CBD is often used to help people manage pain, anxiety and other health conditions. Some studies show that it may help with sleep and some types of cancer, but more research is needed.
When purchasing CBD, look for a third party lab certificate on the label. This is important to make sure that you are getting a quality product.
Cannabinoids are chemicals that bind to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and other organs. They have many different effects on the body, including pain reduction, reducing nausea and vomiting, and altering mood. There are two FDA-approved medications that contain lab-created cannabinoids: Marinol (dronabinol) and Cesamet (nabilone).
The other medical use of cannabinoids is to treat certain types of cancer and AIDS. They are taken orally, usually in the form of capsules or liquids. They are also used to prevent seizures caused by Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
The phytocannabinoids found in the Cannabis plant include delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol, and cannabichromene. There are also synthetic cannabinoids, which are laboratory-produced compounds that bind to cannabinoid
CBD’s Effects on the Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) responds to the natural cannabinoids produced by the body and to phytocannabinoids like CBD. This system regulates a number of important bodily functions including pain perception, the immune response and body temperature. CBD interacts with the ECS by activating TRPV1 receptors that work to control the body’s pain and temperature responses. CBD also increases the amount of anandamide in the body, often referred to as the “bliss molecule.” Anandamide is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter that sends messages between neurons and helps influence mood, cognitive, sensory and motor functions.
CBD acts as a “reuptake inhibitor,” prolonging the life of these natural endocannabinoids so they can exert their therapeutic effects for longer. This boosts their effectiveness much like lifting weights helps tone a weak bicep. It is possible that this boost is one of the reasons why CBD is so effective at reducing anxiety and pain in humans and animals. It also reduces cravings for opiates in people with opioid use disorder.
CBD’s Effects on Pain
Studies suggest that CBD may help with a number of pain-related conditions. In a recent study, participants with chronic neuropathic pain experienced significant improvement in their symptoms after taking CBD.
CBD interacts with various ion channels in the brain to reduce inflammation and promote analgesia. It acts as a positive allosteric modulator in the micromolar concentration range for ligand-gated ion channels such as GABAA, and also inhibits cationic currents through voltage-dependent sodium channels Cav3.1 and Cav3.3.
CBD is an important addition to any health-conscious lifestyle, but make sure you work with a healthcare provider to get the most benefit. Always start with the lowest dosage possible and track your symptoms to see if CBD is right for you. If you do decide to use it, be sure to buy from a trusted source and avoid smoking or vaping as this harms the lungs. Lastly, do not stop or change any medications without first consulting your doctor.
CBD’s Effects on Anxiety
CBD can reduce anxiety in a number of ways. It can calm the mind and increase sleepiness, which can help decrease anxiety symptoms. It also acts as a natural anxiolytic by decreasing the activation of the amygdala, which can cause fear and anxiety.
Researchers should carefully consider the research paradigm and design that is best suited to testing the effects of CBD on anxiety-related endpoints. Generally speaking, questions that focus on acute anxiety reactions are best addressed using experimental psychopathology paradigms, while questions that focus on the effects of CBD over longer durations are better answered by clinical study approaches.
A randomized placebo controlled trial found that participants who endorsed high levels of CBD expectancies experienced significantly diminished anxiety during a simulated public speaking test compared to those who endorsed low CBD expectancy conditions. This is consistent with other research that has shown that expectations play a critical role in placebo effects.