How does CBD work?

<div class="art__box">                 <img width="180" src="">                 <span>Dr Efe Opone</span>             </div>

Dr Efe Opone

MBBS / BSc Sports and Exercise Medicine

CBD is a slowly growing market that helps people every day, but many people still do not know what the product does, let alone is! Many people think that CBD is like marijuana, but in reality, the product does so much more than just give you a “high”. CBD has been used to help treat and ease a variety of physical and mental issues. The current usage rates of CBD from a study in 2020 show that 21% of the US population use CBD every day. So, what exactly is this miracle substance called CBD?

CBD, short for Cannabidiol, has many forms of usage- with the most popular being the CBD oil. There is no one simple answer to how CBD works, as many researchers and scientists have discovered over 60 molecular targets of CBD within our bodies. One of the most commonly known ways CBD works is via our  endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is constantly active, regardless of CBD within our bodies. ECS helps regulate our internal processes like mood, sleep, metabolism & our immune system. These Endocannabinoids are very similar to the chemical structure of CBD. Now within this ECS we produce 2 receptors called CB1 & CB2, which the Endocannabinoids and CBD attach to. CB1 can be found within our central nervous system, whilst CB2 can be found in the peripheral nervous system. The enzymes our body produces help break down the endocannabinoids that have done their job in regulating our bodies. CBD essentially helps these  endocannabinoids from breaking down and thus having a greater positive effect on your body.  

There have been various studies trying to source how CBD works on our bodies, with researchers at Sao Paolo University & Kings College London conducting research to study the anti-anxiety effect CBD gives. They found that at high concentrations of CBD can help activate 5-HT1A (hydroxy tryptamine), which is a serotonin receptor, which helps reduce the impact of anxiety. This helps with more than just anxiety, as these receptors help with addiction, appetite, sleep, pain perception nausea and vomiting. 

Another additional receptor that CBD has been linked with is the GR55 receptor, also known as an “orphan receptor” due to scientists not knowing if it belongs to a larger family of receptors or not. GR55 is found within the cerebellum area of the brain, helping control blood pressure, bone density and other psychological processes. However, in this case CBD actually helps deactivate GR55. An overactive GR55 receptor is a tell-tale sign of osteoporosis. GR55 when activated also facilitates cancer cell multiplication according to a 2010 study done by the Chinese academy of science. In this regard, CBD impacting GR55 in a negative way turns out as a positive, as it helps keep cancer cell growth down & bone reabsorption down as well.

CBD is well known for aiding cancer patients in pain relief, being deployed within various medical institutions including the NHS. This is due to attaching to the PPARS (peroxisome proliferator activated receptors), which has an anti-growth effect, as well as an ability to help reduce the tumour size within lung cancer. CBD also helps alleviate the development of Alzheimer’s disease as seen in this study. This is why a lot of studies are being conducted with CBD towards dementia and Alzheimer’s, as it has been shown to have a positive effect in helping reduce symptoms of those who suffer from the diseases.  PPARs have also been studied to help certain metabolic functions & has been shown to have a positive reaction to those suffering from diabetes, suggesting that a CBD rich diet can help with their symptoms. 

CBD has gained infamy in aiding consumers with anti-inflammatory problems. It does this by aiding our body in our adenosine intake, which helps block electric signals to the heart that may cause irregular heart rhythms. This system also helps CBD positively impact on anti-anxiety symptoms. It does this by boosting the adenosine intake to the brain, increasing the receptor activity within our body. These receptors play a significant role within our bodies blood flow system, regulating blood to heart oxygen consumption & coronary blood flow. These receptors also have a broad anti-inflammatory trait across the human body.

Many people also associate CBD with the more commonly known name of the source plant- marijuana. Whilst they are from the same source, CBD stems from this plant, but does not have the same psychoactive effects to our body and brain that marijuana does.  Here is how CBD and marijuana are different.

The substance known as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the chemical which places people within a psychoactive state- also known as getting “high”. Many CBD products do have THC in them and the association with the source plant has meant that many people have linked the effects one might get from marijuana with CBD. Whilst there is THC within CBD products, the percentage of THC has been limited to such a small dosage that it could not possibly create any psychoactive effects like marijuana would. The global regulation for CBD is to have less than 1% THC within the product, with the majority of products having a 0.2% or 0.3% level {insert our lab report link}.  Due to having such a low level of THC, there is no chance that CBD can get you high, especially as there is a daily intake suggestion depending on the strength of the CBD. However, if THC is a concern there are many products, including ours, that make THC free variants of CBD oils. 

There are still numerous studies and research behind how CBD impacts our body & the complex systems within, both positively and negatively. Whilst these studies continue, we will see the full scope and potential of CBD for the human body.

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