CBD research is undergoing rapid development. With each new study, scientists discover more ways that cannabis and its natural compounds influence our bodies in positive and surprising ways.
In fact, a previously unknown and natural biochemical communication system in the human body was discovered after research on the effects of cannabis. It led to the discovery of the endocannabinoid system.
Scientists have found there are receptors in our brains that respond pharmacologically to cannabis. From this, they identified endogenous cannabinoid compounds in our bodies that bind to those receptors.
WHAT ARE CANNABINOIDS?
Cannabinoids are chemicals in cannabis that cause drug-like effects throughout the body. They are also known as phytocannabinoids. The main active cannabinoid in cannabis is delta-9-THC. Another active cannabinoid is cannabidiol (CBD), which may relieve pain and lower inflammation without causing the “high” of delta-9-THC.
According to the National Institute of Health in the United States, cannabinoids may be useful in treating the side effects of cancer and cancer treatment.
Other possible effects of cannabinoids include:
• Anti-inflammatory activity.
• Blocking cell growth.
• Preventing the growth of blood vessels that supply tumors.
• Antiviral activity.
• Relieving muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis.
CBD is one of more than 80 active cannabinoid chemicals found in the marijuana plant. Unlike the main psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not produce euphoria or intoxication.
Cannabinoids have their effect mainly by interacting with specific receptors on cells in the brain and body: the CB1 receptor, found on neurons and glial cells in various parts of the brain, and the CB2 receptor, found mainly in the body’s immune system.
The euphoric effects of THC are caused by its activation of CB1 receptors. CBD has a very low affinity for these receptors (100 fold less than THC) and when it binds it produces little to no effect. There is growing evidence that CBD acts on other brain signaling systems, and that these actions may be important contributors to its therapeutic effects.