CBD Effects, What You Can Expect

Studies conducted worldwide continue to show that the use of CBD oil has vast medicinal effects on many areas throughout the body, in both humans and animals. So how, exactly, does CBD oil provide effects and play a role in health and well being? And how can it be most efficiently administered to provide these effects?

Let’s first examine how CBD interacts on a molecular level in the body. The effects of CBD oil depend upon its interaction with a recently discovered system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). With receptors located throughout the body, the endocannabinoid system, named for the plant that led to its discovery, is one of the most important parts in the central nervous system. It has shown to control a great many physiological processes and also plays a dominant role in psychological responses and reactions.

The endocannabinoid system is located in the peripheral nervous system but is most concentrated in the brain. There are two types of receptors present in the endocannabinoid system, cannabinoid receptor type 1, or CB1, and cannabinoid receptor type 2, CB2. Both receptor types are located in the brain, but it is the CB1 receptors that are most abundant there. CB1 receptors have been found to play key roles a variety of activities in the following parts of the brain:

Cerebral cortex – controls decision making, cognition and emotions.
Caudate nucleus – controls learning and memory.
Putamen – regulates some movements and learning processes.
Globus pallidus – regulates voluntary movement.
Amygdala – responsible for stress and anxiety, emotions, pain and fear
Hypothalamus – regulates body temperature, neuroendocrine function and feeding
Hippocampus – also looks after memory and learning
Cerebellum – controls motor function and coordination
Dorsal Vargas complex – controls emesis (nausea and vomiting)

Awareness of CBD oil’s ability to interact in these regions of the brain is important in helping to understand how it has the effects that it does. Interestingly, CB1 and CB2 receptors are a unique type of nerve receptor. Instead of sending signals from the brain to the organs and extremities as with typical receptors, they are part of a retrograde receptor system, in which anandamide and 2-AG travel from a postsynaptic cell body to a presynaptic neuron delivering signals from the body to the brain. Further, CBD doesn’t have an affinity for binding to CB1 and CB2 receptors, rather it binds to anandamide and 2-AG in order to penetrate the surface of a receptor’s cell membrane. Once in the receptor cells, CBD oil affects the rate at which neurotransmitters pass between the nerve ends. CBD acts to modulate the receptor and return it to a state of balance by antagonizing or inhibiting the nerve ends.

Some of CBD oil’s effects are also initiated at other receptor types, not just in its interaction with the CB1 and CB2 receptors. In fact, CBD is able to bind to different receptor systems throughout the body, activating these receptors and conferring many different physiological reactions. CBD oil directly affects and activates the 5HT1A (hydroxytryptamine) receptor, causing an anti-anxiety effect. It can also directly interact with several ion channels to create therapeutic effects. By binding to the TRPV1 (transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V) CDB can mediate inflammation, body temperature and pain perception. Also when CBD binds to the GRP55 orphan receptor, it acts as an antagonist, blocking or essentially deactivating the receptor. GRP55 receptors are classified as orphan receptors because it is not yet understood if this receptor type belongs to any one neurological system. The GRP55 receptors are mainly concentrated in the cerebellum and modulate blood pressure as well as bone density. Overactive GPR55 receptors have been linked to osteoporosis and cancer proliferation so deactivating the receptor mitigates the damage caused by bone loss and the spread of cancerous cells.

CBD oil’s cancer fighting effects are bolstered by its ability to bind to and activate peroxisome proliferator activated receptors (PPARS). The activation of the PPARS receptors induces the anti-proliferation and reduction of cancer cells as well as degrading, or destroying the amyloid-beta plaque, which is a key molecule in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. CBD oil’s anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety effects come from its ability to inhibit the uptake of the neurotransmitter adenosine. By slowing the uptake of adenosine, CBD increases the levels of this neurotransmitter in the brain which helps regulate A1A and A2A receptor activity. A1A and A2A receptors are responsible for regulating cardiovascular function, myocardial oxygen consumption of the body and coronary blood flow but also have broad anti-inflammatory effects throughout the body.

CBD oil provides some of its calming effects from its ability to be an allosteric modulator. As mentioned, CBD oil enhances or inhibits the release of neurotransmitter signals by changing the shape of the receptor itself. When it binds to the GABA-A receptor, it increases the ability of that receptor to bind with its primary endogenous antagonist, gamma-Aminobutyric acid. Changing the shape of the GABA receptor increases the natural calming effects of GABA.

Now let’s examine how to best administer CBD oil to provide effects. There are several ways to take CBD up into the bloodstream, but they differ depending on the effects that are trying to be attained. CBD oil tincture is traditionally an emulsion of crude full spectrum CBD oil, or purified CBD isolate, and some form of suspension medium. Currently hemp seed oil and medium-chain triglyceride are popular choices because they have additional health effects to offer. CBD oil tincture is most commonly administered as an oil that can be taken sublingually (under the tongue) where it can penetrate the mucous membrane and enter the many vessels located in the mouth. This delivery system takes longer to assimilate into the bloodstream than vaporizing CBD oil but its effects last longer over time, in some cases, up to 8 hours. When vapourized and absorbed in the lungs, CBD oil takes effect almost instantly, generally within 30-90 seconds and the concentration of CBD in the bloodstream spikes early. This means that the effects of vapourized CBD oil are intense initially but taper quickly and are gone usually 3-5 hours after dosing. Vaporizing CBD is a good option for crisis situations like anxiety attacks or pain spikes. For localized joint and muscle pain, arthritis, as well as eczema, psoriasis and anti-aging potential, applying a CBD oil topical formulation directly to the skin at the location of issue is the most effective way to benefit from the effects of CBD oil. The relief from topicals is relatively fast-acting and its effects last as long as CBD oil tincture, on average. These are just three of the many delivery systems for CBD oil and as our understanding of CBD oil’s effects on our body grows, so will the development of future products and absorption methods.

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