Ways CBD Affects Your Brain

 Photo Credit: Leaf Science

Photo Credit: Leaf Science

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoids found in cannabis, but this does not mean that it does not have effects on the brain. CBD travels to the endocannabinoid system and, while it doesn't bind with the CB1 receptor itself, it interacts with it in ways to prevent other cannabinoids like THC from binding with it, and thereby prevents them from producing psychoactive effects. CBD also increases levels of anandamide, a naturally occurring endocannabinoid responsible for regulating other bodily chemicals, in the brain. Researchers recently used imaging scans to better understand which areas of the brain respond to CBD's anti-anxiety properties, and found the cannabinoid reduced blood flow to regions linked with anxiety, like the hypothalamus, and reduced overall anxiety scores in participants. CBD also acts as an antidepressant by balancing endocannabinoid dysfunction and influencing serotonin receptors. CBD also interacts with CB2 receptors to reduce pain. One study found CBD ointment helped reduce joint inflammation and spontaneous pain in arthritis patients.

Contrary to popular belief, chemicals in marijuana interact with the CB2 receptors to provide neuroprotective properties, as opposed to neuron damaging properties. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services even obtained a patent in 1999 claiming cannabis' chemical compounds help protect brain cells from neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and other forms of dementia. One study on animal models found CBD increased the number of viable brain cells and decreased the number of injured brain cells by more than 50% when it comes to brain injury. CBD is well known for its role in treating epilepsy. CBD produces anticonvulsant effects and protects brain cells by lowering the excitation of brain cells and minimizing excitotoxicity in epilepsy. CBD also supports the release of inhibitory neurotransmitters like GABA, thereby stopping the mechanism that directly contributes to seizures. Lastly, CBD has antipsychotic properties not unlike that of the antipsychotic drug amisulpride. In a study involving patients with schizophrenia, CBD produced similar effects to the pharmaceutical drug, and it was preferred by patients due its minimal side effects.

This information has been provided by Leaf Science and approved by out Chief Medical Officer.