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How CBD and CBD-A Work and Interact with YOUR Body

CBD Chemical Formula, how CBD woks

In this guide, we are going to talk about one of the main features on this site which is CBD and its raw counterpart CBD-A.

Because of laws here, we cannot make any medical claims on this site but we can talk about some of the research that is going on in the field. We also think that the better we all understand what is going on inside our bodies when we take Cannabinoids then the more we can make informed decisions about what we put in our body. 

You may have heard of the CB1 and CB2 receptors that exist inside us all. CBD does not bind well to these receptors like other cannabinoids and the anandamide and 2-AG endocannabinoids that naturally occur inside us. CBD reacts with various other receptors around the body and also inhibits the breakdown of cannabinoids reducing the effect the FAAH enzyme, which increases the amount of anandamide in your body.

CBD is Short for Cannabidiol

Top Tip

It is still early days for CBD research and there is new research coming out all the time. This is an evergreen guide which means whenever there is something new we think needs adding, we will. So check back for the latest.

How CBD works in your body

In the following sections, we are going to go through some of the different ways CBD interacts with us.

CBD inhibits the Breakdown of Anandamide

We touched on this a little in the Endocannabinoid system guide we did but here i want to explain a level further. 

Cannabinoids and Endocannabinoids have to travel through the cell membrane to be able to bind to a nuclear receptor. The way they do this is through a fatty acid binding protein (FABP), which transports various lipid molecules into the cell’s interior. 

So whether it is 2-AG or Anandamide or CBD or THC, they all compete to use the FABP’s to hitch a ride in through the cell membrane. 

One of the fatty acids responsible for breaking down Anandamide is fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), a metabolic enzyme. FAAH breaks down anandamide as part of its natural molecular life cycle.

The cannabinoids (THC and CBD) also were discovered to bind FABPs and this may be one of the mechanisms by which CBD works in childhood epilepsy, raising anandamide levels.

CBD interferes with this process of being broken down by reducing anandamide’s access to FABP molecules that transport them. This then results in delaying endocannabinoid passage into the cell’s interior, which in turn stops it being broken down so quickly. 

This is one of the ways CBD can help, by increasing the levels of anandamide(“The Bliss Molecule”) in the body. It is also why there is some of the benefits of THC but without the psychoactive effects.

CBD’s effect on the Serotonin Receptors

CBD directly activates the 5-HT1A (hydroxytryptamine) serotonin receptor, thereby creating a huge potential of effects like reduction in anxiety. There are also studies showing good signs for helping Panic Disorder which affects 5% of the population, and also as an antidepressant.

The 5-HT1A receptor is the most widespread of all the 5-HT receptors which are a family of serotonin receptors that are found mostly in parts of the brain.

It is a G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR), coupled to the Gi protein, that mediates inhibitory neurotransmission.[ref]

The 5-HT1A receptor is implicated in a range of biological and neurological processes, that can potentially help with things including (but not limited to)

  • Sociability
  • Decrease blood pressure and heart rate
  • Addiction
  • Appetite
  • Sleep
  • Pain perception
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Nausea and vomiting.

5-HT1A receptor activation has been shown to increase dopamine release in the medial prefrontal cortex, striatum, and hippocampus, and may be useful for improving the symptoms of schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease

CBD-A which is Cannabidiolic acid, the raw unheated version of CBD that is in the cannabis plant. This has an even stronger affinity for the 5-HT1A receptor than CBD. Preclinical studies indicate that CBDA is a potent anti-emetic, stronger than either CBD or THC, which also have anti-nausea properties.

So there is lots to suggest that interaction with the serotonin receptor 5HT1A can have positive effects on numerous things in our body.

CBD’s effect on the Vanilloid Receptors

CBD binds to TRPV1 receptors, these also function as ion channels. TRPV1 is known to regulate pain perception, inflammation and body temperature.

TRPV1 is short for transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V, and is part of a large family of TRP receptor groups. This protein is a member of the TRPV group of transient receptor potential family of ion channels.[ref]

CBD binding to what is sometimes known as the vanilloid receptor had been shown to help with inflamation.

Capsaicin which is found in chilli peppers also bind to TRPV1 which is why you get that heat/pain sensation when eating them.

Anandamide also binds with the Vanilloid Receptors

CBD and the GPR55 Receptor

G protein-coupled receptor 55, which is also known as GPR55 is another G protein-coupled receptor that in humans is encoded by the GPR55 gene.GPR55 is widely expressed in the brain, especially in the cerebellum.

CBD is an Antagonist of the GPR55 Receptor which could as well be described as the CB3 receptor as a result of its interaction with both cannabinoids and endocannabinoids for things like pain and inflammation

2-AG, Anandamide and THC are all Agonists of the GPR55 Receptor which is interesting as GPR55 promotes osteoclast cell function, which facilitates bone reabsorption. Overactive GPR55 receptor signaling is associated with osteoporosis. It is also shown to promote cancer cell proliferation.

This suggests that CBD can block the GPR55 and reduce the negative effects of it as opposed to the endocannabinoids and THC which are actually activating it. This is not to say that they cause cancer or osteoporosis as there are studies that show the opposite when interacting with other receptors.

There is no doubt that there is more research needed in the area but it is interesting and it shows the complexities of treating conditions.

CBD and PPARs nuclear receptors

Many of the phytocannabinoids such as THC and including CBD are an agonist of the PPARs receptors

Activation of the receptor PPAR-gamma can stop the spread of cells, especially malignant cells, into surrounding tissues. It also has an ability to induce tumor regression in human lung cancer cell lines.

PPAR-gamma degrades amyloid-beta plaque, a key molecule linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

PPAR-gamma has been implicated in the pathology of numerous diseases including obesity, diabetes, atherosclerosis, and cancer. PPAR-gamma agonists have been used in the treatment of hyperlipidaemia and hyperglycemia.[28][29] PPAR-gamma decreases the inflammatory response of many cardiovascular cells, particularly endothelial cells.[30] PPAR-gamma activates the PON1 gene, increasing synthesis and release of paraoxonase 1 from the liver, reducing atherosclerosis.

CBD as an allosteric modulator

CBD functions as an allosteric receptor modulator which means it can change the shape of the receptor to enhance or inhibit how the receptor transmits a signal.

Australian scientists have shown CBD to be a positive allosteric modulator of the GABA-A receptor. Things that contribute to receptor activation typically have anxiolytic, anticonvulsant, amnesic, sedative, hypnotic, euphoriant, and muscle relaxant properties.

CBD is a negative allosteric modulator of the cannabinoid CB1 receptor.

This means that the CBD changes the shape of the CB1 receptor which makes it harder for THC to bind to the receptor and have its effect.

This is why CBD can lower the ‘high’ you get from THC if it gets too much and also reduce the amount you get ‘high’ in the first place.

How CBD works conclusion

I hope you have found this guide usefull, and it has shown you some of the ways we know of that CBD and CBD-A interact with our body. It hopefully gives you an understanding of where the medical claims are coming from and where research is heading to find out more about the effects of CBD and other cannabinoids.

As always if you have any questions then leave a comment or get in touch.

If you think anyone else would benefit from the guide we would really appreciate a share.

See you next time.

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