CBD has shown many possible therapeutic benefits to date. It is nothing new in the sense that cannabis has shown a medicinal effect on the brain and overall health many years back. But the most worrying fact was that marijuana had high chances of drug abuse with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) being in high proportion. It also had several side effects that affected the mind and body.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive component found in both marijuana and hemp plant. Since marijuana is still not legal in many countries, industrial hemp is preferred to extract CBD. Moreover, hemp has less than 0.3 % of THC in the extract. CBD has shown various beneficial properties like anti-inflammation, analgesic, anti-seizure, anti-psychotic, anti-anxiety, and neuroprotective.
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The Functioning Of Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
The endocannabinoid system is a complex biological system where the endocannabinoid neurotransmitters interact with the cannabinoid receptors in our body to maintain homeostasis. It helps in regulating various functions of the body including immune response, appetite, metabolism, memory, cognition, and response to pain.
Since our body produces endogenous cannabinoids which are similar to the phytocannabinoids (derived from plant), the receptors treat it as one of the endocannabinoids. This makes it easy for CBD or THC to influence them.
The two major endocannabinoid receptors are CB1 and CB2. Each of these receptors is located in a specific area and influences different functions of the body. It is quite obvious that one particular cannabinoid can affect only specific receptors.
- CB1 Receptor
It is present in the whole body but is in high concentration in the central nervous system that is the brain and spinal cord. Therefore they can affect and regulate emotions, appetite, and processing of memory. It can produce other effects such as reducing nausea, stabilizing the immune system, and slowing down tumor growth.
- CB2 Receptor
The immunity system and peripheral nervous system house the CB2 receptors. They have anti-inflammatory functions and respond to repair tissues and encourage cell regeneration.
These receptors are highly capable of suppressing the immune response. In healthy people, it may be dangerous but in certain autoimmune diseases, this may prove to be quite beneficial.
CBD’s Effect on Central Nervous System Disorders
CBD does not bind with the CB1 receptors directly like THC; therefore it does not produce the negative psychoactive effect. Instead, it reduces the side effects THC can produce.
It mainly interacts with the CB2 receptors and acts as an anti-inflammatory, immunosuppressor, and immunomodulator.
CBD reduces the following neurological symptoms –
- Seizure and convulsion
- Stress and Anxiety
- Degenerative nerve cells
CBD’s potential therapeutic benefits need further in-depth clinical study.