As the medical cannabis revolution continues to advance, the entire world is finally beginning to see many Cannabidiol (CBD) benefits for human health. Among all the vital organs of the body, the one that most interacts with cannabis is the brain. The Endocannabinoid System goes beyond this region of the nervous system. Once a Cannabinoid like CBD enters the body, brain function is one of the first processes to be affected. Numerous studies have looked at how cannabidiol affects brain function, and most have shown promising results and led to more research. But how exactly does CBD affect the brain and overall health?
The brain consists of a large number of highly specialized cells known as neurons. Each connects to many others through structures called synapses. These are sites where one neuron communicates with another through the release of chemical messengers, known as neurotransmitters. The sensitivity of a neuron to a specific neurotransmitter depends on whether or not it contains a receptor that "fits" that transmitter, much like an electrical outlet fits a plug. If a neuron consists of receptors that look like a particular neurotransmitter, then it can respond directly to that transmitter. Otherwise, you generally can't. In conclusion, all neurons contain multiple neurotransmitter receptors, allowing them to respond to some of them, but not others.
Brain receptors are not only sensitive to neurotransmitters naturally produced in the brain, such as dopamine or serotonin, but also to chemical messengers produced outside the body, such as plant phytocannabinoids such as THC or CBD. Therefore, when you eat edible food or inhale some steam, you are allowing compounds originally produced by a plant to enter your body, travel through your bloodstream, and enter your brain. Once they arrive, these compounds that are derived from plant can influence brain activity by interacting with receptors in neurons. But they don't interact with all neurons, only those with the appropriate receptors.
CBD has effects on different receptor systems
Although it is a cannabinoid, CBD does not interact directly with the two classic cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2). Instead, it affects signalling through CB1 and CB2 neuroreceptors indirectly. This partly explains why, unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive. In addition to its indirect influence on the CB1 and CB2 receptors, CBD can increase the levels of cannabinoids naturally produced by the body (known as Endocannabinoids) by inhibiting the enzymes that break them down.
What is even more intriguing is that CBD also influences many non-cannabinoid receptor systems in the brain, interacting with receptors that are sensitive to a variety of drugs and neurotransmitters. These include opioid receptors, known for their role in regulating pain. Opioid receptors are the key targets of pharmaceutical painkillers and drugs of abuse such as morphine, heroin, and fentanyl. CBD can interact well with dopamine receptors, and this receptor plays a crucial role in regulating many aspects of behaviour and cognition, including motivation and reward-seeking behaviour.
CBD and inflammation
When we talk about inflammation, CBD is an effective anti-inflammatory also at the CNS level, where the accumulation of plaques and neurofibrillary tangles resulting in one of the causes that the associated brain inflammatory processes generate a multitude of toxic molecules for neurons. These molecules are known as free radicals which are toxic to cells and constitute oxidative stress. Being able to eliminate or counteract these radicals is crucial for the balance of cells and tissues, and CBD also gives us the antioxidant effect that we need in this situation.
Causes of Brain inflammation
Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain. There are many causes, but the most common and well known is a viral infection.
In general, encephalitis only causes flu-like signs and symptoms, such as fever or headache, or it causes no symptoms. Sometimes flu-like symptoms are more severe. Encephalitis can also cause confusion, seizures, or sensory or motor problems, such as vision or hearing problems. In some cases, encephalitis can be life-threatening.
The exact cause of brain inflammation is often unknown. But when known, it is likely a viral infection. Bacterial infections and non-infectious inflammatory diseases can also cause encephalitis.
Symptoms of Brain inflammation
Most people with viral brain inflammation have mild flu-like symptoms, such as:
- Pain in muscles or joints
- Fatigue or weakness
Sometimes the signs and symptoms are more serious, and may include the following:
- Confusion, agitation, or hallucinations
- Loss of sensation or paralysis in certain areas of the face or body
- Muscular weakness
- Speech or hearing problems
- Loss of consciousness (including coma)
In infants and young children, signs and symptoms may also include:
- Lump in the soft spots (fontanelles) of the baby's skull
- Nausea and vomiting
- Body stiffness
- Poor feeding or not waking up to feed
How could CBD be an effective treatment for inflammation?
CBD and inflammation are two words that often go together, as CBD has been observed to be an effective treatment for inflammation. Whether inflammation is a symptom of an underlying disease or is a disease itself, CBD has been shown to play a therapeutic role. This means that it helps mediate the immune response associated with diseases that arise from autoimmunity, such as injury. According to studies, CBD also fights inflammation by exerting an effect that is more immunosuppressive on macrophages, which are the cells responsible for inflammation. CBD also reduces chronic inflammatory pain associated with inflammation by activating glycine receptors.
What types of inflammation can CBD Oil help with?
There are two types of inflammation, they are acute inflammation and chronic inflammation.
Inflammation is usually a symptom of an underlying problem, such as an injury. In such cases, the immune system will work to fight off any bacteria or viruses that may be present at the point of injury, resulting in what is known as acute inflammation. A study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology analyzed the efficacy of cannabidiol in relieving acute inflammation in rats and concluded that CBD represents a useful pharmacological alternative in the treatment of acute brain inflammation and pain.
A study conducted by the University of Milano revealed that cannabidiol also successfully treated inflammation.
CBD Oils have proven to be a good alternative to laboratory-made drugs. These oils have been tested and proven functional by renowned medical professionals. Since then, CBD Oils have been established to be useful in treating a variety of common ailments such as pain, inflammation, anxiety, epilepsy, arthritis, among others. CBD has also been seen to help control blood pressure, which has the effect of limiting the patient's exposure to the risks of stroke and heart disease. Given the versatility of CBD Oil and the fact that it has been endorsed by respected health institutions like Harvard Medical School, it appears to be a viable alternative to synthetic drugs.