Cannabidiol (CBD) and Your Brain
May 5, 2020
In recent years, CBD or Cannabidiol has become a very popular dietary supplement. Not only is it being reported on in the media but among our clients at Murray Avenue Apothecary it has become an indispensable part of their health.
Many of our clients are using CBD as a supplement to manage their mental and emotional health. One our clients wrote,
“The (LabNaturals) CBD products sold at MAA calms me down before stressful days at work and other anxious moments. It helps me take a step back and breathe. Thank you to Susan and the wonderful staff at MAA for your compassion and expertise! I highly recommend this and other products from MAA for a better and healthier future.”
Another client suffering from anxiety wrote,
“I started taking CBD roughly 2 months ago..I’ve noticed no side effects, my daily nervousness/anxiety is gone, and I have more confidence. I also haven’t had an anxiety attack or panic attack since I’ve started. I was admittedly skeptical, but it’s been everything I’ve wanted. For once, I feel like the version of normal I’ve always wanted.”
What is the mechanism of action of CBD in the brain?
Cannabidiol exerts its effects through numerous chemical pathways. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol, CBD is not believed to actually bind with the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors in the brain (although it does affect them), but acts through different receptors. CBD modulates the binding of protein-coupled neurons and affects numerous neuropathways in the brain. Some of the major effects of CBD include:
- CBD has an affinity for the serotonin 1A receptor1. This affinity to serotonin accounts for many of its medicinal properties. By modulating serotonin release CBD also affects the release of hormones such as oxytocin (which affects prosocial behaviors) and cortisol (which is released during the perception of stress). This allows CBD to influence issues with mood, sociability, and even thinking. By affecting serotonin perception by neurons in the brain, CBD can be used to treat many issues including pain, depression, nausea from chemotherapy, and severe psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia2.
- CBD appears to also affect the neurotransmitter anandamide (sometimes referred to as AEA [N-arachidonoylethanolamine]). This neurotransmitter has been recently shown to be important in people that have chronic issues with depression and psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. CBD appears to inhibit the breakdown and reuptake of AEA and this has led to the belief that CBD can be useful in the treatment of depression, anxiety, and even schizophrenia through this mechanism as well as through the modulation of serotonin3. CBD’s effects on AEA may also contribute to its ability to control seizures.
- CBD reduces blood flow in areas of the brain associated with anxiety disorders4. Thus, CBD can be used to reduce issues with anxiety and even issues with severe anxiety such as panic attacks or the anxiety associated with individuals who are diagnosed with PTSD.
- CBD lowers the degree of excessive neuronal stimulation (excitotoxicity), which reduces seizures in individuals with epilepsy5.
- CBD appears to reduce the oxidation stress which may be at least partially responsible for the brain damage that occurs in individuals with Alzheimer’s and even Parkinson’s disease. CBD appears to minimize oxidative stress by working through both the CB1 and CB2 receptors6. While not fully demonstrated to be preventative or curative, CBD appears to at least be helpful in treating individuals in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
- CBD binds to the TRPV1 receptors that are located in both the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) and the peripheral nervous system (outside the brain and spinal cord)7. These receptors are also known as the vanilloid and capsaicin receptors. They play an important role in maintaining homeostasis, perception of pain, and inflammation in their tissues. By binding to these receptors, CBD appears to have the potential to treat inflammation, pain, and even anxiety and depression.
These are just a few of the potential therapeutic effects that CBD may have through its actions in the body. There are numerous other potential benefits to the use of CBD that affect numerous other neural pathways and specific receptor sites.”
Notes about Drug Interactions with CBD:
More than half of U.S. adults regularly take prescription medications and at least 75% take at least one Over-the-Counter supplement. 60-80% of all pharmaceuticals are broken down in the body by the Cytochrome P450-non-specific enzyme family. Both THC and CBD can inhibit OR amplify the CYP450 enzyme reactions. Interactions are more common when both (CBD and prescription drugs) are taken orally and processed through the liver.
At Murray Avenue Apothecary, we look at potential interactions and have the expertise to advise. In our 5 years of CBD experience we have not seen a serious interaction. Furthermore, we use the interaction of CBD and opiates to decrease the opiate dose while increasing the CBD dose.
Unlike oil filled capsules, LabNaturals CBD capsules contain water soluble CBD (Cannabidiol) and may be taken on an empty stomach to enhance absorption. Ingested cannabinoids will have higher peak liver concentration than inhaled cannabinoids. By taking CBD and THC together, as many medical marijuana products suggest, people may find that the effects of the THC are tempered by the CBD but may be prolonged slightly because of the CYP450 interaction.
The research into Cannabidiol and other cannabinoids is still in its infancy. As more research is done, we will gain more insights into exactly how these natural substances affect the body and improve our natural balance.
- Saleset al.(2018). Antidepressant-like effect induced by Cannabidiol is dependent on brain serotonin levels. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry.
- Crippa et al (2018). 17.4 Possible Mechanisms Involved In The Antipsychotic Effects Of Cannabidiol (cbd). Schizophrenia Bulletin, 44(Suppl 1), S28.
- Deutsch (2016). A personal retrospective: elevating anandamide (AEA) by targeting fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and the fatty acid binding proteins (FABPs). Frontiers in pharmacology, 7, 370.
- Crippa et (2011). Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalized social anxiety disorder: a preliminary report. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 25(1), 121-130.
- Devinsky et al (2014). Cannabidiol: pharmacology and potential therapeutic role in epilepsy and other neuropsychiatric disorders. Epilepsia, 55(6), 791-802.
- Campbell&Gowran(2007). Alzheimer’s disease; taking the edge off with cannabinoids?. British journal of pharmacology, 152(5), 655-662.
- Iannotti et al (2014). Nonpsychotropic plant cannabinoids, cannabidivarin (CBDV) and cannabidiol (CBD), activate and desensitize transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) channels in vitro: potential for the treatment of neuronal hyperexcitability. ACS chemical neuroscience, 5(11), 1131-1141.