How CBD Works

Cannabidiol, aka CBD, is a derivative of hemp plant which is completely non-psychoactive. It has a proven history of providing relief to various ailments. Research on medicinal effects of CBD has begun only recently. The scientific research and clinic trials have been promising and have already identified 65 molecular pathways of CBD that provide significant relief in several medical conditions.

These pathways and receptors in human body which are affected by endogenous cannabinoid compounds are called Endocannabinoid System.

Although CBD has little binding affinity for either of the two cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2), cannabidiol modulates several non-cannabinoid receptors and ion channels. CBD also acts through various receptor-independent pathways.

Here are some of the pathways in human body that CBD provides therapeutic effects on:

Hydroxytriptamine (5HT1A) Serotonin Receptors

The neuroscientist team at University of Sao Paulo (Brazil) and King’s college (London) collaborated and led a pivotal study into psychological and psychosomatic physical effects of CBD in neural pathways of brain.

Their study discovered that prominent 5-HT1A serotonin receptor in human brain is immediately activated by CBD. In layman terms, CBD has immediate and profound positive effect on pain, anxiety, depression, sleep, nausea (also nausea induced vomiting), addiction and several other neurological processes.

Transient Receptor Potential Cation Channel Subfamily V (TRPV1) Receptors

CBD has a direct affinity for TRPV1 receptors which is known to mediate pain perception, inflammation and body temperature. TRPV1 are the receptors that are known to bind and execute the medicinal effects of most medicinal herbs in human body.

GPR55 receptors

GPR55 are pathways found mostly in cerebellum of human brain. Overactive GPR55 receptor signaling is associated with osteoporosis. An activated GPR55 promotes cancer cell multiplication, as per individual researches conducted by scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai and University of Aberdeen. This receptor is expressed in various types of cancer.

The studies also discovered that CBD effectively blocks this receptor and its effects by inhibiting certain enzymes.

Peroxisome Proliferator Activated Receptors (PPARs)

PPARs are expressed in and around the human body cell’s nucleus. CBD activates the PPAR-gamma. This results in an anti-proliferative reaction as well as an ability to induce tumor regression in human lung cancer cell lines. This also results in degradation of amyloid plaque in human brain, a primary chemical that induces Alzheimer’s disease.

PPAR receptors also regulate cellular functions that are involved in energy regulation, lipid consumption, insulin sensitivity, and other metabolic functions in human cells. This translates to direct benefit for diabetes patients.

Molecular Reuptake Inhibiton

As per a prominent study by Stony Brook University scientists, CBD gets into human cells by attaching itself to fatty acid binding protein (FABP) transport molecules like many other lipids like Anadamide. Once Anadamide is inside the human cell, it is metabolized by FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase). But CBD inhibits reuptake of Anadamide by human cells by restricting anandamide’s access to FABP.

Study further ascertained that such reuptake inhibition of several molecules by CBD might be a key mechanism that provide perceptibly profound neuroprotective effects against seizures and chronic pain.

Anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety effects provided by CBD can be partially credited to its inhibition of adenosine reuptake. Essentially, CBD enhances the levels of Adenosine in human brain by delaying the reuptake of this neurotransmitter. Adenosine binds to A1A and A2A receptors which regulate several cardiovascular functions. These receptors also provide broad spectrum anti-inflammatory across the human musculoskeletal system, nervous system, etc.

Allosteric Receptor Modulation

In simple terms, Allosteric Receptor Modulation means reducing/increasing signal transmission of a receptor by changing its shape and size. CBD is a known allosteric receptor modulator.

Researches conducted in Australia discovered CBD increases signal modulation of the GABA-A receptor thereby increasing effects of Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA). GABA is known to provide calm sleep and lowering the anxiety.

At the same time, Canadian researchers discovered that CBD decreases signal modulation of CB1 receptors which bind with THC. This means that when you consume a CBD rich product which has THC in it, you still won’t get high. It effectively counters the psychosis induced by THC.

GPR6 Receptors

G-coupled protein receptor (GPR6) is found in the basal ganglia region of the brain. It has been shown that a depletion of GPR6 results in decrease of dopamine in the brain. Further research on this subject suggests that GPR6 could be key component in development of Parkinson’s disease treatment. In preclinical studies, it is discovered that CBD interacts closely with GPR6 receptor and boosts dopamine levels in human brain alleviating symptoms in Parkinson’s.