By Dr. Steven Salzman – Medical Director at Leafwell
Dipak Hemraj – Chief Research Officer at Leafwell
Cannabis and CBD (cannabidiol) is great for many things, but one thing in particular: stress. Cannabis is full of stress-busting cannabinoids and terpenes, and CBD is just one of them. THC, CBC, CBG, linalool, myrcene, limonene, humulene … the list goes on. Unlike THC, CBD is not associated with psychoactive effects.
Stress can lead to inflammation. When you are consistently stressed, your immune system is weakened after constantly releasing pro-inflammatory compounds (cytokines). The body is unable to recover properly, and inflammation becomes widespread, leading to worse health outcomes.
Leafwell will take you through how and why CBD can help improve your health.
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) – Disruption and Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD)
The ECS is involved in many of life’s most important processes and plays a vitally important role in homeostasis (the processes by which the body maintains a stable internal environment), including:
- Fertility and pregnancy, including prenatal development.
- Postnatal development of the brain.
- Inflammatory responses and immune system functions.
- The pleasurable effects of exercise.
When there is a shortage of our own body’s naturally occurring cannabinoids (CECD) – most notably anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) – homeostasis cannot be maintained, and health problems can occur.
Endocannabinoid production and processing can also be impacted by malfunctioning cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. Malfunctioning cannabinoid receptors cannot capture the body’s naturally occurring cannabinoids, and once again homeostasis is disrupted.
Why Does CBD Work for So Many Health Problems?
Although this question requires more research to answer properly, the main reason why CBD can work for health problems is because it can mimic endocannabinoids and carry out the functions that make them so important for keeping the body in balance.
You can read “How Does CBD Work?” for a fuller account of how CBD works. Here’s how it may be used to help improve your health:
- CB1 & CB2 Receptors – CBD is a partial antagonist of the CB1 and CB2 receptors, meaning that it can turn them off or block CB1 receptor agonists (e.g. THC) to a certain extent. CBD has a weak affinity for cannabinoid receptors, so does not bind to them very well. Instead, CBD changes how other cannabinoids attach themselves to cannabinoid receptors.
Highly inflamed areas of the body have a high expression of CB2 receptors. CBD antagonises CB2 receptors. which could be the reason why cannabis can help battle inflammation. CBD is potentially very useful for autoimmune conditions, arthritis and post-exercise inflammation.
- Serotonin Receptors – CBD is a partial agonist (an “on” switch) of the serotonin receptor, 5HT1A. This makes CBD potentially very useful as an antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication (anxiolytic).
- Vanilloid Receptors – The vanilloid receptor is sometimes also referred to as the TRPV1 receptor. Vanilloid receptors are responsible for regulating the body’s internal temperature. They process pain signals, too. CBD desensitizes vanilloid receptors, helping reduce pain and nausea.
- Opioid Receptors – CBD is an allosteric modulator of the opioid receptors. Allosteric modulators are compounds that attach themselves to a site on the receptor that is not the main (orthosteric) site. Endorphins attach themselves to opioid receptors. CBD binds to the non-direct, allosteric site, telling the opioid receptors to process pain signals differently.
CBD effectively “turns down the volume” of pain processing signals. This makes cannabis and CBD immensely useful for the treatment of chronic pain.
Could CBD Help Otherwise Healthy People?
Even the healthiest people go through rough times. Being unable to sleep, anxiety, depression, headaches/migraines, post-exercise pains and many more everyday aches and pains besides. You may not suffer from any of these problems chronically, but they can all add and lead to stress.
Stress causes inflammation, and the chances of you getting a more serious health problem increases. In this sense, CBD and cannabinoids & terpenes as a whole, could be seen as a sort of preventative medicine, although more evidence is needed to say this for sure.
CBD can be of huge benefit to people, whether they are healthy or not. CBD’s safety profile and the fact that no one has ever died from an overdose of cannabis alone only add to CBD’s utility and broad spectrum uses.
If you would like to know more about the science behind cannabis (or for information about medical marijuana), check out the Leafwell website!
Dr. Steven Salzman – Dr. Steven Salzman has been a practicing trauma surgeon and trauma intensivist for over 20 years. He has gained unprecedented experience treating patients with traumatic brain injury, PTSD, and complex pain syndromes. He has integral faculty involvement in resident and fellow education at hospitals where he is on staff, and sits on a number of philanthropic and outreach boards.
Dipak Hemraj – Dipak Hemraj is a published author, grower, product maker and Leafwell’s resident cannabis expert. From botany & horticulture to culture & economics, he wishes to help educate the public on why cannabis is medicine (or a “pharmacy in a plant”) and how it can be used to treat a plethora of health problems. Dipak wants to unlock the power of the plant, and see if there are specific cannabinoid-terpene-flavonoid profiles suitable for different conditions.