What Is CBD ?
CBD is one of over 60 compounds found in cannabis that belong to a class of
ingredients called cannabinoids. Until recently, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) was getting most of the attention because it’s the ingredient in cannabis that produces mind-altering effects in users, but CBD is also present in high concentrations — and the medical world is realising that its list of medical benefits continues to grow.
CBD is the major non psychoactive component of Cannabis sativa. According to a 2013 study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, CBD benefits
including acting in some experimental models as an anti-inflammatory,
anticonvulsant, antioxidant, antiemetic, anxiolytic and anti-psychotic agent, and is therefore a potential medicine for the treatment of neuroinflammation, epilepsy, oxidative injury, vomiting and nausea, anxiety and schizophrenia.
Research is beginning to show that CBD is different than other well-studied
cannabinoids. All cannabinoids act as ligands, meaning they dock onto the binding site of a protein and have the ability to modulate a receptor’s behaviour.
CB1 receptors are widely distributed, but are particularly abundant in areas of the brain, including those concerned with movement, coordination, pain and sensory perception, emotion, memory, cognition, autonomic and endocrine functions.
CB2 receptors are found mostly in the immune system, and they seem to reduce inflammation and certain kinds of pain. Although cannabinoids all have similar structures, they display a wide array of actions at each of the different receptors.
However, scientists are finding out that CBD has very little effect on CB1 and CB2 receptors, which probably explains why it doesn’t have mind-altering effects, unlike THC, which positively regulates the CB1 receptor. That’s why most marijuana grown for recreational purposes are typically very low in CBD and high in THC.
How Does CBD Work
CBD or cannabidiol is the main active compound in hemp and unlike THC, it is not
psychoactive, so it doesn’t make you high. As you may know, inside the human body there’s the endocannabinoid system, with receptors spread throughout the brain and body. THC activates the CB1 and CB2 receptors, while CBD does not directly
stimulate these receptors.
Cannabinoid receptors are involved in a series of processes inside the human body, including the regulation of mood, pain sensation, appetite and memory.
These receptors can be activated by endocannabinoids (produced by the human body) as well as by plant cannabinoids (like those found in hemp or cannabis), and they’re grouped in two main categories: CB1 and CB2.
CB1 receptors are found mostly in the central nervous system, and in smaller
numbers in the liver, kidneys and lungs, while CB2 receptors are part of the immune system and found in the hematopoietic blood cells as well. CB1 play a role in the production and release of neurotransmitters, cannabis products that exert
psychoactive effects stimulating these receptors .
At the same time, CB1 receptors are involved in the lipogenesis process that takes place inside the liver, and seem to play a role in the maintenance of homeostasis (body’s internal equilibrium). Various studies suggest that CB1 also influence
pleasure, concentration and appetite, memory and pain tolerance .
CB2 receptors on the other hand affect the immune system, being involved in a
variety of functions like immune suppression or apoptosis (programmed cell death). Studies suggest that CB2 modulate the pain sensation and could play a role in various diseases, from liver and kidney problems to neurodegenerative diseases.