How Does CBD Work?

Cannabidiol is only one of over 80 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids in the Hemp plant that can provide a variety of health and wellness benefits. But how does CBD work exactly?

Cannabinoids are agonists that bind to specific receptors on your cells, called cannabinoid receptors. Agonists is the term for a substance that triggers a physiological response when combined with a receptor.

Some of these cannabinoid receptors are highly concentrated in the CNS (Central Nervous System) while others are found in the body’s other organs. Some cannabinoid receptors can even be traced in the skin, digestive tract, and reproductive organs.

A simple way to think about your body’s biochemistry is to think of agonists as keys and the receptors they pair with as locks. By taking in CBD, the cannabinoids coordinate with the cannabinoid receptors like a key would fit a lock. This set of actions triggers changes along what is known as the Endocannabinoid System, or ECS.

This system is comprised of a vast network of cell receptor proteins with many functions. The ECS has a hand in:

  • Mood
  • Immune function
  • Reproduction
  • Pain perception
  • Memory
  • Sleep
  • Appetite
  • Bone development

The main purposes of the Endocannabinoid System are immune balance, stress recovery, neuroprotection and homeostatic regulation.

It is within this greater system that CBD works its therapeutic effects. CBD imitates chemicals the human body produces naturally, called endocannabinoids, to interact with the different cells in our body, the locks.

There is also research suggesting that CBD can have an effect on receptors beyond the cannabinoids. The evidence shows Cannabidiol to have an indirect effect on:

  • Serotonin receptors (mood and stress management)
  • Adenosine receptors (important to the sleep-wake cycle)
  • Vanilloid receptors (pain modulation)

While further research needs to be conducted, current clinical trials and animal studies show promising results about the therapeutic value of CBD. Currently, CBD users are finding this natural compound to be effective as a pain management tool and mood enhancer. The next step for CBD is FDA approval and regulation to provide a standard serving size and safety requirements within the industry.