The brain is a complex network of processes made to sustain human life. However, due to many factors and different situations we encounter in our everyday lives, our bodies eventually have a hard time recouping and thriving. It needs help.
Mind-altering medications are relatively sources of controversy in the field of medicine. The clamor for it is high – and people in the medical field are inclining themselves into finding ways, in as natural as possible, to help people with neurological conditions.
This is where CBD enters. In this article, I will tackle CBD as one of science’s important discoveries when it comes to helping the mind and body gain back its natural, calm, and balanced state.
There are already a plethora of materials discussing its benefits for humans. I have chosen for you to take a look at this perspective instead: how CBD affects the brain.
What is Homeostasis?
Our bodies are made to survive. Its functions underneath are working hard every day to help us react proactively to certain situations that will maintain our well-being.
Naturally, our body’s ultimate goal is to maintain homeostasis, which is the body’s way to regulate its internal environment. That is, regardless of the external factors that may affect the body.
Fortunately, our bodies have mediators for this essential process. It ties up the body parts that should function given a specific situation while regulating the hormones and fluids to maintain balance and avoid disrupting their normal levels.
Any kind of imbalance produces changes in your behavior. In some cases, it could be destructive or may cause us to act inappropriately. Let’s first understand how the endocannabinoid system – the mediator – works and how CBD can help it function well.
The Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system ensures that there is proper coordination among the different cells in the body. It facilitates communication during the instance of injury, which helps the body to stay alert, adjust, and react appropriately to help you recover.
Moreover, this system helps launch the body into the right action and mechanism to protect the other functions and keep them working. However, the body struggles to maintain homeostasis over time.
The ECS is not immune to stress which accumulates as you age. This is where your mind becomes more vulnerable to anxiety, triggers, moods, which if left for a long period of time, can get you sick.
How CBD affects the brain?
Science discovered that the cannabinoid strains in hemp can mimic the behavior of your own cannabinoids. This is something significant that researchers push further studies and testing on various ailments, particularly those affecting the central nervous system.
Based on the results of an NCBI review over phytocannabinoids and the neurological benefits we can get from it, here are the ways CBD interacts with the brain and its functions:
- It reduces inflammation, which helps the brain battle Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, anxiety, or even epilepsy
- It suppresses brain damage arising from injury
- It stimulates neurogenesis, which helps the body speed up producing more neurons that serve as neurotransmitters
- Increases adenosine, which helps people recover from brain trauma
- It serves as symptom relief or as a treatment to neurodegenerative diseases
- It suppresses psychotic and stress-related behaviors
- It inhibits the growth of cancerous tumors
Because of these findings, pharmacologists started researching how they can incorporate it in medications for brain degenerative diseases. But it is still a challenge at this point to make CBD a mainstay ingredient in commercially made medicines.
Why? It is because it’s illegal to grow, sell, acquire, and use CBD in some parts of the world. This is because of its association with marijuana, which we all know, cause the opposite effects of that of CBD.
The FDA is still weighing the risks and issues surrounding it, thus, it is still part of controlled substances by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) . Aside from formulating the right guidelines when it comes to growing, processing, distribution, and dosing of CBD, another step we must all get ready for is educating the users.
To avoid misuse, the authorities must take part in ensuring that the public understands CBD and its effects on holistic development. We do not have sufficient studies and resources to help us come up with public guidelines yet. But in time, we’ll arrive there.
Despite the surrounding controversies, CBD continues to stay relevant to the present needs and demands for a cure for brain-related ailments. The medical community was overwhelmed because of the passing of Epidiolex, the first cannabinoid-based prescription drug to be approved by the FDA. It is a purified, close to 99% oil-based CBD product – which makes it almost CBD in itself.
The FDA-approved breakthrough medicine intends to cure Dravet or Lennox-Gastet syndrome (LGS), which is a rare form of epilepsy. It reduces seizures and is highly recommended for patients two years old and above.
There are other cannabinoid-based medications available in the market, but they are not FDA-approved yet. The likes of Sativex, Marinol, and Cesamet are distributed in states in the US where CBD is legal.
Are there side effects in taking CBD?
CBD is relatively a low-risk extract and should not pose side effects that overcome its intended use. Under laboratory testing, though, patients report experiencing these symptoms:
- Effects on weight and appetite
Is CBD safe for high-dose or long-term use?
CBD has the highest safety profile among other Cannabis strains. Relief is immediate and dosages are manageable to procure results. Furthermore, CBD is quite a pricey treatment and somehow, it limits users from the tendency to overdose.
There are no established parameters when it comes to prescribing appropriate doses for CBD. The intake and administration to patients are subject of a lot of considerations.
Because of CBD’s highly-competent safety profile, users can try some products with less risk. But when it comes to clinical prescriptions, expect a more detailed information-seeking review of the patient’s condition with the following questions as a guide:
- Can you prove that the patient already underwent all possible procedures to cure his condition, but to no avail?
- Is there patient consent to try CBD as an alternative therapy or treatment (which he should agree with the possible effects to his normal everyday life)?
- Does the patient have a history over marijuana or other illegal drug abuse?
- Will the patient comply to regular testing?
- Are you fully knowledgeable on how to distinguish a pure CBD in order to derive its maximum benefits?
Knowing how CBD affects the brain opens us up to a whole new level of learning about how certain behaviors signify a certain condition. But we cannot deny it – CBD is a breakthrough product that deserves the spotlight. With further studies, it starts to inch its way to prove that it is indeed beneficial and essential to human health.
Review of the neurological benefits of phytocannabinoids, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5938896/#!po=0.471698
Establishment of a New Drug Code for Marihuana Extract, https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/12/14/2016-29941/establishment-of-a-new-drug-code-for-marihuana-extract
 Epidiolex, https://www.epidiolex.com/about-epidiolex/story
 Cannabidiol Pre-review report, https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/5.2_CBD.pdf