CBD interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system, which is involved in regulating various physiological processes throughout the body, including the brain.
CBD engages with our CB1 and CB2 receptors as well as the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). The ECS plays a crucial role in regulating various bodily functions, including mood, sleep, appetite, and the body's response to discomfort and tension. Therefore, CBD interacts with our CB1, CB2 receptors, and the ECS as a whole.
THC binds to the CB1 receptors in the brain, causing the psychoactive effects we associate with marijuana.
CBD does not bind to these receptors and, therefore, does not produce the mind-altering effects that THC does.
- Relieves stress & promotes a sense of calm
- Soothes discomfort & tension
- Supports focus & boosts alertness
- Promotes recovery
- Enhances sleepiness & relaxation
CBD has been found to interact with serotonin, dopamine & glutamate neurotransmitter systems.
- Seratonin is the "feel-good" transmitter -> CBD can reduce stress & improve mood.
- Dopamine is the reward & motivation transmitter -> CBD can boost motivation & reward-seeking behaviors.
- Glutamate is the learning & memory neurotransmitter -> CBD can promote focus & communication.
- Drowsiness or fatigue
- Dry mouth
- Reduced appetite
In today’s blog post, we’re going to embark on a thrilling journey through the twists and turns of the human brain as we explore how CBD interacts with our gray matter. From the mysterious endocannabinoid system to the enchanting neurotransmitters at play, we’ll uncover the secrets of CBD and how it might just make our lives a little bit better. So, strap in and get ready for an electrifying ride through the wonderful world of CBD and the brain!
CBD vs THC: Introductory Effects on the Brain
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a natural, non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants. That’s right, it comes from the same family as marijuana, but hold onto your hats, folks! CBD is not the same as THC, the famous psychoactive component found in cannabis that gives users a “high” sensation.
The key difference between CBD and THC lies in their effects on the brain. While THC binds to the CB1 receptors in the brain, causing the psychoactive effects we associate with marijuana, CBD takes a different approach. CBD does not bind to these receptors and, therefore, does not produce the mind-altering effects that THC does.
CBD & The Endocannabinoid System
The brain is part of the CB1 & CB2 receptors. It controls thought, memory, emotion, touch, motor skills, vision, breathing & more.1 of 19
The Kidneys are part of the CB1 receptor & can filter about a half cup of blood every minute, if healthy.2 of 19
The Adrenal Gland is part of the CB1 receptor & located at the top of each kidney.3 of 19
The Adrenal Gland is part of the CB1 receptor. It begins at the mouth and ends at the rectum.4 of 19
The bones are part of the CB2 receptor. The adult human skelaton is made up of 206 bones!5 of 19
The cariovascular system is part of the CB2 receptor & consists of the heart, blood vessels, and blood.6 of 19
The GI tract is part of the CB2 receptor. The GI Tract is the “tract” food and liquids travel through when swallowed & absorbed.7 of 19
The immune system is part of the CB2 receptor & is a complex network of organs, cells & proteins that defends the body against infection.8 of 19
The liver cells are part of the CB1 & CB2 receptors. They break down fats and produce energy.9 of 19
The nervous system is part of the CB2 receptor. It uses electrical and chemical means to help all parts of the body to communicate with each other.10 of 19
The pancreas is part of the CB2 receptor & creates enzymes to break down sugars, fats & starches.11 of 19
Peripheral Tissues are part of the CB2 receptor. It simply is any tissue that is not of primary concern to the function of a particular structural tissue (skin, gut, lung).12 of 19
The Spleen is part of the CB2 receptor. While you can live without it, the spleen controls the level of white blood cells.13 of 19
Fat Cells are part of the CB1 receptor & are specialized for the storage of energy and sense & respond to changes in systemic energy balance.14 of 19
The Lungs are part of the CB1 receptor & main role is the process of gas exchange called respiration (or breathing).15 of 19
Muscle Cells are part of the CB1 receptor & are the cells that make up muscle tissue.16 of 19
The Pituitary Gland is part of the CB1 receptor. Located at the base of the brain its main function is the maintain homeostasis within the body.17 of 19
The Spinal Cord is part of the CB1 receptor & runs from the top of the highest neck bone to the top of the lowest bone in the lower back.18 of 19
The Thyroid Gland is part of the CB1 receptor. Located at the front of your neck, it controls many of your body’s important functions by producing and releasing certain hormones.19 of 19
Explore The ECS & CBD: Click any point on diagram for insights
CBD's Effects on Neurotransmitter Systems
Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that play a crucial role in transmitting signals between nerve cells, influencing our mood, memory, and overall brain function.
CBD has been found to interact with several neurotransmitter systems, including serotonin, dopamine, and glutamate.
Serotonin is often referred to as the “feel-good” neurotransmitter and is linked to mood regulation and emotional well-being. CBD may help enhance serotonin signaling by influencing its receptors, potentially contributing to reduced stress and improved mood (5).
Dopamine, another key neurotransmitter, is involved in reward and motivation pathways in the brain. While CBD’s effects on dopamine are not yet fully understood, research suggests it may help modulate dopamine levels, potentially influencing motivation and reward-seeking behaviors.
