Ok, so CBD is cannabis, but it’s not a drug, it’s even good for your health, and apparently it can cure a lot of things? that’s what it’s about, right? Everyone talks about CBD, praising it for all sorts of benefits, or on the contrary, worrying about the growing interest for this molecule… but in the end, what’s CBD? and concretely, what are its effects? Let’s take stock together.
Let’s go back to the origin of the debate: Cannabis. Like all plants, it contains several chemical substances. The ones in Cannabis are called cannabinoids, CBD and THC being the most famous.
And like most plants, these substances are not without effects on the human body. CBD, short for Cannabidiol, influences our endocannabinoid system. A complicated term, but the logic is much simpler. With the help of its various receptors, this system regulates the physiology and therefore the harmony inside the body, acting for example on blood pressure, temperature, and even memory and emotions. Like an orchestra conductor in charge of coordinating different instruments to obtain the right melody.
And that’s perfect, because CBD know the music of the human body like the back of its atoms. It will therefore mix with endocannabinoid receptors and influence the activity of the system.
Another great thing is CBD does not master only one score. It’s able to interact with many different systems and receptors, including the famous serotonin and dopamine, which are responsible for happiness and satisfaction.
CBD and THC
Though it comes from the same plant, CBD has nothing to do with THC, to which Cannabis is often reduced. Contrary to its cousin, the CBD does not have psychotropic effects. Concretely? No alteration of the senses or perception, and especially, no risk of dependence.
This difference is explained by the fact that the two molecules simply do not have the same posseys. THC will for example stimulate the CB1 receptors, which can cause feelings of euphoria as well as paranoia. A receptor which CBD does not even bother to exchange banalities with.
In addition to their differences, CBD even blocks some of THC’s negative effects, and compensates for them with its own connections or even directly reduces its influence on the receptors. CB1 is a very good example of this mechanism.
As its field of action suggests, CBD has a huge potential in medicine and psychiatry, which we’re not done discovering! Though the subject deserves to be deepened by additional works, some actions of CBD are more and more recognized and explored.
CBD and Anxiety
There is a reason why Cannabis is so often associated with relaxation. Most studies suggest that CBD could help relieve symptoms of anxiety. This is a very interesting lead given the extent of the phenomenon: anxiety affects more than one person out of ten. CBD could well become a serious alternative to treatments that can become addictive in some cases.
Faced with anxiety, CBD would act in particular on two receptors. On the one hand, it addresses the baroreceptor, responsible for blood pressure and therefore respiratory discomfort, and asks them to calm down. On the other hand, it taps the serotonin receptor, and gives them a little speech to motivate them to produce more serotonin. And the more serotonin there is, the better the mood!
CBD and Pain
We often see fictional characters claiming to use their Cannabis to treat a disease … except this excuse is much more credible than it seems. Numerous scientific works converge towards the fact that CBD would help relieve pain, in particular neuropathic and inflammatory pain. Just like anxiety, CBD could maybe one day replace part of heavier, pharmaceutical painkillers, which also can become addictive.
To understand how CBD can relieve pain, let’s start by taking a look at what causes it.
Neuropathic pain often occurs after a chronic illness or an accident, when the nerves no longer function properly. They then transmit pain signals without reason.
Following the same logic, inflammatory pain occurs when our bodies misinterpret the situation. As with nerves, communication is more difficult when certain cells are damaged by injury or chronic disease. And when the body senses damage, it automatically triggers inflammation. Action? Reaction. Damage? Inflammation. No need to dig deeper.
In both cases, the pain is caused by miscommunication. One of the culprits is glutamate – yes, the glutamate from Asian cuisine. This excitatory neurotransmitter, which is a perfectly decent PR manager under normal circumstances, is completely disrupted when there is damage, and then tells the neurons to trigger pain sensations.
To relieve cramps, tingling and other kinds of discomforts, the CBD will sit down and discuss with the glutamate, and gently explain that it has misunderstood the situation, and that there is no reason to stress these poor neurons out.
A mechanism that seems simple, presented like this, but is unique to Cannabis. Other anti-inflammatory drugs prefer to inhibit COX-1 and COX-2 receptors, thus increasing the risk of developing ulcers or heart problems.
CBD and Sleep
When you know that CBD can help relieve symptoms of anxiety and pain, the fact that it can also help with insomnia and sleep problems doesn’t seem all that unusual.
By acting on these parameters, CBD allows you to approach the sleep phase with more serenity and relaxation. And the more easily we fall asleep, the better we sleep, and as the lack of sleep plays on the stress, we win on all fronts.
But that’s an assumption you could have made without our help. Because CBD is not limited to sleep. It would also regulate the REM sleep phases, those during which dreams occur, for a less agitated sleep, and would contribute in general to extend the duration of sleep.
Weirdly enough, our cannabinoid would also promote sleep thanks to its stimulating effects. By increasing our alertness during the day, it prevents us from dozing off, thus improving the quality of our nights. Especially since a clearer separation between the phases of sleep and wakefulness helps to regulate the cycles.
CBD and Depression
Another cliché which, in the end, isn’t one: cannabis acts positively on mood and even depression by relying in particular on CBD. A benefit which, again, has the advantage of being able to replace pharmaceutical treatments – antidepressants – in certain cases.
CBD influences mood and depression in two ways.
Let’s start with the most obvious aspect. When you sleep better, relax more easily and have more energy during the day, it is easier to be in a better mood, especially since insomnia and lack of energy or too much agitation are symptoms of depression.
But CBD tackles these two problems more directly by influencing a well-known neurotransmitter: serotonin, also called the happiness hormone. A more reductive term than it seems, because beyond playing on the morale, serotonin influences several major physiological processes such as sleep and pain – as everything is related – but also appetite and sexual drive. Two aspects that are also affected by depression, because this disease can be caused by a disturbance in the production of serotonin. And that’s good, because CBD stimulates the serotonin receptors, helping the return to an optimal production.
A molecule that feels good
As you must have understood, CBD – which has been mentioned exactly 33 times in this article – conceals many benefits which are not yet fully understood. Especially since we have only focused here on the internal processes, and there are still many things to say about its role in cosmetics, especially for acne and skin aging. But CBD is above all a substance that can give you a good time, beyond its therapeutic interest. You don’t have to be sick to try CBD products!
The trick will be to find the right dosage, but we will talk about it together in a future article, in the meantime, do not hesitate to share and comment on this article and join us on the networks for more CBD-Related content!
Cake it easy,