The last couple of years have been pretty big for the CBD industry. CBD products have popped up in many sectors throughout the health and wellness market. From pain relief to cosmetics, CBD has taken the world by storm. Thanks to its unique interaction with the human body, compounds within the hemp plant stimulate receptors that regulate everything from our mood to our appetite. Here are five ways CBD interacts with the human body.
CBD and the Endocannabinoid System
Our bodies are a complex highway of synapses, neural pathways, and receptors. Receptors could be considered the pawn in this human chess game. They are strategically placed throughout the body. These receptors are in constant contact with the rest of the system. When all is well, they report back positive messages and we as humans feel content.
However, these receptors are also responsible for everything from:
- Pain perception
- Inflammatory responses
- Hormone production
- Cell production
As you can see, this is a pretty extensive list. However, it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Receptors have a hand in everything that’s going on within your body. So, when an inflammation, free radical, or another foreign substance springs up in your system, your receptors are on the case.
Inflammations are also living beings. They oxidize just like a freshly cut avocado. The odorous vapors of inflammations stimulate the neural tissues at the end of receptors within the vicinity. Upon realization that an intruder is onboard, the receptor will send a “May Day!” signal to the rest of the body.
At this moment, your brain interprets the message and tries to find a way to draw your attention to the issue. Receptors are why:
- You feel pains in your joint with arthritis
- You feel nauseous after chemotherapy
- You feel full after a satisfying meal
- You feel stressed
- Your nose runs when you have a cold
- Your skin is flaky, blotchy, itchy or red
Whenever we don’t feel “normal,” there’s always an inflammation at the root of the discomfort. Figure out where these abnormal symptoms are persisting. That tends to be where the inflammation began.
The receptors that cause you to experience these symptoms are broken into two categories:
Both of these receptors have a unique relationship with the system. Let’s explore them a little deeper.
CB1 and CB2 Receptors and the Human Body
Hemp contains over 100 unique phytochemicals that almost no other plant does. These rare sets of chemicals are known as cannabinoids.
Studies have found that the cannabinoids in hemp have a strong influence on receptors in the body that trigger your discomfort.
CB1 receptors are located in the following areas:
- Central nervous system
- GI tract
- Peripheral organs
As you can see, CB1 receptors are quite scattered throughout the system. Whereas, CB2 receptors are a bit more targeted. These receptors tend to hang out in areas such as:
- White blood cells
- Immune cells
The way CB receptors react to compounds in cannabis plants differ. For instance, the common cannabinoid found in marijuana, THC, binds onto CB1. This is why those who use marijuana experience psychoactive side effects. Interestingly enough, THC has little to no effect on the CB2 receptors.
Hemp has less than 1% THC in its genetic makeup. Therefore, it comes with no psychoactive capabilities. Instead, it’s main chemical component is CBD.
CBD stimulates the neural tissues on receptors rather than binding onto them like THC does. While CBD does have some influence on CB1 receptors, these cannabinoids primarily interact with CB2 receptors. This is why many medicinal cannabis users turn to CBD products for anti-inflammatory benefits.
How Does CBD Interact with the Body?
Now that you have a solid understanding of the endocannabinoid system, let’s get a larger scope as to what this means for your general health. While research on CBD is still in its infancy, results are pointing to the same conclusion. This conclusion is that CBD may be therapeutic for millions of people diagnosed with a number of conditions. Here are the top five ways CBD interacts with the human body.
1. CBD Has Sedative-Like Properties
When your receptors feel stressed, you feel stressed. Your body’s initial reaction to inflammation is to produce the stress hormone, cortisol. On top of that, everyday stresses such as work, family, and money aids in the cortisol production. Eventually, your mind goes into overdrive and you can’t sleep. It’s a never-ending cycle!
