Cannabidiol – known as CBD in short– is one of the phytocannabinoids found in hemp and marijuana. The chemical compound interacts with and can influence the endocannabinoid system (ECS) found in your body. EVS plays a pivotal role in the digestive system, immune system, respiratory system, and endocrine system to name a few.
CBD and ECS
CB1 and CB2 are the two main kinds of receptors found in ECS. The CB1 receptors are mainly located throughout the nervous system and in the brain. However, they are also located in white blood cells, endocrine gland, spleen, and parts of the urinary and gastrointestinal tracts. Cannabinoids that attach to the CB1 receptors can have an effect on metabolism, coordination, and motor learning. CB2 receptors, contrarily, are present in your immune system and are also found in the lymph cells, kidneys, blood vessels, heart, endocrine, and bones.
Both CB1 and CB2 receptors respond to phytocannabinoids as well as endogenous cannabinoids. While CBD does not tie to these two receptors, it does influence ECS indirectly. Plus, CBD inhibits the fatty acid amide hydrolase enzyme that metabolizes anandamide in the body.
Anandamide, also known as the bliss molecule, is an endocannabinoid that attaches to cannabinoid receptors. Your body produces endocannabinoids on its own. The neurotransmitter anandamide is produced in the brain regions that are important in movement control, thought processes, motivation, and memory. It plays a significant role in regulating fertility, appetite, and pain. Plus, the endocannabinoid inhibits the growth of cancer cells. Surprisingly, anandamide’s structure is similar to cannabinoids. The neurotransmitter exhibits antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties by encouraging the production of new neurons.
Inflammation describes a series of physiological and biological processes which your body instigates in response to a chemical agent or micro-organism. However, too much inflammation can cause multiple chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and cancer.
Injuries like strained muscles or a sprained ankle lead to acute inflammation that manifests as swelling, pain, immobility, and redness. Harmful bacteria can also lead to acute inflammation. The purpose of this inflammation is to activate the healing process and protect the injured area. Specific cells reach the injured site and clear the damaged tissues.
Chronic inflammation is a constant inflammation that can last from months to years. This form of inflammation can be caused by an autoimmune disorder, infection, injury, and exposure to polluted air or industrial chemicals. Fatigue, fever, abdominal pain, rashes, and chest pain are some symptoms of chronic inflammation. Over time, chronic inflammation may damage your organs and tissues. Studies indicate that chronic inflammation can lead to asthma or cancer.
How CBD Helps With Inflammation
Evidence shows that CBD may help treat acute as well as chronic inflammation. The cannabinoid plays a prominent role in mediating the immune response linked with Alzheimer’s disease, depression, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma. A study published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine found that CBD may help treat a range of health conditions that involve oxidative stress and inflammation. These include Alzheimer’s disease, ischemia-reperfusion injury, and diabetes. The cannabidiol exerts an immunosuppressive effect on cells involved in immunity and inflammation (microglial and macrophages cells), fighting oxidative stress and inflammation. Additionally, CBD stimulates glycine receptors and decreases neuropathic and inflammatory pain.
According to a 2011 study, mice treated with CBD showed reduced amounts of macrophages in the intestine. The research concludes that CBD can play a significant role in treating inflammatory bowel diseases.
CBD for Athletes
Athletes are at a greater risk of chronic pathologies and acute musculoskeletal injury. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory actions, CBD can be taken as a health supplement and recovery supplement. The chemical substance can help decrease soreness and swelling and relieve pain. Further, it can help lessen inflammation associated with micro-tears after a heavy workout. The World Anti-Doping Agency has taken off CBD from the banned substances list. Now, players and Olympic athletes are allowed to use cannabidiol as a therapeutic agent or dietary supplement.