CBD is going through a craze. Studies over recent years have indicated promising benefits in relation to the use of CBD. As time goes on, more potential advantages of this compound are starting to emerge, and more people are being tempted to add CBD into their lifestyles, whether in the form of the best CBD vape pen or CBD cream. Research has suggested that CBD could actually have the ability to affect our brains and consequently affect us in both mental and physical ways. This article takes a brief glance at five different ways that it is believed that CBD can affect our brains.
WHAT IS CBD?
Otherwise known as Cannabidiol, CBD is one of more than a hundred components (cannabinoids) found in the cannabis plant. It is anecdotally known for its variety of potential health and wellbeing benefits. CBD should not be confused with THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the primary psychoactive cannabinoid derived from cannabis plants. CBD, on the other hand, is not psychotropic in any way. This is why many people are starting to see it as an attractive, natural and safe supplement.
It is argued that CBD could relieve a wide range of issues that many of us suffer from, including pain and depression. Research is still ongoing, but studies so far seem to suggest that CBD may also be able to affect our brain function and bring a multitude of benefits to our lives.
Let’s take a look at five ways that CBD is thought to affect our brains.
- RELIEVES ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION
One way that CBD is thought to benefit our mental health is by relieving anxiety and depression. In one study, researchers were considering the effects of CBD on our brains and our anxiety levels. They found that CBD reduces blood flow to the parts of the brain that are linked with anxiety, such as the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is usually overactive in people with anxiety disorders; thus, the CBD was found to lower stress levels. The same study found that CBD reduced overall anxiety levels in the participants too.
It is also thought that CBD may be effective as an antidepressant as well. It is believed that CBD works to balance the dysfunction in the endocannabinoid system in people who have depression. Furthermore, CBD was found to work on a serotonin receptor that influences depression symptoms.
This is very hopeful news for people who suffer from anxiety or depression. Antidepressants – which is what is currently often prescribed to those suffering from such disorders – can take a very long time to work and often present unwanted side effects. CBD, on the other hand, works imminently and without severe side effects.
- PROTECTS OUR BRAIN CELLS
Another impressive way that CBD is meant to affect our brain is by protecting our brain cells. Encouragingly, the United States Department of Health and Human Services got a patent back in 1999 for the neuroprotective effects of cannabinoids. This patent explains that cannabis and its chemical properties can protect brain cells in people with neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Many people are unaware of this patent, but it actually sheds encouraging light on CBD and its possible medical benefits.
- RELIEVES PAIN AND INFLAMMATION
The next way that CBD is thought to assist our brains is by relieving inflammation and pain. In fact, for thousands of years, cannabis has been used to alleviate pain. THC has long been known to have a pain-killing ability, but new studies suggest CBD can be effective in this aspect too. So how exactly does it do that?
Well, CBD decreases the amount of inflammatory molecules (chemokines and cytokines, for example) which occur at places of inflammation. This ability by CBD to decrease inflammation peripherally aids in blocking pain signals going to the brain, therefore relieving both inflammation and the pain that often goes along with it.
- WORKS TO ALLEVIATE PSYCHOSIS AND SEIZURES
Research has shown us that CBD may be effective in managing epilepsy. It is thought that CBD accomplishes this by lowering the degree of excitement of cells in the brain that contribute to seizures.
CBD is also known to have antipsychotic effects. It has been found that CBD increases anandamide in the brain. This is significant because increased levels of anandamide in the brain is associated with decreases in psychotic symptoms.
- ACTIVATES THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM
The endocannabinoid system is a complex central regulatory system that affects a variety of biological processes. It is comprised of a group of molecules known as cannabinoids and the cannabinoid receptors that they bind to.
Experts aren’t entirely sure how CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system. Many believe, though, that it works by preventing endocannabinoids from being broken down. Furthermore, CBD increases anandamide (as we discussed in our previous point). Anandamide is one of the very few natural cannabinoids made in the body. Plus, it plays a part in regulating other chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine and serotonin.
Whilst there are many potential benefits connected to CBD and our brains, research is still very much in its early stages. Further studies are needed to be conducted before we can say anything with complete certainty, but the research gathered so far paints a promising picture. There are several ways that CBD is believed to assist brain function and brain health, and what we know so far could be just the very tip of the iceberg.