One concern many people have about CBD is that its uses are just based on anecdotal stories and personal testimonies. This blog includes citations from recent research to show that there is published, scientific evidence for the benefits that users are reporting. There is still much research to be done, but understanding CBD is based on first understanding its foundation of effectiveness, the endocannabinoid system (ECS system).
This foundation of CBD benefits rests on the many and unique actions of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a total body system present in virtually every cell type in the body. The main function of the ECS is to provide balance. The ECS is present from earliest embryo development, throughout development, and continues to play an important role in familiar neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. (Battista, N. DiTommaso, M. Ba, M. Maccarrone, M. 2009)
ECS signals between cells are relayed by two receptor types, CB1 that is abundant in the brain and CB2, which affects peripheral nerves in the body. ECS is active in the parts of the central and peripheral nervous system that respond to stress, where it helps reduce pain and lessen neurodegenerative and inflammatory damage. Short term effects involve plastic changes in many areas of the brain affecting pain sensation. The ECS system also is involved in migraine pain, providing a means to find a solution to this common issue. (Leimuranta, P. Khirou, L. Ceiniatullin, R. 2018)
The ECS system in the brain balances the release of neurotransmitters that excite or inhibit the nerves, and thus is strongly involved in neuropsychiatric disorders, especially affective disorders such as anxiety and depression (Micale, V. DiMarzo, V. Sulcova, A. Wotjak, CT. Drago, F. 2013)
Although in depth research in the US on CBD has been done mainly in the last 10 years, results from diverse research have shown the ECS regulates multiple processes involving consciousness such as pain, learning, memory, emotions, attention, and the sleep-wake cycle. Current researchers are even hypothesizing the ECS may be moderating dream activity with the hope of reducing nightmares related to PTSD (Murillo-Rodriquez, E. Pastrava- Trejo, JC. Salas-Crisotomo, M. de-laCruz, M. 2017). So, unlike the many herbs, essential oils, and pharmaceuticals we have used to treat health concerns in the past, using CBD to activate the endocannabinoid system is demonstrating a whole new level of methods to provide relief from the common conditions we face.