 

⁵ NCCIH: Marijuana and Cannabinoids

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