Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a chemical compound that is extracted from either a cannabis sativa or industrial hemp plant. It is the primary component in cannabis holding a wide range of healing properties. Unlike THC, hemp oil has no psychoactive effects. This is in part because of the way it interacts with our brains.
THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM
CBD interacts with a system called the Endocannabinoid System. This system maintains the body’s homeostasis. It regulates the appetite, blood flow, cell growth and a lot in between. It is made up of three major parts:
CB1 and CB2 Receptors: CB1 receptors are located mainly in the center and peripheral nervous system. CB2 receptors are mostly found all throughout the body, regulating the immune system.
Endocannabinoids: These chemicals are made organically from the brain and mimic cannabinoids found in cannabis. Using retrograde signaling, they travel backward and help traffic flow in between neurons in the synapse.
Metabolic Enzymes: These enzymes are the cleanup crew. They remove any dead or unwanted cells and help promote cell growth and regeneration.
THC has psychoactive effects because it directly binds to CB1 receptors. Since CBD uses indirect methods of communication, it nullifies any psychoactive properties the chemical could have. CBD indirectly stimulates the two receptors by activating pathways and other receptors in the brain. This activity also encourages neurotransmitters and other chemicals to be active when they are needed or suppressed when they are over excited.
CBD helps with epilepsy by regulating
The way researchers stumbled upon the endocannabinoid system is by discovering the first endocannabinoid, anandamide. This chemical is almost identical to THC, which is a reason THC can bind so perfectly with the CB1 receptor. This compound gives natural feelings of euphoria, reduces pain, regulates appetite, and can even help promote cell growth.
During seizures, they found that the brain produces more anandamide. This is thought to be a defense mechanism created by the brain for malfunctions much like adrenaline rushes or feelings of pain are for survival. CBD increases the levels of anandamide produced which in turn helps regulate the brain’s communication system and makes the existing anandamide more efficient. CBD can help calm down the neurons and stop the over-excitement from spreading which causes the full-blown seizure.
CBD can help heal brain injuries
Epilepsy can damage the brain which is no surprise because it is an electrical nightmare beneath the skull. By overloading and shutting off parts of the brain multiple times, this can eventually take its toll. Many people experience epilepsy after receiving a traumatic brain injury and are also turning to CBD to treat their symptoms. There is evidence that CBD has regenerative properties in our brain’s cells.
In high-stress situations in the brain such as seizures, CBD enhances brain’s chemicals that promote cell growth and regeneration. By promoting regulation through the body, CBD can react appropriately to what the brain needs. The brain recognizes malfunctions, and during seizures, it activates the endocannabinoids. By increasing the production of chemicals like anandamide, hemp oil makes it more useful in helping the cells recover and mediates the electrical currents flowing between cells.
CBD can protect your brain
The way these endocannabinoids travel is called retrograde signaling, which means they travel backward. While signals are being sent from other neurons, the endocannabinoids act as a buffer to make sure that the receiving neuron isn’t over activated.
When a neuron has a message to send, they emit an electrical pulse that causes chemicals to swim through the space between neurons called the synapse. The receptors hang off the receiving neuron, waving around in the synapse trying to catch on to any information. Endocannabinoids leave the receiving neuron and tells the sending neuron what is needed. If the sending neuron is pushing out too much, CBD can help the receiving neuron to send the message to calm down.
This protection very well could be a reason CBD helps with seizures. Hemp oil could be preventing the overactive neurons from spreading their plague through presynaptic calcium channels. By cutting off their source of communication, you get the disorder at its source.
CBD can help your furry friends
All mammals have an endocannabinoid system. This means our pets at home can also benefit from medical cannabis. If you have a pet that is experiencing convulsions and seizures, giving them CBD treats or tinctures can help calm and eliminate their episodes.
Like any medication, CBD comes with side effects. Though side effects with this medicinal herb are rare, it is always suggested to speak with a doctor before making any changes to your medication. Now that you are educated on how CBD can help you with your seizures, you can be confident in the discussion about your health.