Glutamate is the primary excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain and plays a significant role in learning and memory. CBD has been shown to regulate glutamate release, which may help maintain optimal neural communication and promote healthy brain function (5).
In addition to its effects on neurotransmitters, CBD may also play a role in modulating synaptic plasticity, the brain’s ability to adapt and reorganize neural connections. This process is essential for learning, memory, and overall cognitive function. By influencing synaptic plasticity, CBD could potentially contribute to improved cognitive performance and brain health (1)
5 CBD Effects on the Brain | Potential Therapeutic Effects
1. Anxiety & Stress Relief?
CBD has shown promise in reducing stress and promoting relaxation. A study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology researched if CBD could help reduce stress in people with social anxiety. (2). While the exact mechanisms are still being explored, CBD’s impact on serotonin signaling may play a significant role in these stress-relieving effects.
2. Pain Management?
CBD has been studied for its potential in managing discomfort and tension. A review in Frontiers in Pharmacology researched if CBD might be effective in reducing discomfort and improving sleep quality in individuals with chronic conditions (7). CBD’s tension-soothing effects may be attributed to its interaction with the endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in discomfort perception.
3. Neuroprotective Effects?
A study in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience studied if CBD could help protect brain cells from damage and support brain health (3). These neuroprotective effects may be linked to CBD’s ability to modulate neurotransmitters and synaptic plasticity.
4. Anti-Inflammatory Properties?
CBD has demonstrated tension-soothing properties that could benefit individuals experiencing tension-related concerns. In a study in the European Journal of Pain, CBD was researhced if it could help soothe tension in animal models (4). This effect may be due to CBD’s ability to influence the endocannabinoid system, which is involved in the body’s response to tension.
5. Sleep Improvement
CBD has demonstrated tension-soothing properties that could benefit individuals experiencing tension-related concerns. In a study in the European Journal of Pain, CBD was researhced if it could help soothe tension in animal models (6). This effect may be due to CBD’s ability to influence the endocannabinoid system, which is involved in the body’s response to tension.
CBD Side Effects & Considerations
It’s essential to address potential side effects and safety concerns. While CBD is generally considered safe and well-tolerated, some people may experience mild side effects, such as:
- Drowsiness or fatigue
- Dry mouth
- Reduced appetite
It’s important to note that individual responses to CBD can vary, and what may be a perfect dosage for one person could cause side effects in another. Always start with a low dose and gradually increase it to find your optimal level.
Another crucial aspect to consider is drug interactions. CBD can interact with certain medications, including blood thinners, antidepressants, and some seizure medications. Before starting CBD, make sure to consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you are taking any prescription medications or have a pre-existing medical condition.
In conclusion, while CBD’s potential therapeutic effects are undoubtedly exciting, it’s important to approach its use with caution and always seek professional guidance to ensure the safest and most effective experience.
CBD & The Brain | CBD Effects on Brain
And there you have it, brain adventurers! We’ve navigated the intricate world of CBD and its fascinating interactions with the brain. From the enigmatic endocannabinoid system to the powerful neurotransmitters, we’ve uncovered how CBD may help support brain health and offer potential therapeutic benefits in areas such as stress relief, discomfort management, tension soothing, and sleep improvement.
While research continues to unlock CBD’s full potential, it’s essential to approach its use responsibly and consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating it into your daily routine. This magical compound may have a lot to offer, but it’s crucial to ensure that we’re using it safely and effectively to reap the maximum benefits.
So, as we bid adieu to our thrilling journey through the world of CBD and the brain, let’s keep our minds open, continue exploring, and always prioritize our health and well-being. Until our next adventure, stay curious and take care, brain enthusiasts!
More CBD Guides | CBD & Memory
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The effects of CBD and memory, alongside cognitive function have been generating growing interest among people. Check out why.
1.Batalla, Albert, et al. “The Impact of Cannabidiol on Human Brain Function: A Systematic Review.” Frontiers in Pharmacology, 21 Jan. 2021, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7858248/.
2. Bergamaschi, Mateus M., et al. “Cannabidiol reduces the anxiety induced by simulated public speaking in treatment-naïve social phobia patients.” PubMed, 2011, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21307846/. Accessed 21 April 2023.
3. Campos, Alline C., et al. “Plastic and Neuroprotective Mechanisms Involved in the Therapeutic Effects of Cannabidiol in Psychiatric Disorders.” NCBI, 23 May 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5441138/. Accessed 21 April 2023.
4. Costa, Barbara, et al. “The non-psychoactive cannabis constituent cannabidiol is an orally effective therapeutic agent in rat chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain.” PubMed, 2007, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17157290/. Accessed 21 April 2023.
5. De Gregorio, Danilo, et al. “Cannabidiol Modulates Serotonergic Transmission and Reverses Both Allodynia and Anxiety-like Behavior in a Model of Neuropathic Pain.” Pain, Jan. 2019, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6319597/. 6. Shannon, Scott, et al. “Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series.” PubMed, 2019, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30624194/. Accessed 21 April 2023.
7. Vuckovic, Sonja, et al. “Cannabinoids and Pain: New Insights From Old Molecules.” PubMed, 13 November 2018, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30542280/. Accessed 21 April 2023.