To understand how CBD works you need to understand some basics about the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
In your body, the ECS enhances immune response, improves neuroprotection, promotes better sleep, relieves pain, helps with inflammation, and helps in stress management.
Your body naturally produces cannabinoids, but scientists have learned that the system will also recognize and respond to phytocannabinoids (plant-based) including CBD.
The endocannabinoid system includes “cannabinoid receptors.”
There are two major types of cannabinoid receptors in our bodies: CB1 and CB2.
THC directly binds with these receptors but CBD initiates intracellular biochemical reactions that produce the variety of health results CBD is known for.
While CBD does not bind with CB1 and CB2 receptors like THC, it does engage several other receptors and ion channels like the vanilloid, adenosine and serotonin receptors.
Through these channels, CBD effects anxiety, pain perception, inflammation, body temperature, blood pressure, bone density, energy, lipid uptake, insulin sensitivity, and other metabolic functions.
While the research is still uncovering the ways that CBD acts on the body, there are already plenty of proven health-supporting benefits.
Here are some examples:
- By activating the TRPV-1 receptor, cannabidiol plays a role in the mediation of body temperature, pain perception, and inflammation.
- CBD inhibits the FAAH enzyme, a compound that activates the CB1 receptor. By doing so, CBD minimizes the activation of CB1 by THC, reducing its psychoactive effects.
- By activating adenosine receptors, CBD gives the anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory effects of cannabidiol. Adenosine receptors are also involved in the release of dopamine and glutamate, two neurotransmitters that play major roles inside the body. Dopamine is related to cognition, motor control, motivation, and reward mechanisms, while glutamate is one of the major mediators of excitatory signals, being involved in memory, learning, and cognition.
- CBD has been shown to activate the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor, which causes anti-depressant effects. This receptor is also involved in a series of processes from pain perception, appetite, nausea, and anxiety to sleep and addiction mechanisms.
- CBD blocks CPR55 signaling which decreases bone re-absorption and cancer cell proliferation; it also supports bone density and balanced blood pressure.