A human body structure with cbd background

How Does CBD Work In The Human Body?

Cannabidiol (CBD) has created significant interest among scientists and physicians in recent years, similarly as in users. But how CBD applies its therapeutic impact on a molecular level of the human body is still being examined and researched. CBD is a pleiotropic drug that creates many different effects through multiple molecular pathways. Scientific studies have discovered more than 65 molecular targets of CBD. So, how does CBD work? How does CBD oil work in the body?

This article lets you in on CBD and helps you understand how CBD works in the body and the endocannabinoid system. Also, know how CBD might already be in your body even without taking it.

What is CBD?

CBD is the second-most well-known among more than 100 natural cannabinoids compounds found in the cannabis plant. As one of the major phytocannabinoids of cannabis, CBD occupies up to 40% of the plant’s extract. CBD does not have intoxicating effects and may even dampen the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In its raw form in the plant, CBD exists as cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), which becomes CBD after aging or decarboxylation (heating).

Now, knowing which receptors CBD affects, including how, where and why CBD works, is key to understanding its medical uses and more benefits.

What is the Endocannabinoid System?

The Project CBD, a California-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting and publicizing research in CBD, defines the endocannabinoid system as a biochemical communication system in the human body that plays a vital role in regulating our physiology, mood, and everyday experience. This complex system is comprised of cannabinoid receptors reacting to the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. One can’t get high or enjoy any medical benefits of marijuana without the help of our endocannabinoid system.

The endocannabinoid system is an intricate biological system in the human body, which was discovered by medical researchers in the 1990s when researchers set out to study a series of plant-like molecules created by the human body. But much about how it works and its interactions are still unknown. The discovery of the endocannabinoid system within the body is relatively new. The human body produces endogenous cannabinoids, including anandamide, n-arachidonoyl dopamine (NADA), 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), and virodhamine (OAE).

The endocannabinoid system consists of enzymes, receptors, and endocannabinoids. These components work regardless of whether someone uses CBD or not. There exist two types of receptors– CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are found primarily in the central nervous system governing coordination, movement, pain, appetite, memory, mood, and other functions. The CB2 receptors are prevalent in the peripheral nervous system- in white blood cells, tonsils, the spleen, and immune cells influencing pain and inflammation.

How CBD Works in the Human Body

CBD impacts the human body largely by binding to proteins, or receptors, on the surface of body cells, thereby initiating certain physiological responses. The nervous system has cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. THC interacts more extensively with cannabinoid receptors, but CBD does not seem to bind strongly to these receptors.

Human Body

Rather, it appears to achieve its effects by binding to other non-cannabinoid receptors, like serotonin receptors, which influence mood, pain, and sleep. Teaera Roland of Lotus Health suggests that CBD modulates the 5ht serotonin receptor, which can treat psychotic disorders and affect the TRPV1 receptor responsible for pain and inflammation.

In the case of epilepsy, a key finding is the impact of CBD on sodium channels of the nerve cells. The abnormal movement of sodium in and out of cells in epilepsy can cause the brain cells to fire inappropriately and lead to seizures. Scientists at Indiana University have suggested that CBD can prohibit this problematic flow of sodium, reducing and minimizing seizures.

THC directly stimulates two cannabinoid receptors- CB1 and CB2, but CBD works differently. CBD doesn’t directly interact with those two cannabinoid receptors that many cannabinoids, like THC or CBG, interact with. Rather, CBD interacts with the endocannabinoids- the endogenous cannabinoids.

CBD prevents cannabinoids from being broken down and allows them to build up in the brain. CBD does not get you high since it’s non-psychoactive, having a low risk of unpleasant side effects than THC. In the human body, enzymes break down cannabinoids, but CBD prevents these enzymes from working normally to keep the cannabinoids in the body. This performance of CBD brings physical and mental health benefits for many people.

Is CBD Already in Your Body?

An endogenous type of cannabidiol is found already existing in our bodies. CBD is regarded as a phytocannabinoid since it is of plant origin. Our bodies produce endocannabinoids that originate from inside. So, we don’t produce the natural CBD, but we produce another kind of cannabinoid mimicking CBD.

Our endocannabinoids engage our ECS internally, and CBD, after being introduced, similarly begin signaling our Endocannabinoid System into action. There are two endocannabinoids that have been expertly identified within our bodies- anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG).

Final Thoughts

Many cannabinoids bind directly to the CB1 or CB2 receptors, but CBD does neither. Rather, it affects other receptors like GPR55 and PPARs while altering the endocannabinoid receptors. CBD is remarkably a complex cannabinoid, and its interaction with the endocannabinoid system requires deep research to reveal its full potential.

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