Have you ever wondered what hormone is responsible for your mood and general well-being? Well, Serotonin is one hormone that has been found to help keep you calm and happy. It also maintains your cognition and aids in better sleep. Research is also showing that there is a direct relationship between this hormone and Cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical found in Hemp Plants. Let us delve deeper and decipher the facts about the relationship between CBD and this hormone
What is Serotonin
For starters, Serotonin is a brain chemical that regulates feelings of well-being and happiness. The neurotransmitter, also known as hydroxytryptamine, is a multifaceted compound with diverse human functions. Other than regulating the GI Motility, it is also present in the central nervous system, which acts as a significant contributor to sleep, cognition, learning, memory, and mood. This means when your serotonin levels are at a normal level, you should feel more focused, calmer, and happier. On the other hand, when the serotonin levels are lower, it becomes a risk factor for depression, anxiety, and in worse cases, suicidal behaviour.
How can CBD affect Serotonin?
Interest in the potential health benefits of the Hemp Plant has grown tremendously over the years. New research on the area has focused on using CBD to fight depression. For instance, studies suggest that CBD has antidepressant-like effects that can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. Before we delve into how CBD affects Serotonin, we must define and understand what CBD is all about.
What is CBD?
CBD is a chemical compound found in the Cannabis Sativa plant, which has different plant <variations, such as Hemp or Cannabis. Now, Cannabis contains more than 80 compounds known as Cannabinoids, the main one being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is a psychoactive substance that produces the high effect of Marijuana. In perspective, a psychoactive substance is a chemical substance that affects how the brain works and causes changes in mood, thoughts, feelings, or behaviour.
Experts believe that CBD’s potential benefits in fighting anxiety and depression are related to its positive effect on serotonin receptors in the brain. Findings from a leading medicinal researcher, Ethan Russo, show that CBD acts as the modest affinity agonist. This means that CBD increases binding at the receptor the same way Serotonin does.
Another research showed that CBD exerts antidepressants directly through the serotonin system. While it doesn’t necessarily boost the serotonin levels, it appears to work by influencing how the brain responds to the Serotonin that is already in the system. This study was backed by another study that examined the therapeutic potential of Cannabidiol and found that the CBD’S effect on the Serotonin receptors in the brain produced both an antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects.
What effect does CBD have on health?
CBD has been studied for its potential role in easing symptoms in many common health issues. The treatment, which comes in various forms, including oils, capsules, sprays, creams, and gels, has been found to successfully treat many health conditions. Below are some situations that can be treated or alleviated with CBD.
Easing Depression and Anxiety
According to a survey, more than 60% of CBD users take it for anxiety. This is not surprising, because generally speaking, CBD’s ability to calm is inarguably the logic behind its most popular effect and widespread usage. In 2017 a study done by the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry proved promising results on using CBD to alleviate anxiety. All the people who took 600mg of CBD in that study experienced reduced anxiety, compared to those who took the placebo. As you know, depression and anxiety are linked to low serotonin levels. CBD’s known effect on the Serotonin receptors might partly explain the less anxiety levels experienced.
Reducing PTSD Symptoms
When a person goes through post-traumatic stress, some of the symptoms experienced include nightmares, avoidance of situations that bring back the trauma, anxiety, and a depressed mood.
A 2018 study done by the Journal of complementary medicine showed that CBD decreased PTSD symptoms among patients. In that experiment, ten out of eleven patients who received CBD reported decreased anxiety along with other related PTSD symptoms. Even so, experts recommend that PTSD patients should use CBD in tandem with therapy for better results.
Relieving Unmanageable Pain
Back in 2010, Canada approved the use of Sativex, an aromucusal spray with equal proportions of THC and CBD. The medication is used to treat multiple sclerosis and related central neuropathic pain. In the US, researchers who administered CBD to a group of patients with brain nerve and spinal cord damage reported that the patients showed a significant reduction in intense, sharp pains and cold. In fact, THC and CBD-infused medication are used to relieve cancer pain in Canada and the U.S.
Protecting Against Neurological Disease
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of CBD, as shown in the clinical trials, have been suggested to have neurological benefits. Experts have deduced that these characteristics can provide significant neuron-protection.
Used to Treat ALS
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, otherwise known as ALS is a disease that causes the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to deteriorate. The condition worsens over time and results in loss of muscle control. While there is still no known cure, there are only two FDA medications for ALS. Research has suggested that people who have ALS can benefit from the entourage effect created by combining CBD and THC.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, though. Other health conditions that can be treated or managed with CBD include;
- Select epilepsy syndromes- CBD can be used to treat epileptic seizures
- Opioid addiction
- Diabetic complications- reduces the high glucose level on other cells in the body
- Arthritis symptoms
From our discussion, it is pretty evident that there are many benefits of CBD. While that is the case, it is essential to note the use of CBD to treat a medical problem is still a gray area to some, as substantial clinical evidence on treating human beings is needed to back up most of the claims, however, anecdotally, CBD has been seen to ease a large range of medical conditions.