The discovery of the endocannabinoid system revealed a biological basis for the therapeutic effects of plant cannabinoids and has sparked renewed interest in cannabis as medicine. Although the function of the endocannabinoid system remains mysterious in healthy tissues outside the brain and gut, diseases reveal clues. The activation of CB1 receptors increases food intake and affects energy metabolism in peripheral tissues and the peripheral nervous system. Different cannabinoids are able to bind to both types how does CBD oil make you feel of receptors with different results. All cannabinoids produce effects in the body by interacting with cannabinoid receptors, which form part of the endocannabinoid system.
When glutamate levels are too high, excitotoxicity and oxidative stress both occur. This allows the body to respond in a heightened state, but chronic activation of this system can lead to permanent damage.
There are also areas in the hippocampus and amygdala which are densely covered in CB1 receptors. Here, CBD produces its anxiolytic effects via activation of the 5HT-1a receptor associated with serotonin, as well as the BNST of the amygdala. It is important to note that CBD only mildly increases AEA concentrations. This is shown to give enough stimulation to decrease FAAH levels, as well as the neurotransmitter glutamate, thereby relieving stress and allowing the brain to respond to stress effectively.
Further research into the 90s enabled the cloning of CB1 and CB2 receptors found in the brain and immune systems. It was later discovered that the ECS exists in humans and mammals, is formed before we’re born, and actually assists with development of our brain synapsis in utero.
With the body full of cannabinoid receptors, it only makes sense that there would be naturally occurring cannabinoids within the body to interact with these receptors. Unlike the commonly known plant derived cannabinoids , endocannabinoids (endo- meaning internal) are found within the body. CBD also has anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects.4,5,9,14 This, however, is achieved without involving the endogenous cannabinoid receptors.
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A major component of inflammation is the response to reactive oxygen species , which can accumulate and cause DNA damage and cytotoxicity. CBD upregulates an important antioxidant, glutathione, as well as the enzyme superoxide dismutase , which is the body’s strongest antioxidant and responsible for around a third of the total antioxidation in our bodies. Earlier we mentioned glutamate, which is the brain’s primary excitatory neurotransmitter.
The two main endocannabinoids are 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and anandamide and they have similar effects on the body as phytocannabinoids. Anandamide has even been nicknamed the “bliss molecule” and binds to the same receptor in the body as THC. THC was first isolated in 1964, but it was not until the late 1980s when scientists were researching the effects of THC on the body that they found an existing system which produces chemicals that act very similarly to cannabinoids.
Technically, CBD and THC are phytocannabinoids because they’re derived from plants. The body also produces its own cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids because they’re made endogenously .
- The lack of clarity is most evident in the fact that people do not know the complete mechanisms behind CBD’s interaction with CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system.
- CBD targets the TRPV1 receptorsand desensitizes these receptors to pain signals.
- Researchers have yet to parse out whether there are other potential benefits, though.
- Researchers believe that instead of directly binding with the receptors, the CBD will stimulate it by proxy.
- Experts have also found that CBD has antihyperalgesic effects, which means that it can reduce sensitivity to pain.
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The most important thing to note is that this system exists even if one has never consumed cannabis. The endocannabinoid system explains why natural cannabinoids in hemp and other plants have therapeutic effects. Hemp and Cannabis had been used for thousands of years to treat a number of ailments, including epilepsy, headaches, arthritis, pain, depression, and nausea. Traditional healers may not have known why the plant was effective, but their experience demonstrated its effectiveness and provided the basis for more recent scientific research.