Cannabidiol or CBD is a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant. This microscopic molecule has been causing stirs in scientific and medical communities. The accumulating mountain of studies attesting to CBD health benefits are directly responsible for all the attention. Proving once more that big things come in small sizes, CBD treats ailments ranging from anxiety to arthritis and even cancer.
Here’s the most intriguing detail in these studies. CBD health benefits are experienced without any mind altering effects. This revelation leaves many folks wondering how all this buzz about a buzzless compound can even be possible. The answer is simple, sensible and natural : the Endocannabinoid system.
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS): Facilitating CBD Health Benefits
If you can’t point to or find your Endocannabinoid System (ECS), don’t worry. It’s not because you missed an anatomy unit or forgot a few major organs. Rather, it’s the overall term for a class of biological molecules organisms naturally produce, and the targets they act on.
So, how do these molecules and receptors relate to CBD health benefits? First, it’d help to break down some names and location. The ECS is a network of receptors on cell membranes that are receptive to endocannabinoids. Endo- is simply the greek root word meaning inside or within. While cannabinoid is self explanatory.
Although simple, that breakdown hints toward established scientific fact. That our bodies and biology already produce compounds that are in the same family as CBD. In short, CBD health benefits are not a scam or some happy accident. It is CBD’s similarity to compounds we naturally produce, that allows it to activate relief mechanisms in our biology.
While some cannabinoids are psycho-active, it’s no fluke that CBD isn’t among them. It’s no mysterious wonder drugs, it’s health benefits are easily explainable. CBD benefits our health by helping us harness the power of our natural biology.
There are tons of processes running at once to keep any organism healthy. Receptor proteins on cells are one way our body communicates internally. These receptors pretty much act as very specific locks. When they come across the right molecule, their shapes align and the receptor unlocks. Thus triggering processes and changes inside cells, like neurons. In humans, cannabinoid receptors come in 2 varieties – cannabinoid receptor type 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2).
CB1 receptors are in the brain and central nervous system. These receptors have been proven to produce the lift in mood that comes with exercise, or runner’s high. Anandamide is the molecule humans utilize to cause this phenomenon by binding CB1 receptors. Considering that ananda- is the sanskrit word for bliss, how researchers arrived at this name is pretty intuitive. It’s responsible for many drive related behaviors and gives us a surge of positive feelings, a mild euphoria, when we feel accomplished. Its effects are a milder and less psychoactive than those that result from its closest plant relative, THC.
CB2, on the other hand, are largely in the immune and digestive systems. CB2 binds a compound called 2-AG and functions like a dimmer switch for CB1 activity and inflammation. Additionally, CB2 activates immune responses which are how are bodies fight diseases and keeps us healthy.
CBD’s Role in Improving Health
CBD is a unique cannabinoid. It doesn’t bind well to either class of receptor, and it doesn’t travel through our nervous system in the typical fashion. CBD travels in retrograde. Meaning, it starts its trip through our nerves at what is usually considered the terminal for neurotransmitters. CBD then arrives at the beginning, and inhibits the breakdown of our natural (or endogenous) cannabinoids. This produces a greater window of time for the endocannabinoid system components, like Anandamide to affect our body. Allowing circuits that relieve excessive stress, soreness and even seizures to remain active.
Interpreting CBD Health Effects
It’s no wonder so many people are curious about how CBD benefits health. Its benefits are ingrained into our biology! So, check out these big benefits from this small molecule in any number of Quanta’s products.