Education | September 09, 2020

How CBD Works on Anandamide, Serotonin Receptors and More

By Dagmara Mach
What Does CBD Do To Your Body

Cannabidiol (CBD) is an antioxidant that affects processes involved in inflammation, pain, sleep, stress, anxiety, cognitive outcomes, and much more.

Scientists have identified at least 76 molecular targets in our bodies through which CBD works to produce its effects.

One of its targets is the 5ht serotonin receptor, which is related to anxiety and depression, and plays a role in psychotic disorders. 

Another is the TRPV1 receptor which is involved in pain and inflammation.

CBD also interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) by inhibiting the breakdown of the endocannabinoid anandamide (a.k.a. the bliss molecule).

what does cbd do to you

CBD is a popular natural remedy extracted from the hemp variety of the cannabis plant. Used for a variety of common ailments, both human and dog, CBD products can now be found everywhere from Walgreens to your grandma’s medicine cabinet.

Studies have linked CBD use to reductions in pain, improvements in sleep, alleviation of stress, and other health benefits. It may be consumed for everyday wellness and healing to help improve various health outcomes.

Unlike its cousin marijuana, hemp contains very little tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid in marijuana that induces euphoria. Hemp derived CBD oils can legally contain up to 0.3% THC, which is not enough to get you high.

What Does CBD Do To The Body

What Is CBD and How Does It Work?

From a fringe fascination to mainstream panacea, CBD has taken the world by storm.

Purported to cure an astounding number of ailments from stress and sleep problems to pain and inflammation, CBD exerts many its health benefits by interacting with different molecular targets in our bodies to produce cellular changes.

CBD is the main, but not the only active ingredient in the hemp plant, which abounds in a variety of phytochemicals with therapeutic benefits. Full spectrum hemp oil is rich in both CBD and other active phytochemicals, such as secondary cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and others.

CBD and THC are two of over one hundred and twenty chemical compounds known as phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids produced by plants). Phytocannabinoids, such as CBD can mimic or affect endocannabinoids produced inside our body.

The ECS is a body-wide communication network responsible for maintaining biological harmony in response to changes in our internal and external environments.

The ECS is comprised of endocannabinoid receptors, the endocannabinoids or body made cannabinoids such as anandamide and 2-AG that bind to these receptors, and the enzymes that help build and breakdown the endocannabinoids.

Through its interactions with the ECS and other molecular targets in the body, CBD works to promote homeostasis, or equilibrium, across many body systems.

One interesting example of this is a 2014 study which found that CBD can reduce skin inflammation and prevent sebocyte cells from creating too much of the oily sebum that often leads to acne.

Because the ECS is located throughout the body, endocannabinoids are created and broken down when and where they are needed for action. Data suggests that when we consume CBD it too is transported and used where it is needed by our body.

Endocannabinoids are likely one of the most widespread and versatile signaling molecules known to man. Due to ECS presence throughout the body, endocannabinoids, and by extension phytocannabinoids such as CBD, are involved in all major biological functions including those related to mood, sleep, pain, stress, hormone balance, appetite, sleep, metabolism, and immunity.

Unlike THC which has an affinity for and binds to cannabinoid receptors, research suggests that CBD has a low binding affinity for cannabinoid receptors and instead exerts its benefits by acting on another part of the ECS.

Studies show that rather than occupying endocannabinoid receptor sites, CBD works by affecting the enzymes responsible for breaking down the endocannabinoid anandamide, known as “the bliss molecule.”

In doing so it moderately inhibits the enzymatic breakdown of anandamide, resulting in higher levels of anandamide in the body.

what cbd does to the body

Anandamide, the bliss or joy molecule, is one of two main endocannabinoids. Cannabinoids are ligands or molecules that bind to other molecules.

Incredibly versatile in its actions, anandamide is involved in processes across every system in our body. These include memory, motivation, cognitive processes, movement control, pain, appetite, pleasure, reward, sleep, and many others.

One study of rats showed that intravenous anandamide activated dopaminergic transmission resulting in increased extracellular levels of dopamine.

Outside of the ECS, notable receptors affected by CBD include PPARγ, TRPV1, and 5HT.

As a PPARγ receptor agonist, CBD activates these receptors to produce effects. Research suggests the PPARγ pathway is behind CBD's ability to trigger neurogenesis or new brain cell growth as well as its anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. 

PPARγ activation also explains how CBD causes inhibition of viral replication and immunomodulation. 

Evidence supports that CBD's actions on TRPV1 receptors are related to its analgesic or pain reducing effects.

Studies suggest CBD's 5HT related activities are related to its anxiolytic and antidepressant properties.

Research continues to produce evidence of CBD’s beneficial effects, including its strong anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anxiolytic, and analgesic properties. For instance, CBD has been shown to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol in humans, resulting in positive mood states.

Project CBD has compiled peer-reviewed research on over 40 conditions that CBD may potentially help. Their list includes ADD and ADHD, Addiction and Alcoholism, Alzheimer’s and Dementia, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Antibiotic Resistance, Anxiety, Arthritis, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Breathing Problems, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Depression, Diabetes, Digestive and Bowel Disorders, Endocrine Disorders, Endometriosis, Epilepsy and Seizures, Fibromyalgia, Glaucoma, Headaches and Migraines, Heart Disease, Immune Function, Inflammation, Kidney and Bladder Issues, Liver Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Nausea, Neurodegenerative Diseases, Obesity, Weight Loss, Osteoporosis, Pain, Parkinson’s Disease, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Prion Disease, Schizophrenia and Psychosis, Aging, Skin Problems, Sleep Problems, Stress, Stroke and Brain Injuries, and overall wellness.

What Does CBD Do For Sleep

When buying CBD products, it’s important to make sure that the product actually contains CBD. Because most states don’t require testing like Colorado and companies are not always honest, it’s very difficult for consumers to confirm that products are accurately labeled.

In 2017, a Penn Medicine study found that only 30% of 84 CBD extracts purchased online contained an actual CBD content that was within 10 percent of the amount listed on the product label. The majority were way off.

Human studies show that in healthy subjects not taking other medications, CBD may be safe in doses of up to 1500 mg per day with few to no negative side effects. Discussing dosage with your doctor is always advised.

In November 2017 the World Health Organization released a report stating that CBD does not have any adverse side effects and is well tolerated in both humans and animals.

CBD is widely accepted to help relieve some type of pain, ease stress, and act as a natural sleep remedy. It’s important to experiment with dosage and method of consumption at home to know what doses are right for your specific needs.

Because CBD is unregulated and purity testing is not required, some CBD products may be tainted by solvents, pesticides, bacteria, heavy metals, or any number of other contaminants which may cause unexpected negative side effects.

Ned’s products are all tested for purity by a third-party laboratory so you can shop with confidence knowing you’re getting the highest quality CBD products.

Stress, poor diet, and illness can throw our systems out of whack. CBD can positively interact with our bodies, potentially helping to correct imbalances in everything from our brain and organs to our immunity and digestion.


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