What Does CBD Do?

As cannabinoid studies go mainstream and experts learn more about CBD’s applications and properties, we’re starting to get a clearer picture about what CBD is and more importantly we’re able to answer the question: “What does CBD do?”

Disclaimer: The following piece should not be considered advice, medical or otherwise. This piece is purely informational and the statements within are not confirmed by any FDA-approved research. 

What is CBD?

CBD (short for cannabidiol) is one of the more than 113 known cannabinoids produced by the Cannabis Sativa plant. While there are small traces of it present in recreational “marijuana” plants, CBD is more commonly found in hemp plants.

CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, meaning that it won’t get you “high.” The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…”

CBD won’t get you high and it won’t lead to dependency in users, so what does CBD do?

What does CBD do?

While experts aren’t entirely sure yet how CBD interacts your body, we do know that unlike is psychoactive cousin, THC, CBD does not bind well to your endocannabinoid system’s CB1 or CB2 receptors.

Wait. Rewind. What is the endocannabinoid system? A good question that deserves its own paper. In short, your endocannabinoid system is an intricate cell-signaling system made up of three main components: endocannabinoids (cannabinoids within your body,) receptors, and enzymes.

Your endocannabinoid system plays a role in managing a number of bodily functions, including:

  • Sleep

  • Mood

  • Appetite

  • Memory

  • Fertility

  • Central nervous system (CNS) development

  • Synaptic plasticity

  • And many more

Mentioned above, CBD doesn’t bind well with your CB1 receptor (found mainly in the central nervous system) nor your CB2 receptors (found in your peripheral nervous system.) Instead, researchers believe that CBD influences the two receptors in other ways like increasing uptake of beneficial molecules to certain receptors and inhibiting the uptake of others.

What does CBD do to 5-ht1A Receptors?

5-ht1A is a type of serotonin receptor. These receptors help in moderating sleep, anxiety, pain, perception, appetite, nausea, vomiting, and sociability.

When taken in higher doses, CBD has been known to interact with this receptor, though the effects expressed from said interaction have yet to be understood and studied fully.

What does CBD do for Adenosine Enhancement?

Adenosine is a naturally occurring compound that acts as a central nervous system depressant. Put simply, adenosine makes you sleepy.

It’s believed that CBD somewhat prevents adenosine reuptake (the same is true of caffeine and Vitamin B12) and activates our A2A receptors— a receptor that helps mitigate the body’s inflammation response.

This may explain CBD’s anecdotal inflammation reduction benefits.

What does CBD do for GPR55 Antagonization?

Known sometimes as the CB3 receptor, GPR55 receptors are novel cannabinoid receptors.

Most are located in the cerebellum near the brainstem and help manage an individual’s blood pressure and bone density. GPR55 receptors, unfortunately, have been linked to the proliferation of cancer cells when activated.

CBD helps to ‘antagonize’ GRP55 receptors, meaning that CBD helps counteract the receptors’ normal functions. These early findings may suggest CBD’s potential in treating conditions like high blood pressure and osteoporosis. Further research is required.

What does CBD do to THC?

Thus far, we’ve talked about what CBD does to your endocannabinoid system, but what does CBD do to its fellow phytocannabinoids?

Similar to the interactions with the receptors listed above, CBD can actually affect the uptake of THC and can diminish some of the unwanted effects— paranoia and ‘the munchies’ brought on by too much.

While studies into what we call the “entourage effect,” the effects brought on by use of whole-plant cannabis, are still in their infancy, the horizon of cannabinoid research is broad and exciting for sure.

What does CBD do once you’re done with it?

What does CBD do after it’s visited your receptors and modulated all of your signals? Good question. Like THC, CBD is an external cannabinoid and must also make its exit the same way.

At the end of it’s journey, CBD makes its way to your liver where it is metabolized and broken down into CBD metabolites that are then expelled via excrement, urine, and even in your hair.

Disclaimer: The preceding piece should not be considered advice, medical or otherwise. This piece is purely informational and the statements within are not confirmed by any FDA-approved research.