Does CBD Work as a Solo Remedy?
Every new remedy that comes into the public consciousness is treated with a healthy dose of skepticism. Cannabidiol (CBD) has been getting the same treatment. A non-intoxicating derivative of the cannabis plant, it has emerged in recent times as a remedy for both mental and physical ills, with a list of potential benefits that seems endless.
So, are CBD wholesale products too good to be true, or can they genuinely as transformative for health as so many people are claiming?
What is CBD?
Firstly, CBD is a cannabinoid, a class of chemical that is rare and certainly understudied. These rare compounds are not completely unique to cannabis, but in contrast to more common compounds like terpenes, they are little nuggets of gold. Cannabinoid research has been slow going, mostly due to the prohibition of cannabis and the limited funding for studies. However, the 20th century was good for two things – it introduced us to cannabinoids, and eventually gave us a framework as to how they influence the body, mostly by acting inside the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
This was a significant breakthrough, as it showed that ancient wisdom about the therapeutic benefits of cannabis was not unfounded. The compounds from the plant really do affect us in ways that others simply do not. However, medical cannabis has historically involved using the whole plant, and only in recent decades have we been able to find out the effects of individual cannabinoids, such as CBD.
What is THC?
It has taken a lot longer for scientists to ascertain what CBD does than the more familiar tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). A psychoactive substance, THC activates the two identified receptors in the ECS, working as a more potent substitute to the natural endocannabinoid anandamide (AEA). In contrast, CBD actually restricts activity at cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2. However, this does not mean that CBD is a net negative for the ECS – in fact, blocking the CB1 receptor is how the compound produces an antipsychotic effect, which may aid the treatment of schizophrenia and psychosis.
How Does CBD Work?
But CBD’s effects are much grander and more complex even than that. Discovering AEA has been crucial in our understanding of how CBD works. The cannabinoid is essentially an AEA reuptake inhibitor, although it is not totally clear how this effect is produced. Some research suggests its by stopping AEA degradation by deactivating an enzyme known as fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), other studies point to CBD connecting with fatty-acid binding proteins (FABPs) to stop AEA from ever reaching FAAH, thereby indirectly preventing degradation.
It doesn’t really matter how CBD does it, as merely keeping more AEA in the body can have a therapeutic effect. This allows the ECS to function normally, with the body’s natural chemicals, rather than via the more powerful THC. That’s not to downplay THC, which is certainly necessary for treating some conditions as part of a whole-plant cannabis mix, but an indication that the herb can offer benefits without the psychoactive effects. This is vital, as the main reason society has missed out on the medical benefits of cannabis for so many decades is due to the drawbacks of intoxication.
Benefits of Regulating AEA Levels
CBD can help to improve your mood by regulating levels of AEA, which in turn regulates the CB1 receptor. This may be beneficial for those suffering from depression, bipolar disorder, and other mental ailments. AEA regulation at the CB1 receptor could also be why CBD alleviates pain and improves appetite.
The CB2 receptor is heavily implicated with inflammation and immune system response. The effect of CBD and AEA here is not simply anti-inflammatory, but one of immunomodulation. The messages sent through this receptor in the ECS stop an overflow of inflammations, caused by cytokine proteins.
This is far from an exhaustive list about what CBD does. Indeed, the effects are not just contained to the ECS. For instance, CBD affects the GABA-A receptor so that the GABA neurotransmitter can have a greater effect in the body, reducing anxiety in the process. However, hopefully, this post has shown that wholesale CBD products are not just the latest fad and that there is concrete science backing up the benefits we’re hearing about.