Back to the basics… How does CBD work?

Back to the basis… How does CBD work?  Sometimes it is good to just take a step back and go back to the beginning.  So today for our Legal Hippie installment we are discovering how CBD works.  Legal Hippie Science ignite!

CBD or Cannabiniol is the non intoxicating part of the cannabis plant.  CBD has a therapeutic impact on a molecular level!  So today we will merely be scratching the surface on what all cbd can do.  To name a few CBD has been shown to work as a Serotonin receptor, Vanilloid receptor, Orphan receptor, Nuclear receptor, a Reuptake Inhibitor, and an Allosteric modulator.  Yes, that is a lot of big words but we will explain them each briefly.

Serontinin Receptor is one that many today are familiar with.  As Medications are flooding the markets for Serontinin reuptake inhibitors or anti anxiety medications the word serotonin has been thrown around a lot over the past century.  CBD however directly activates the 5-HT1A (hydroxytryptamine) serotonin receptor, thereby conferring an anti-anxiety effect! This specifically helps with anxiety, addiction, appetite, sleep, pain perception, nausea and even vomiting.


Vanilloid Receptors and CBD works directly together with various ion channels to confer a therapeutic effect. This specific ion channel TRPV1 is known to mediate pain perception, inflammation and body temperature.  In short terms CBD binds to TRPV1, which can influence pain perception.

For this Orphan Receptor it is as it sounds. Bare with me! Some studies indicate that CBD functions as an antagonist that blocks, or deactivates, another G protein-coupled receptor known as GPR55.  To further explain, Due to lack of studies aka limited cannabis studies…. scientists are still not sure if this specific receptor belongs to a larger family of receptors. GPR55 is widely expressed in the brain, especially in the cerebellum. It is involved in modulating blood pressure and bone density, among other physiological processes. So it is currently termed the orphan due to not fully understanding where this belongs.  Our bodies are so complex that there is still so much more they are learning. Back to this GPR55 or orphan receptor, CBD can aid in blocking GPR55 signaling which means CBD may act to decrease both bone reabsorption and cancer cell proliferation.

Nuclear Receptor and CBD is very important!  CBD has been shown to exert an anti-cancer effect by activating PPARs [peroxisome proliferator activated receptors] that are situated on the surface of the cell’s nucleus.

Activation of the receptor known as PPAR-gamma has an anti-proliferative effect as well.  Meaning it has an ability to induce tumor regression in human lung cancer cell lines. PPAR-gamma activation also degrades amyloid-beta plaque, a key molecule linked to the development of Alzheimers. This is one of the reasons why cannabidiol, a PPAR-gamma agonist, may be a useful remedy for Alzheimer’s patients.  These Receptors also regulate genes that are involved in energy homeostasis, lipid uptake, insulin sensitivity, and other metabolic functions.  Helping with the insulin sensitivity is in part why a CBD regimen  has been shown to help Diabetics.

CBD as a Reuptake Inhibitor means CBD can get inside a human cell to bind to a nuclear receptor. Cannabidiol, as it turns out, has a strong affinity for three kinds of FABPs, and CBD competes with our endocannabinoids, which are fatty acids, for the same transport molecules. Once it is inside the cell, anandamide is broken down by FAAH [fatty acid amide hydrolase], a metabolic enzyme, as part of its natural molecular life cycle. But CBD interferes with this process by reducing anandamide’s access to FABP transport molecules and delaying endocannabinoid passage into the cell’s interior.  The reason this is a good thing is by enhancing endocannabinod tone via reuptake inhibition it may be a key mechanism whereby CBD confers neuroprotective effects against seizures, as well as many other health benefits such as its amazing anti-inflammatory properties.

CBD also functions as an allosteric receptor modulator, which means that it can either enhance or inhibit how a receptor transmits a signal by changing the shape of the receptor.  Why is this beneficial?  Well that is because CBD reduces anxiety by changing the shape of the GABA-A receptor in a way that amplifies the natural calming effect of GABA.

Now… THAT WAS A LOT SCIENCE TERMS!!  I am aware of that and as I said it is literally scratching the surface with this article.  My reason for addressing this, even if done in a brief manner, is to say that CBD works.  Not because of a trend but due to the science behind it!


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One Reply to “Back to the basics… How does CBD work?”

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November 16, 2018 at 5:40 am

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