Cannabis is arguably the most popular herb in the world. Many people know cannabis as a recreational herb that people smoke to get high. But cannabis is also beneficial and has medicinal properties.
The medicinal use of cannabis is not new to humanity. Many traditional societies in Asia, South America, and Africa used cannabis for medicinal purposes. Recent scientific studies now confirm that cannabis indeed has specific therapeutic properties.
Cannabis contains several cannabinoids, including cannabidiol (CBD). CBD can be extracted from both hemp or marijuana. You can easily buy marijuana seeds in 2020 and grow your own.
The cannabinoids found in cannabis, mainly CBD, are what contain its medicinal properties. CBD has many uses, including the management of pain and anxiety disorders.
What is CBD?
CBD is a cannabinoid extracted from the buds and flowers of the hemp plant. The majority of people associate marijuana with a ‘high’ effect. CBD, however, will not get you high since it is not psychoactive.
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When buying CBD, read the label to ensure that you do not buy full-spectrum CBD products. Full-spectrum oils contain all the chemicals found in cannabis, so such products might get you high.
Broad-spectrum or CBD isolate products contain mainly CBD with the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) limited to 0.3%. THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid and is what causes the ‘high’ when you consume marijuana.
How CBD Works?
The human body has an internal endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system works to maintain homeostasis and plays a critical role in the immune system. The ECS ensures that everything is under control and adjusts the body’s adaptation to external stressors.
The endocannabinoids found in the body are similar in chemical composition and activity to the cannabinoids found in cannabis. The phytocannabinoids produced by plants can activate, supplement, regulate the endocannabinoid system.
Endocannabinoids dominate the central nervous, immune, reproductive, and digestive systems. Due to their presence in these areas, scientists believe that endocannabinoids play a significant role in conditions and diseases associated with these systems.
Studies show that endocannabinoids regulate inflammation, metabolism, neurotransmitter, and mitochondrial function. The endocannabinoid system also regulates the immune system, memory, appetite, mood, and cell regeneration.
CBD for Inflammation and Pain
The endocannabinoid system comprises the endogenous cannabinoids and their receptors (CB1 and CB2). CB1 receptors are primarily found in the brain, while CB2 receptors are dominant in the immune cells and the periphery.
When you take cannabinoids from cannabis, they act on these receptors, triggering the same events as endocannabinoids.
2-Arachidonoylglycerol is an endocannabinoid and a ligand that binds to both CB1 and CB2 receptors. CBD is the phytocannabinoid equivalent of 2-Arachidonoylglycerol. The action of CBD in the body depends on its ability to affect these two receptors.
In addition to CB1 and CB2, CBD also binds to other receptors. For example, CBD is a vanilloid receptor TRPV-1 agonist. This is a cation channel expressed mainly in sensory nerve fibers and nonneuronal cells, including smooth muscle cells.
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The action of CBD on vanilloid receptor TRPV-1 triggers a biochemical chain reaction during the perception of pain. This is one of the ways in which CBD interacts with the body to alleviate pain. The majority of people who use CBD use it for managing chronic pain, such as arthritis.
CBD also affects cytokines, a group of molecules critical in the inflammatory process. Studies show that CBD reduces the effects of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which play an essential role in reducing inflammation and related pain.
Inflammation plays a key role in many debilitating conditions and diseases. Diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, various autoimmune conditions, celiac disease, asthma, and allergies all have a root cause in inflammation. Scientists also believe that inflammation has a crucial function in the development of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Research has shown that CBD effectively protects cells against the harmful effects of inflammation in multiple sclerosis.
CBD For Stress and Anxiety
As a cannabinoid, CBD activates the ECS. The ECS has a natural transmitter called anandamide, which causes happiness. This chemical is what causes ‘runner’s high’. When CBD activates the ECS, the levels of anandamide increases, causing a blissful feeling. This explains why people get that good feeling effect when they take cannabis.
CBD has strong anxiolytic effects, which is what makes it effective in treating anxiety. CBD interacts with several receptors that regulate anxiety and depressive disorders. These receptors include cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1R), the transient receptor potential (TRP) vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1) receptor, and the serotonin 5-HT1A receptor.
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CBD is known to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that are useful in treating a plethora of conditions. Until recently, the benefits of CBD remained unknown to the scientific world.
Research can now demonstrate how CBD interacts with the body and how it potentially affects different functions. What is known about CBD is only preliminary but shows promising results.
As research continues, we'll understand CBD's exact biochemistry, and CBD may become the panacea the human population has been searching for.