CBD and Brain Health
CBD and Brain Health Support
When learning about the benefits of the endocannabinoid CBD, it is important to distinguish it from the many other compounds that derive from the Hemp plant. There are in excess of 200 currently known cannabinoids, each playing a role in the endocannabinoid system (ECS) of the body.
The ECS is a vast network of cellular receptors and chemical signals that are densely packed throughout our brains and bodies. Of all the cannabinoids discovered to date, CBD is the most potent in terms of its large variety of health benefits.
Cannabinoids affect two types of receptors in the ECS: CB1 and CB2.
CB1 receptors are primarily in the central nervous system and are responsible for governing coordination, movement, memory, mood, pain, appetite and other functions.
The CB2 receptors are in the peripheral nervous system, influencing pain, and inflammation and are critical to helping control our immune functioning, and they also play a role in modulating intestinal inflammation, contraction, and pain caused by inflammatory bowel conditions. [https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1038/sj.bjp.0707486 ]
The cannabinoid receptors in the brain (CB1 receptors) outnumber many of the other receptor types in the brain, and have a controlling mechanism on the levels and activity of most of the neurotransmitters which transfer electrical signals across the nerve pathways in your nervous system.
CBD is a non-psychoactive compound, which means that people do not feel any cognitive impairment or a ‘high’ after using it. This property of CBD makes it ideal for therapeutic use.
- CBD Neuroprotective effects
What do we mean when we say neuroprotective? A neuroprotective substance or a neuroprotectant, in simple terms, is a compound that is capable of protecting and reducing damage to the nervous system and brain in general. These substances also help in the development of neurons – the brain cells responsible for the electrical impulses in our nervous system. CBD gives a significant boost to the growth and development of neurons. Due to strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory features, CBD can regulate the neurological functions of the brain, while also protecting the central nervous system.
- Increases serotonin levels
The CB2 receptors in the brain improve the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that we need to stay healthy both mentally and emotionally. When your brain produces adequate serotonin, you’re healthier and happier. On the other hand, a lack of serotonin leads to anxiety disorders and depression. Creating homeostasis in such neurotransmitters appears to help relieve depression and might further boost brain function.
- Increases dopamine
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is known for improving our reward perception. Our dopamine levels increase when we eat delicious food, meditate, or perform physical exercise.
CBD is helpful in treating depression, which occurs when the brain lacks in dopamine as well as other necessary pleasure receptors. When you activate dopamine by taking CBD, this results in experiencing heightened pleasure, thus treating depression. Many anti-depressant medications work by increasing dopamine, but with harmful side effects. CBD does the same thing safely, and this is why many people are turning to CBD to balance out mental ailments.
Reduces oxidation damage in the brain
One of the many causes of reduced health in people is due to cell oxidation caused by free radicals that end up in our system. This happens due to pollutants in the air we breathe and the water we drink, and from chemical substances in the cleaning chemicals we use and might be sprayed on the food we eat. Our bodies rely on antioxidants to neutralise these free radicals reduce the damage they cause to the healthy cells in our bodies.
CBD Oil in a full spectrum form is known to contain potent antioxidant compounds, and some are thought to be even more potent than some better known antioxidants such as Vitamin C. CBD interaction with CB2 receptors in the ECS supports the fight against oxidation within the nervous system and the brain, promoting optimal brain function levels. As our brains are composed mainly of lipids (fats) and the oxidation of fats, known as lipid peroxidation, is a particularly damaging form of oxidation in the body, CBD offers its users quite substantial brain health protection.
- CBD helps with Depression
The endocannabinoid system, or ECS for short, plays a key role in mitigating the effects of depression. It is responsible for many different aspects of neurotransmission, neuroendocrine, and inflammatory processes, which can become damaged in those with depression. Scientific research has found that those who are diagnosed as depressed showed a type of impairment in the signaling capabilities and functioning of their endocannabinoid systems.
CBD is known to boost the functioning of the endocannabinoid system. It works on the enzymes within the ECS that are responsible for absorbtion/uptake of the body’s own endocannabinoids.
With more endocannabinoids present, the ECS can function at an optimal level.
Because the ECS exhibits significant effects on the processes that are damaged in patients that suffer from depression, it is possible to conclude that CBD holds potential in treating depression.
A review published in Behaviour Pharmacology (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16148438/) examined the signaling capabilities of the endocannabinoid system in patients who were depressed against those that were healthy.
It found that those that were depressed showed a type of impairment in the functioning of their endocannabinoid systems.
There is also significant evidence to suggest that one of the main receptors in the endocannabinoid system, the CB1 receptor, plays a significant role in depression.
CBD is known to boost the functioning of the endocannabinoid system, which makes it a highly regarded option for those suffering from depression.
- CBD acts on serotonin receptors to reduce anxiety
For anxiety, CBD works like this – when the body naturally releases endocannabinoid chemicals (or you ingest them through a CBD tincture such as a full spectrum, organic oil like https://www.serenitycbd.ie/collections/full-spectrum-cbd-oil/products/pura-vida-full-spectrum-cbd-oil-30ml-10percent, they connect with the receptors and that stimulates the body’s natural ability to create serotonin, a natural mood stabilizer.
CBD works to help balance serotonin levels in the body, which is partially responsible for symptoms of both anxiety and depression.
CBD has been shown to function as a serotonin-subtype receptor (a 5-HT1a receptor agonist). The term “agonist” refers to an activator in pharmacology. CBD binds to the 5-HT1a receptor and activates it.
Activation of the 5-HT1a receptor has been shown in scientific studies to have the following beneficial effects on physical and mental health:
- Reduced aggression;
- Anxiolytic (anxiety-relieving) effects;
- Prosocial effects;
- Reduced impulsivity;
- Analgesic (pain-relieving) properties.