CBD, or cannabidiol, is becoming well-known for its many health-promoting properties. But many people are still skeptical. CBD is still being researched with the hope of uncovering the science behind the effects that many people have claimed to experience.
As of now, CBD’s popularity has been built primarily by anecdotal evidence. While its use in medical treatment dates back a couple of centuries, but research into its properties has started more recently.
CBD was first extracted in the 1940s by a chemist named Roger Adams. But Adams didn’t extract it to look into its medical effects – he didn’t even know how useful or successful his work would become until people found interest in CBD years later.
Historically, cannabis plants, in which CBD is found, had been used by ancient emperors all the way back in BCE times. Cannabis was used back then to treat common ailments such as rheumatism and gout.
But despite its extensive history, many people are hesitant to try it out. Why?
CBD is often confused with marijuana since they both have a commonality – the cannabis plant. The word marijuana is often used interchangeably with ‘cannabis,’ but cannabis refers to the plants’ genus. CBD, however, is a chemical compound found in cannabis plants, not the plant itself.
As such, some people think that CBD is a high-inducing drug, but it is not. The two primary compounds that attribute to the effects of marijuana are THC and CBD, but CBD isn’t what induces the high.
CBD contributes to calming and relaxing feelings, while TCH, or tetrahydrocannabinol, contributes to the psychoactive effects (in other words, the high).
So how did CBD start being used as a treatment more recently?
A lot of CBD’s rise has been attributed to its use in controlling seizures. Today, the only CBD product that has become an FDA approved medical treatment is Epidiolex, which is used in treating seizures caused by Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, two forms of epilepsy. But CBD didn’t have this kind of scientific or government approval even a few years ago.
In 2012, Catherine Jacobson, a neuroscientist, and mother, was trying to help her son, Ben, who had been suffering from epileptic seizures since age 3. After years and countless drugs, she had given up on modern medicine. But then, she learned about cannabis.
At the time, very little research had been done on CBD’s medical effects, but it was worth the shot. Jacobson wanted to use it for her son. And amazing, CBD helped Ben more than any other drug before.
Since then, the attention on CBD has skyrocketed, as people all around the world are using it to treat everything from chronic pain to anxiety. And this has helped open up the conversation around CBD, creating new opportunities for it to be researched to treat other disorders and diseases.
But if you’re looking into CBD and are a bit skeptical. It might help to know more about what CBD does and what it can do. So, here’s some information about how CBD interacts with your brain:
- The Endocannabinoid System
Our bodies already produce its own cannabinoids, the chemical family that CBD belongs to. And so, we have cannabinoid receptors that are used in regular bodily functions. According to CBD Kyro, some of these receptors are present in our brains.
These receptors are called CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptors deal with things like coordination, movement, pain, emotion, and memory. CB2 receptors, on the other hand, interact with our immune system, influencing things like inflammation, and related pains.
CBD interacts with these receptors by triggering the body to create more of its own cannabinoids, which subsequently attach to these receptors, inciting many pathways in our body. Specifically, these regulatory processes are a part of our endocannabinoid system.
2. CB2 receptors
Research has shown that CB1 receptors can lead to psychotropic effects, such as those incited by THC. However, the CB2 receptor is what many researchers have been looking into for therapeutic treatments. The CB2 receptor is what mostly interacts with CBD.
The CB2-binding activity influences inhibitory processes in our body’s signaling pathways. As such, it helps reduce things like the inflammatory response. One study found that when the CB2 receptor is not present in animals, it led to higher inflammatory responses, which is important because many types of pain are attributed to inflammation.
3. Side Effects (or lack thereof)
According to Healthcare Weekly, CBD has almost no side effects. They explain that CBD is actually tolerated very well by both the brain and the body. This is probably due to the fact that our bodies naturally produce their own cannabinoids.
Most side effects associated with marijuana use are not present in CBD use, because these effects are influenced mostly by THC. These include dry mouth, slow reaction responses, memory loss, lack of coordination, and increased heart rate.
CBD, however, does have some side effects. But these are mostly temporary and not very serious. These effects include nausea, drowsiness, and diarrhea, among others.
4. CBD might be able to mitigate many of the symptoms of autism
Although the research into CBD’s effects on autism is still being conducted, scientists have speculated that CBD can be used to treat autism, because of its effects on emotions and sensory input regulation.
According to Daily CBD Mag, current studies have supported this hypothesis. CBD’s influence on autism is in part due to the stimulation of neurotransmitters that autistic individuals lack.
But not only do these studies show that CBD may be able to treat autism, but it also demonstrates how CBD plays a helpful role in both our mind and body.
So, if you’re looking to use CBD, hopefully, this has helped you stay informed about what CBD is and how it interacts with your brain and body. However, there are a lot more things to consider before you use it.
CBD can come in a variety of forms, purities, and potencies. As such, it’s important to think about how you should use CBD based on what you’re looking to treat. For example, CBD can come in topicals, foods, oils, and tinctures.
However, it’s also important to note that while CBD is technically legal (as long as it remains less than 0.3% THC), it is not well regulated in the United States. As such, you should be wary of CBD products before buying them.
A single dosage of CBD also influences people differently, due to physiological differences. How you ingest CBD will also influence how quickly and efficiently it acts.
But overall, CBD interacts very well with both our brains and our bodies. It has few side effects and can actually produce many different beneficial effects. So, for many people, CBD is worth the risk, despite the existing skepticism.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether or not you think you should start using CBD. If it helps, scheduling an appointment with a medical professional can help you decide what kinds of CBD products can best help you, and whether or not CBD can help you reach your desired results.