The Health Benefits of CBD

With receptors located throughout the body, the Endocannabinoid System, named for the plant that lead to its discovery, is one of the most important parts in the central nervous system. The system controls a great many physiological processes but is also in charge of psychological responses and reactions as well. The use of CBD oil has vast medicinal benefits and effects on the Endocannabinoid System but what is really going on inside our bodies. How does CBD oil play a role in our health and well being?

The Endocannabinoid System is located in the peripheral nervous system but has its largest concentration in the brain. There are two types of receptors in the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), cannabinoid receptor type 1 or CB1 and cannabinoid receptor type 2, CB2. Both receptor types are located in the brain but it is the CB1 receptors that are most abundant there. CB1 receptors have been found in the…

-cerebral cortex – controls decision making, cognition and emotions.

-caudate nucleus – controls learning and memory.

-putamen – regulates some movements and learning processes.

-globus pallidus – regulates voluntary movement.

-amygdala – responsible for stress and anxiety, emotions, pain and fear

-hypothalamus – regulates body temperature, neuroendocrine function and feeding

-hippocampus – also looks after memory and learning

-cerebellum – controls motor function and coordination

-dorsal Vargas complex – controls emesis (nausea and vomiting)

Knowing CBD oils ability to interact with these regions of the brain, is important in helping understand how it offers the benefits that it does. The CB1 and CB2 receptors are a different type of nerve receptor as well. Instead of sending signals from the brain to the organs and extremities, it is a retrograde receptor system in which anandamide and 2-AG travel from a postsynaptic cell body to a presynaptic neuron delivering signals from the body to the brain. CBD doesn’t have an affinity for binding to CB1 and CB2 receptors but instead binds to anandamide and 2-AG in order to penetrate the surface of the receptors cell membrane. Once in the receptor cells, CBD oil affects the rate at which neurotransmitters pass between the nerve ends. CBD acts to modulate the receptor and return it to a state of balance by antagonizing or inhibiting the nerve ends. 

Some of CBD oils benefits are seen, not just in its interaction with the CB1 and CB2 receptors. In fact, CBD is able to bind to other receptor systems throughout the body, activating the receptors and conferring many different physiological reactions. CBD oil directly effects and activates the 5HT1A (hydroxytryptamine) receptor, causing an anti anxiety effect. CBD can also directly interact with several ion channels to create therapeutic benefits. By binding to the TRPV1 (transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V) CBD can mediate inflammation, body temperature and pain perception and when CBD binds to the GRP55 orphan receptor, it acts as an antagonist, blocking or essentially deactivating the receptor. GRP55 are classified as an orphan receptor because it is not yet understood if this receptor type belongs to any one neurological system. The GRP55 receptors are mainly concentrated in the cerebellum and modulate blood pressure as well as bone density. Overactive GPR55 receptors have been linked to osteoporosis and cancer proliferation so deactivating the receptor mitigates the damage caused by bone loss and the spread of cancerous cells. 

CBD oils cancer fighting benefits are further bolstered by its ability to bind to and activate peroxisome proliferator activated receptors (PPARS). The activation of the PPARS receptors induces the anti-proliferation and reduction of cancer cells as well as degrading, or destroying the amyloid-beta plaque, which is a key molecule in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. CBD oils anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety benefits come from its ability to inhibit the uptake of the neurotransmitter adenosine. By slowing the uptake of adenosine, CBD increases the levels of this neurotransmitter in the brain which helps regulate A1A and A2A receptor activity. A1A and A2A receptors are responsible for regulating cardiovascular function, myocardial oxygen consumption of the body and coronary blood flow but also have broad anti-inflammatory benefits throughout the body as well.

CBD oil gets some of its calming effects from its ability to be an allosteric modulator. As mentioned above, CBD oil enhances or inhibits the release of neurotransmitter signals by changing the shape of the receptor itself. When it binds to the GABA-A receptor, it increases the ability of that receptor to bind with its primary endogenous antagonist, gamma-Aminobutyric acid. Changing the shape of the GABA receptor increases the natural calming effects of GABA.

There are several ways to get CBD oil to absorb into the bloodstream but they all differ slightly depending on the benefits that are trying to be attained. CBD oil tincture is an emulsion of crude CBD oil, either full spectrum or isolate, and some form of suspension medium. Currently hemp seed oil and medium-chain triglyceride are popular choices because they too have additional health benefits to offer. CBD oil tincture is simply a liquid that can be taken sublingually, under the tongue, so it can soak into the many vessels located in the mouth. This delivery system takes longer to assimilate into the bloodstream than vaporizing CBD oil but its effects last longer over time, in some cases, up to 8 hours. When vapourized, CBD oil takes effect almost instantly, generally within 30-90 seconds and the concentration of CBD in the bloodstream spikes very early also. This means that the effects of vapourized CBD oil are intense for the first portion of the dose but taper quickly and are gone usually 3-5 hours after dosing. Vaporizing CBD is a good option for crisis situations like anxiety attacks or pain spikes. For localized joint and muscle pain, arthritis, as well as eczema, psoriasis and anti-aging potential, applying a CBD oil topical formulation directly to the skin is the most effective way to get the benefits of CBD oil to the exact location needed. The relief from topicals is relatively fast acting and its effects last as long as CBD oil tincture, on average. These are just three of the many delivery systems for CBD oil and as our understanding of CBD oils benefits for our body grows, so will the development of future products and absorption methods.

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