Have you ever wondered how cannabidiol (CBD) elicits its natural balancing effects? To understand what CBD does, let’s take a closer look at the human body. CBD works in tandem with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a system just like the circulatory system that pumps blood through your veins or the respiratory system that fills your lungs with air. The ECS plays vital functions for the body – yet it was discovered merely 30 years ago! In fact, the ECS was discovered because scientists were curious about the effects of cannabis on the brain. Without the hemp plant, who knows? Maybe we would still have yet to discover the ECS and how CBD works.

But what exactly does the ECS do? Simply put – it is a network of receptors that pair with molecules called endocannabinoids, which are synthesized by the body to regulate various body functions. These same receptors in the body also bond with phytocannabinoids, which come from plants instead of being made by the body. And yes, you guessed it! Hemp naturally produces many phytocannabinoids. Cannabidiol (CBD) is one phytocannabinoid out of more than 113 that have been found in cannabis. CBD and the other phytocannabinoids produce varying effects on the body.

The bodily processes that the ECS helps to regulate are many. The ECS regulates sleep, appetite, digestion, motor control, mood, immune function, reproduction, reward pathways, memory, pain, and more. Today, scientists are still learning about the role that the endocannabinoid system plays in our health.

CBD in particular has been found to interact with a variety of different biological targets, including cannabinoid receptors and other neurotransmitter receptors. In the United States in 2018, the first drug made of CBD has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treatment of two epilepsy disorders. This is a major step towards recognizing the healing properties of the hemp plant and bringing it to the mainstream.

There is still much research to be done on CBD and the ECS. For example, we have yet to discover the mechanism by which CBD elicits its effects. But we have come far in a relatively short amount of time. The future looks bright: scientists are now conducting more and more studies regarding CBD. We are excited to learn more about this special molecule in the near future and will keep you updated!

 

Sources:

Aizpurua-Olaizola O, Soydaner U, Öztürk E, Schibano D, Simsir Y, Navarro P, Etxebarria N, Usobiaga A (2016). “Evolution of the Cannabinoid and Terpene Content during the Growth of Cannabis sativa Plants from Different Chemotypes”. Journal of Natural Products. 79 (2): 324–31. doi:10.1021/acs.jnatprod.5b00949. PMID 26836472.

Aizpurua-Olaizola, Oier; Elezgarai, Izaskun; Rico-Barrio, Irantzu; Zarandona, Iratxe; Etxebarria, Nestor; Usobiaga, Aresatz (2016). “Targeting the endocannabinoid system: future therapeutic strategies”. Drug Discovery Today. 22 (1): 105–110. doi:10.1016/j.drudis.2016.08.005. PMID 27554802.

“FDA approves first drug comprised of an active ingredient derived from marijuana to treat rare, severe forms of epilepsy”. US Food and Drug Administration. 25 June 2018. Retrieved 25 June 2018.

Jurkus R, Day HL, Guimarães FS, Lee JL, Bertoglio LJ, Stevenson CW (2016). “Cannabidiol Regulation of Learned Fear: Implications for Treating Anxiety-Related Disorders”. Frontiers in Pharmacology. 7: 454. doi:10.3389/fphar.2016.00454. PMC 5121237. PMID 27932983.