CBD is all the rage these days and becoming known as a ‘miraculous’ compound. But is it really as amazing as it sounds?
CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is one of many cannabinoids found in the hemp and cannabis plant. It was discovered in the 1940’s and was initially thought to be psychoactive i.e causes changes in brain function.
Since then, it’s popularity has been rapidly growing with researchers all around the world investigating its effects and is now known as one of the few cannabinoids that turns out to be non-psychoactive, particularly if extracted from the hemp plant. This makes it potentially safer and easier to use.
It is thought to have many therapeutic effects such as anti-seizure, antioxidant, anti-anxiety, antipsychotic, anticancer, analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
But does it really work and how?
CBD works by binding to certain receptors in our cells which then lead to a series of chemical reactions to cause a specific effect.
It has an affinity for activating some important receptors in such as:
-Serotonin receptors (specifically 5-HT1A) which control anxiety and mood
-Vanilloid receptors (TRPV1) which influence the pain experience
-Adenosine receptors which control sleep
-Endocannabinoid receptors (indirectly) which control appetite, memory, mood and pain.
One of the most well known effects of CBD is on anxiety and mood. It has been described to instantly give a lift in mood and a feeling of calmness. It impacts activity of the limbic and paralimbic systems in the brain(1) and binds to the 5-HT receptors that control the release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which influence stress, anxiety and mood and pain perception. Because of this, it is being researched as a natural anti-depressant.