CBD works in the human body through its actions in the endocannabinoid system. CBD has a multitude of benefits in the human body, including reducing anxiety and depression, reducing psychotic symptoms in some mental disorders, acting as an anticonvulsant, working as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound, reducing nausea and pain, reducing tumor cell growth and spread, protecting cells in the brain, heart, liver, and other organs, and helping to treat substance abuse. You can find articles about all of these benefits here at Wai Natural.
CBD can block action as the two most well-known cannabinoid receptors – CB1 and CB2. This is in contrast to THC which activates both of these receptors. This allows CBD to neutralize some of the negative effects of THC when taken together. But when taken alone, CBD can have many beneficial effects in the body from blocking these receptors. For example, CBD’s actions at the CB2 receptor are responsible for many of its powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
CBD’s actions at other receptors – most notably the TRPV1 receptor, the glycine receptors, and the opioid receptors – allow it to have potent pain relieving effects and is an effective treatment for chronic pain. There is also evidence that CBD works in many of the brain areas involved in the neurobiology of several psychiatric disorders, giving it the ability to reduce anxiety and depression and reduce symptoms in other disorders.
Here is a summary of CBD’s activities in the human body:
Blocks CB1 receptors
Mixed effects at CB2 receptors
Partially activates GPR18 receptors
Blocks GPR55 receptors
Activates TRPV1, TRPV2, and TRPA1 receptors – allows CBD to modulate anxiety and pain
Blocks TRPM8 receptors
Enhances action at glycine receptors – allows CBD to suppress chronic pain
Activates PPAR-gamma receptors – allows CBD to inhibit neuronal damage, inhibit neurodegeneration, and inhibit tumor progression
Activates 5-HT1A receptors – allows CBD to treat anxiety and depression
Improves function of mitochondria under pathological conditions
Increases DNA methylation of the keratin gene
Represses cell proliferation and differentiation
Why All This Talk About Specific Receptors?
Receptors found in and on the cells of the human body (as well as the cell of any organism) are generally very specific for the molecule they bind to. Biologists like to use the analogy of a lock-and-key mechanism – where only one specific key will unlock a specific lock. When a molecule (such as CBD) binds to a receptor, it’s like a key unlocking a door to a specific function in the cell. So scientists want to know which doors are being unlocked, because that will tell them how a specific molecule will affect the cell, and thus the body as a whole. In the case of CBD, one key (the CBD molecule) has the potential to open many different doors (different receptors) – allowing it to have so many different effects on the body. And when we talk about CBD blocking a receptor (like the CB1 receptor), that’s like jamming something into a lock so that even if the correct key was used, it wouldn’t be able to fit into the lock because of the jam. In this manner, CBD can prevent certain doors from being opened, even with the correct key.