CBD is extracted from the hemp plant (Cannabis Sativa). Although Hemp is a member of the cannabis family, there is no way that CBD will cause any type of intoxication. That is why CBD is legal and readily available. CBD is not a medical treatment. This extract is a dietary supplement, but many people report that CBD is an effective pain reliever.
To understand how CBD (cannabidiol) reduces or eliminates pain, you may need to know why and how your body reacts to cannabinoids.
Your Endocannabinoid System
You have a complex network of messengers and receptors called your endocannabinoid system (ECS). These receptors and messengers work with each other to cause a response in your brain. The ECS is responsible for the regulation of many of your bodily functions. Some of those functions include:
- Pain perception
- Immune function
- Temperature regulation
- Sleep regulation
- Emotional responses
- Appetite and metabolism
Scientists believe the function of the ECS is to stabilize and regulate the functions necessary for survival. Disease in your body is thought to be caused by the failure of this system to remain balanced.
Your Natural Cannabinoids
In your endocannabinoid system, cannabinoids are the messengers, neurotransmitters. The cannabinoids produced naturally within your body are called endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are produced as needed. There are two main endocannabinoids produced by your body.
- 2-arachidonoyl glycerol(2-AG) found mostly in your brain
- Anandamidefound in higher concentrations in other areas of your body
Although endocannabinoids are created as your body needs them, they are broken down by enzymes rather quickly.
The cannabinoids that come from sources outside of your body are exogenous cannabinoids. The cannabinoids in CBD and marijuana are exogenous, but these messengers interact with the receptors of your endocannabinoid system. That is why CBD can create a reaction within your body.
Exogenous cannabinoids, like CBD, are not broken down as quickly by enzymes as your body’s endocannabinoids. The effects of exogenous cannabinoids are typically stronger and longer lasting.
The Effects of CBD on Your Endocannabinoid Receptors
Now that you understand how the messengers work, you may want to know a bit about the endocannabinoid receptors. Again, there are two types of receptors. Those receptors include:
- CB1 receptors are most concentrated in your brain and spinal column, but they can be found throughout your entire body. The CB1 receptors in the amygdala are responsible for memory and emotion. CB1 receptors in the hypothalamus influence your memory and emotions, while the CB1 receptors in your nerve endings are responsible for your perception of pain.
- CB2receptors are mostly concentrated in your immune cells and your peripheral nervous system. CB2 receptors reduce inflammation when they are activated by their messenger. Inflammation is believed to be the cause of many diseases and disorders within the body.
In recent laboratory studies, it was determined that CBD influences CB1 and CB2 receptors, but the signals are indirect. CBD does not directly bind with them. That is why CBD does not have any psychogenic effect on your brain. CBD inhibits the enzymes that break down your endocannabinoids. Blocking those enzymes leaves more cannabinoids active in your body.
CBD also keeps your body from absorbing the anandamide it produces. The theory is that the more anandamide there is in your bloodstream, the less pain you will feel. The effect CBD has on inflammation in the nervous system may alleviate pain as well.
CBD May Provide Relief from Pain
While CBD has been used for many centuries to alleviate pain, studies within the medical community are very recent. There are no medical claims made on behalf of CBD as a pain reliever. CBD is a dietary supplement with the potential to be beneficial for a variety of condition. Some of those conditions may include:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Pain and nausea from cancer
- Muscle Pain
- Joint Pain
The study of your endocannabinoid system is relatively new, and not everything is fully understood. But it is helpful to know the potential CBD may provide for pain relief. CBD may work with your natural endocannabinoid system. Studies suggest that CBD blocks the enzymes that break down anandamide. Keeping more anandamide in your bloodstream and reducing inflammation may alleviate your pain.