Luckily, CBD provides a 2-in-1 combo to take on anxiety. The goal of CBD is to promote homeostasis. When it enters the bloodstream, it looks for the damsel-in-distress receptors and stimulates the tissue. This acts as a decoy for the brain to draw your attention away from the discomfort. In turn, you don’t dwell in your stress.
Now, CBD is the gift that keeps on giving. Not only does it soothe those upset receptors, but it also has anti-inflammatory capabilities. Therefore, CBD works to defeat the cause of the sad receptors.
This sets off a chain reaction. With calm receptors, less cortisol gets created, balancing out the rest of your hormones. When our body is not fighting off a litany of inflammations, we can think with a more clear head. In turn, our everyday stresses will seem less stressful.
2. CBD Helps Gut Health
As you can tell, the potent anti-inflammatory capabilities of CBD seems to have an effect on the system as a whole. That is much in thanks to this unique compound’s interaction with our microbiome.
Hippocrates famously stated, “All disease begins in the gut.” Thanks to the Standard American Diet, our gut is under constant attack. It needs help to break down all the artificial ingredients we consume every day. Otherwise, these synthetic ingredients pile up and create a fort for pro-inflammatory cells to pop up.
Studies show that cannabinoids are known to inhibit the growth of two harmful proteins:
- Gene-Related Protein (CGRP)
- OX 42
These biomarkers are precursors to conditions like cancer and heart disease. By cleaning them out of the gut, you will naturally create a less acidic environment.
This is why studies suggest that CBD can help the growth of probiotic bacteria. Coupled with the fact that we know there are CB receptors in our GI tract, CBD may help with symptoms associated with gastrointestinal issues.
3. CBD Improves Skincare
What’s so unique about the endocannabinoid system is that its presence is almost everywhere. In fact, the largest organ in our body has its own endocannabinoid system.
Studies confirm that there are receptors directly under the epidermis. When you use topical CBD products, the cannabinoids can penetrate through the pores and stimulate the receptors. This is useful for those who are battling skin conditions and painful joints.
In addition, CBD is a strong antioxidant. Within its genetic makeup are omega-3 fatty acids. These help clean the debris and dead tissue lying under your skin. Simultaneously, the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD combat the cause of the irritant skin.
4. CBD Pain Relief
Anytime an inflammation triggers a response from your system, your brain wants to draw your attention to the area. That’s your body’s way of telling you to fix the issue. The brain does this by creating pain.
When the receptors send an inflammatory message to the endocannabinoid system, it triggers the brain to secrete a protein into the bloodstream. This protein is known as substance P.
Pain is just a perception. It’s a protein created by the body to draw attention to an inflammation. By attacking the inflammation, CBD tells the mind to stop tricking us into thinking we feel pain.
5. CBD and Weight Loss
While THC-laced products have a reputation of giving people the munchies, CBD has the opposite effect. In fact, it suppresses appetite.
In addition, CBD changes the way we consume energy. Within our fat tissue are calories that our body burns to use for energy. Due to dietary choices and lack of exercise, some of the fat tissue may turn into white adipose tissue.
This tissue hoards energy and causes us to feel lethargic. Simultaneously, we gain weight. You know why? Adipose tissue loves to hang out in the gut.
When CBD stimulates white tissue, it turns the tissue into a beige color. Beige tissue is less sticky than white, so it’s easier for your body to draw from. This process is known as fat browning.
What’s even better about beige tissue is that it stimulates cells around it as your body draws energy. Therefore, beige tissue breeds beige tissue. In turn, we have more energy and burn more fat.
CBD and the Human Body
The CBD market is still in the beginning stages. More research needs to be done. Besides one CBD medication for epilepsy, CBD products are not seen as medicine. Therefore, they should be seen as a supplement to better your everyday life. Be sure to speak with a physician before you try a new product.
As time goes on, our perceptions of CBD might change. After all, look how far we’ve come in the short time CBD has been legal. The sky’s the limit, but be sure to do your research first.
Have you ever used CBD products? Let us know your experiences in the comments below!