Many people are dedicating time, money, and energy to isolating out a tiny compound called cannabidiol out of hemp plants. At this point, most of us are aware that CBD can do some pretty great things for our health and wellbeing.
You might be curious about the actual mechanisms at work that allow CBD to accomplish so many things. In this article, we have narrowed down the healthful benefits of CBD into a top ten list with brief explanations. We hope it intrigues you and inspires you to learn even more about the magical plant that is cannabis.
When we experience an injury, whether an acute trauma or a long-term, overuse-type injury, that part of the body is purposefully put into a highly inflammatory state. This is simply the way the body physically protects and heals the injury. This inflammatory state provides a cushion to protect the vulnerable area and a flood of nutrients and immune cells to control damage and begin repair. It is the job of the endocannabinoid system to “turn-off” or “turn-down” the inflammation, albeit gradually once the initial trauma has occurred and enough healing has occurred to stabilize the injury.
Due to various factors, including lack of omega-3s in the diet and a clogged lymphatic system, our endocannabinoid systems can be running sluggishly and/or poorly, and it is not able to properly regulate many bodily systems, in this case, the immune response. CBD acts as a “lubricant” or “supercharger” for the endocannabinoid system, allowing everything impacted by its health to perform much more efficiently and correctly. This is how CBD reduces inflammation, by “repairing” the endocannabinoid system itself in order to regulate the immune response much better, signaling it to slow down or stop.
The pain-relieving effect of CBD is interwoven into its anti-inflammatory actions. If unnecessary inflammation exists, this will leave the area tender and painful. On top of anti-inflammatory actions being a cause of pain reduction, CBD’s ability to “juice up” our neurotransmitters is the other big key in its ability to reduce pain. We feel pain unnecessarily when our neurotransmitters are out of balance. Perhaps our dopamine production is lacking or perhaps our opioid receptors are out of balance. CBD works to help both of these issues, thusly helping to alleviate pain and help you feel better in general.
This one is very simple. The name of the game is serotonin. CBD does not necessarily increase the amount of serotonin in one’s system (although it very well could), rather it provides nourishment and stabilization of serotonin receptors, allowing the existing serotonin to be processed and used by the body much more effectively and efficiently.
Serotonin is a massively important neurotransmitter and acts a hormone. It is responsible for memory, happiness, regulating body temperature, sleep, sexual behavior, hunger, and learning, not to mention organ development, vascular tone, cell regeneration, intestinal motility, and more. It provides feelings of well-being, relaxation, and feelings of being safe, so we can easily see why a serotonin uptake deficiency can lead to these mood and sleep problems.
When it comes to epilepsy, there are two main receptors in the nervous system that CBD seems to have an impact on, GPR55 and TRPV1 receptors. When these receptors are out of balance and they are overactive, this leads to increased “neuron excitability”, essentially causing neurons to misfire and overstimulate the CNS to the point of causing seizures, which can cause serious injury to the body and brain. CBD is effective because it greatly reduces neuron excitability by stabilizing the chemical makeup of these receptors.
When we experience strong fear, terror, and trauma, our amygdala get sent into hyperdrive and we go quickly into “fight or flight” mode. The more painful/traumatic/horrifying the experience, the more sensitive and reactive our amygdala becomes, taking less and less to “trigger” the fight or flight response. Not only does CBD reduce activity in the amygdala, but it can also help to extinguish traumatic memories or help you to reframe and make peace with them.
CBD can suppress an overactive immune system through a “repair” of the neuropathways and mechanisms that regulate such activity, allowing for proper transport and reception of certain neurotransmitters and nutrients. In this same way, it can elevate a sluggish immune system to healthy levels. One key element to this is CBD’s ability to regulate intracellular calcium levels.
CBD acts on our CB2 receptors to spark anti-inflammatory responses in immune cells that are specifically located in the brain, thus leading to less damage caused by inflammation. In addition, CBD can lead to an up-regulation of mRNA levels of a key enzyme (Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase) that fights against oxidative stress, thus further protecting the brain from damage.
Cannabidiol helps reduce the symptoms of MS with three main actions: reducing muscle spasms via the calming of the nervous system, reducing inflammation (thus leading to increased mobility and decreased pain and stiffness), and regulating neurotransmitters in a way that further reduces pain felt.
CBD nourishes and regulates the whole central nervous system, leading to strong vasodilating effects that greatly improve blood flow, thus taking pressure off the cardiovascular system, hence reducing blood pressure. On the flip side, if one has lower-than-ideal blood pressure, the improved congruity of the nervous system and the circulatory system will allow for proper nourishment and signaling for the heart and network of veins, capillaries, and arteries, allowing everything to work stronger and more healthily.
When someone gets addicted to and abuses drugs or alcohol for a long period of time, their nervous system gets thrown severely out of balance. Unnaturally large spikes in dopamine, norepinephrine, and other neurotransmitters cause our systems to act like roller coasters, whereas it should behave like a nice, steady drive down the road. When someone who has been using drugs consistently suddenly stops, the brain and nervous system stop receiving those expected spikes in neurotransmitters, and now the baseline of neurotransmitter production and uptake is very low, leading to anxiety, depression, anger, etc. CBD comes in and starts to reregulate the out-of-balance nervous system, modulating various neuronal circuits, thus greatly speeding up recovery of the nervous syste m, but also reducing the strong anxiety and cravings that come along with sudden cessation.
These are only a few of the many beautiful reasons to embrace the benefits of CBD.
Personally, I love the idea of reaching for my CBD drops or Softgels when I feel pain or have inflammation rather than something that might cause issues with any of my organs or body systems.
A good place to start is with something easy and non-intimidating like a topical rub (CDB Intensive Rub w/Emu Oil) or a lovely Bath Bomb.
Do a little more of your own due diligence and then jump in!
Now is the perfect time in human history to add CBD to your herbal apothecary.
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