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What is cannabidiol?
Cannabidiol CBD, or 2-[1R-3-metylo-6R-(1-etenylo)-2-cykloheksen-1-ylo]-5-pentyl-1,3-benzene diol, is a compound in the cannabinoid group. Its natural source is hemp. It is worth noting that this compound is extracted from legal species of industrial hemp, . Unlike cannabis, it is not used to induce intoxication and hallucinations. In addition, cannabidiol can be extracted by chemical synthesis. A medical cannabis-based drug containing cannabidiol is available – this is Epidiolex. It is one of the few prescription cannabis drugs used for drug-resistant epilepsy.
The compound interacts with the cannabinoid system receptors present in the body, located primarily within the nervous system. Cannabidiol should not be confused with THC, or tetrahydrocannabinoid. This compound has hallucinogenic properties and can be addictive, while CBD is devoid of such adverse effects. Typically, CBD is available in the form of oil in various concentrations, applied sublingually. Capsules and dried vaporizers, chewing gum, are also available.
CBD can improve cognitive function – memory, concentration, information processing. The compound reduces neurodegenerative processes in conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Cannabidiol can help fight depression and drug-induced conditions.
It is used to normalize the rhythm of wakefulness and sleep – making it easier to fall asleep and increasing the depth of sleep. The benefits of using cannabinoids can be experienced by people suffering from various sleep disorders, as well as those who do not have sleep problems, but need longer and more relaxing sleep. One study showed, among other things, that CBD can effectively treat insomnia in children affected by post-traumatic stress disorder. And this was without the need for pharmacotherapy. Another study showed CBD’s beneficial effects in relieving anxiety and sleep problems. Falling asleep is made easier by modulating the secretion of GABA and gabaergic receptors. The use of CBD allows you to fall asleep while at the same time – keeping your mind clear throughout the day and not feeling drowsy or tired.
In addition, cannabidiol can relieve pain and facilitate withdrawal from nicotine or opioids. The compound is particularly effective in the course of neuropathic pain, which does not lend itself to treatment with traditional painkillers. There is also increasing talk about the potential use of cannabidiol in the treatment of cancer conditions. The CBD-containing drug Epidiolex is used for people with the most severe forms of drug-resistant epilepsy. Such epilepsy can occur in the course of conditions such as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Gravet syndrome.
Mechanism of action
Disorders in the synthesis of neurotransmitters, as well as disorders in the functioning of the endocannabinoid system, are primarily responsible for the occurrence of anxiety, stress or depression. CBD can regulate the activity of receptors affecting the onset of these disorders. This includes serotonin receptors, TRPV receptors, PPAR gamma receptors, receptors for adenosine, and CB receptors that are part of the endocannabinoid system. THC, a hemp cannabinoid known for its hallucinogenic properties, is responsible for direct stimulation of the CB1 receptor located in the brain. CBD, or cannabidiol devoid of psychoactive effects, on the other hand, stimulates CB receptors through an indirect pathway, increasing the level of anandamide, or physiological cannabinoid, synthesized in the body. Thus, activation of CB cannabinoid receptors is possible, which translates into anti-anxiety effects. By increasing levels of natural endocannabinoids and allowing CB1 receptors to regulate nervous system function, cannabinoids can have a tonic effect on the nervous system, alleviating anxiety. CBD acts not only on cannabinoid receptors; other mechanisms of action include:
- Activating serotonin receptors, which play a key role in treating depression. It is these receptors that are targeted by the serotonin reuptake inhibitors used to treat depression. Serotonin receptor activity is regulated by serotonin, a neurotransmitter that modulates mental well-being and emotions. Too low levels of serotonin in the blood, and thus – reduced activation of serotonin receptors increases the risk of developing depression. Serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or commonly used antidepressants, slow down the reuptake of the neurotransmitter. Through this, it is possible to maintain higher levels of serotonin and increase its availability to serotonin receptors. And how does CBD work? It exhibits almost identical effects – by activating serotonin receptors, cannabidiol mimics the effect that accompanies greater availability of serotonin. And all this without the risk of side effects.
- Activating TRPV and PPAR gamma receptors, making anti-anxiety effects possible. These receptors regulate the degree to which endocannabinoids inhibit or stimulate neurotransmitter release.
- Increasing brain neuroplasticity. Depressed patients show reduced plasticity of the hippocampus. It translates into a reduction in cognitive abilities and the ability to process emotions. This can interfere with the course of behavioral therapy. The CBD contained in cannabis increases the plasticity of the hippocampus, which can result in an easier fight against negative emotions.
- Increasing the production of GABA, or gammaaminobutyric acid, the neurotransmitter responsible for the onset of feelings of relaxation.
Cannabidiol – dosage
No strict dosage has been established for cannabidiol. The same is true for the prescription drug Epidiolex, which is available by prescription. It is best to start CBD dosing with smaller doses and then observe the body’s reaction. When the effect of the product is not satisfactory, the dose can be increased. It is most often started with a dose of 2.5 mg/ kg m. c. Twice a day. In contrast, the maximum daily dose is 10 mg/ kg m. c. Twice a day.
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