The brain is an essential part of the human body as it is the central organ of our nervous system. Its functions determine the state of our lives as it is the main actor responsible for determining senses like touch, smell, hearing, and vision. It is also responsible for things like emotions, communication, movement, and reasoning. In other words, humans would be completely lost and unable to live a normal life with the lack of a properly functioning brain.
Although there are numerous nutrition lifestyles which promote a healthy brain and are said to help keep a healthy lifestyle, there are other factors and compounds that can influence this important organ. For instance, the brain can be influenced by the external environment in which we are positioned but also the internal processes in our system. In this article, we will examine the ways in which CBD affects the brain and how it can help the organ maintain strength and boost its health. CBD, the natural compound found within the cannabis plant, is enjoying increased popularity in recent years and is becoming a preferred preventative method as well as a natural cure for a number of conditions such as cancer, obesity, Parkinson’s disease, or depression.
The cannabinoid can nowadays be found in a range of products such as CBD oil, CBD edibles, CBD tinctures, CBD vape oil, and more. But what does it do in reality for the brain and how can it be used to stimulate its functions?
CBD vs THC
For those of you who have experience with marijuana, you are probably aware of the enjoyable and sometimes maybe frightening sensation of being high or stoned. Common symptoms include laughing at anything around you, weird body feelings, a spur of thoughts and ideas, but also sometimes paranoia or a couch-lock. This is completely the doing of THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive substance found in cannabis.
CBD is completely different from THC and other cannabinoids as it is non-psychoactive, meaning that no mind-altering will be taking place after consumption. Instead, the compound is usually appreciated and used for its medical benefits in providing pain relief, a cure to anxiety, and more. If you are looking for relaxation or to decrease an ongoing condition, CBD may be the right option for you. The compound can be found both in hemp and marijuana, although it is commonly derived from hemp due to the plant’s low levels of THC.
The way in which cannabis’ cannabinoid interacts with the body is via the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system includes two major receptors responsible for a range of functions in the body – the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Both THC and CBD communicate with these receptors but THC dominates over CBD as it has more effect on them. CB1 receptors are the ones positioned in different areas of the brain and are responsible for things like emotion, sensory interpretation, memory, and cognition.
A neurological perspective on CBD
CBD can play a significant role in protecting the brain and helping it regulate its normal functions in a number of ways. Let’s look into the ways in which CBD affects the brain in more detail.
- CBD and Neurotransmitters
In order for the brain to communicate with the rest of the body, it uses chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. They play an important role in sending messages to nerve cells with instructions to send information across your brain and body. For instance, the heart is instructed to beat, the stomach to digest food and other substances, while the lungs are told to breathe. This is all possible thanks to the neurotransmitters. They are also responsible for regulating our mood, sleeping pattern, concentration and can, therefore, result in discomfort or serious health conditions if they are not balanced or they are damaged.
There are a number of factors, which can harm the body’s neurotransmitters, such as unsuitable nutrition, stress or anxiety, neurotoxins, or even certain medication, which play around with the neurotransmitter levels. Where does CBD find its place in all of this?
Studies have revealed CBD’s ability to boost the existing levels of serotonin and glutamate neurotransmitters, which take part in managing personality, executive functions, mood, learning, and memory. The brain’s prefrontal cortex is heavily dependent on serotonin, while nerve cells in the brain release glutamate, making both elements essential for normal behavior.
- CBD protecting the brain cells
The brain cells are an essential part of the human body and they certainly need protection as they are exposed to threats from a range of factors. The CBD cannabinoid is capable of protecting neurons from degeneration and can be used as prevention for Alzheimer’s disease or other neurological conditions.
One of the dominant factors behind cognitive inabilities among older people stems from the lack of neuroplasticity and the slowdown of neurogenesis in the aging brain. Both are essential as neuroplasticity is responsible for the reorganization and change of the brain, helping the brain learn and memorize, while neurogenesis is the ability to give birth to new brain cells. The cannabinoid has been related to the ability to boost neurogenesis and neuroplasticity, therefore protecting the brain for losing its abilities and keeping it young despite the aging of the human body.
- CBD as an antioxidants
It may be a new fact for some that CBD is actually compared to vitamins C and E when it comes to its antioxidant potential. Its powerful antioxidant abilities help CBD play a role in protecting the brain from oxidative damage. This usually leads to a decrease of the brain’s functions as a result of aging. One of the ways in which CBD helps is by stopping free radicals from causing damage to the brain. Free radicals occur regardless of the way of living as they are associated with anything such as eating, breathing, sleeping, and other standard functions of humans.
Consuming CBD can prevent free radicals from causing harm to the brain and can help keep a young and functioning central organ.
- CBD reducing seizures
The research behind the powerful cannabinoid CBD has uncovered the substance’s potential to treat epilepsy and other neuropsychiatric disorders. This is mainly due to its anticonvulsant properties, which enable it to drastically reduce or prevent seizures. While experts point us in the direction that this is made possible thanks to the CBD’s communication with the endocannabinoid system and its ability to antagonize CB1 receptors, there is still more research to be done in order to provide a detailed explanation of the full process.
- CBD and inflammation
One of the dominant and most popular abilities of CBD is to reduce inflammation, which is another positive influence that it can have on the brain once in our system. Although inflammation is essential for human life, higher levels than necessary may have severe negative effects and lead to a range of illnesses. Inflammation has been linked to conditions such as depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, memory loss or damage, and even strokes. In addition, research has connected inflammation with brain fog.
CBD’s power to reduce or completely omit inflammation in the brain makes is a powerful fighter against the symptoms of a range of neurological illnesses.
How the magic happens
It may be interesting to dig deeper into how the cannabinoid actually works in the brain. We have already touched upon the endocannabinoid system but CBD is also able to create an influence via a range of different molecular pathways. CBD is capable of boosting the binding action of a range of protein-coupled receptors. Here are some of the receptor systems with which CBD establishes a relationship:
- Serotonin system
- Vanilloid receptors
- Orphan receptors
- Nuclear receptors
Thanks to its communication with these systems and receptors, CBD becomes a powerful agent for processes such as preventing the growth and migration of cancer cells, regulating temperature and the perception of pain, stimulating bone density and reabsorption, and more.
Nature has cleverly provided a natural cure for a list of harmful conditions, with which medicine has struggled to cope over the years. CBD can be used both for the treatment of different illnesses and as prevention in helping the brain maintain its strength and stability. If CBD therapy is something that you are interested in, our advice is to schedule a consultation with a medical professional in order to get the most of the powerful cannabinoid. Experts will be able to guide you through the way and make informed suggestions on preferable dosing, intake method, and more.