October4 , 2023

How Does CBD Work in the Brain?


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There have been a lot of raves recently about cannabis-derived CBD. Individuals, pet owners, and scientists are fascinated by the pleiotropic drug and its many effects on the body, most especially the brain. What people can’t get enough of or fail to understand is how this drug works in the first place. This has left many confused about how the Cannabidiol drug works its way into affecting the way we move and feel.

So, today we’re going to be highlighting the different mechanisms through which CBD exacts its effects on the brain. Read on and find out just how CBD works as well as its effects.

An In-Depth Look at the Workings of CBD

Firstly, to learn how CBD works, we need to re-establish that CBD is a chemical compound derived from either of the cannabis plants hemp or marijuana. This chemical compound differs from THC in the sense that well-processed CBD contains zero intoxicating elements.

This chemical compound is extracted and produced into a drug that also comes in various forms. This drug can be made in the form of pills and chews that can be ingested by you and your pet, respectively; can be made into oils that can be administered in droplets; as topical products that can be applied on your skin. The choice is yours.

Now, moving over to after the drug has been ingested. There are 2 receptors in the brain that are concerned with the functioning of CBD, CB1 receptor and CB2 receptors. Now, here’s the tricky part.

In as much as these receptors are given the name endocannabinoid receptors, you would ordinarily expect that any effect the CBD drugs will have on the brain will be channeled directly through these receptors. But, this is not quite the right idea.

You see, the weird thing is that CBD has little, that’s right, little binding affinity for these receptors. And that leaves you wondering why these receptors are even there in the first place. What if we told you these receptors still play a big role?

The Run-Around Method

Now, because of the little binding affinity CBD has for both CB1 and CB2 receptors, it has devised a different method or different sets of methods for exacting its functions.

What CBD does instead is to modulate several non-cannabinoid receptors and ion channels. That means that since it can’t get directly to its receptors, it uses other receptors in the body to perform its functions.

A Quick Look at These “Other Receptors”

There are several non-cannabinoid receptors and ion channels through which CBD works. CBD also works via receptor-independent pathways meaning that not all intermediates of CBD function are receptors. Let’s have a look at two vital groups of receptors:

  • Serotonin: our first family of receptors. In this family, there exists a group of receptors called the 5-HT receptors. CBD acts on the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor in this group, and this leads to an anti-anxiety effect. This receptor also affects biological processes like addiction, appetite, nausea, pain perception, and vomiting.
  • Vanilloid: no, this is not an android version of the vanilla extract. You see, vanilla contains eugenol; an oil that possesses antiseptic and analgesic properties. This oil activates the TRPV1 receptors that CBD acts on to mediate body temperature, inflammation, and pain perception.

Through the inhibitory and stimulatory functions of CBD, the body’s primary core emotions of pain, anxiety, or other functions like temperature and inflammation are affected.