While scientists continue to work hard to understand the true effects of CBD, existing studies show that the benefits of marijuana include promoting overall brain health.
With new consumers commonly seeking alternative treatments for medical ailments and conditions, CBD has grown in popularity due to its natural therapeutic properties.
One area in which the application of CBD is of most interest includes the relationship between CBD, your brain, and your nervous system in general. Recent medical research indicates that one of the benefits of marijuana is that it can positively impact many bodily systems, but that the brain and nervous systems are central in benefitting.
Like other consumers, you probably want to understand CBD, how it works in your brain, and its therapeutic benefits before jumping in. In other words, exactly what CBD does for your body, brain, and other complex components.
In this article, therefore, we’ll cover more about the benefits of marijuana in terms of:
- what CBD/cannabidiol is,
- what it does to your brain and nervous system, and
- benefits you can expect to experience if you decide to use medical cannabis after talking to your healthcare provider.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of many natural chemical compounds in cannabis. It’s the second most prevalent active ingredient in cannabis (marijuana). But unlike the plant’s other well-known chemical, THC, it has no psychoactive or mind-altering effects. Instead, CBD owes its popularity to its therapeutic benefits.
CBD interacts with neuroreceptors in your endocannabinoid system, so…
What is the Endocannabinoid System?
The body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) comprises extremely sensitive receptors that act as neurotransmitters.
You find these cannabinoid receptors embedded in cell membranes throughout your body’s central nervous system – specifically, the peripheral nervous system.
Your body’s ECS serves many purposes, such as regulating your
- cognitive processes that govern memory,
- immune response,
- stress, and
- pain perception.
Essentially, the endocannabinoid system bridges the gap between your brain and the rest of your body!
So let’s see why this is important.
How Does CBD Affect Your Endocannabinoid System?
CBD enters your body via endocannabinoid receptors. Here, it interacts with neuroreceptors in the system, sending signals between your cells to help regulate movement, mood, homeostasis, and the immune system.
Some of the research findings through the last few years include noting the degree to which stimulated cannabinoid receptors promote homeostasis in the other systems of our body too.
For example, endocannabinoid-aided homeostasis occurs in:
- Our motor neurons
- The excitability of our central nervous system
- Our overall neuron cell health
- Our immune system responses
- Our perception of pain
- Balanced sleep and wake cycles
Homeostasis means finding overall balance and health – so what does this dual activity between the endocannabinoid system and CBD offer? Because this is where you see many of the benefits of marijuana.
What Health Conditions Fall Within the Endocannabinoid System?
CBD works with the ECS to promote healthy responses to pain, stress, and inflammation. This means less pain, less inflammation, lowered stress levels, and other whole-body benefits.
Some of the most scientifically-substantiated links between marijuana, the endocannabinoid system, and our health include:
- Decreased chronic and neuropathic pain
- Help for sleep disorders, including insomnia
- Combatting neurodegenerative diseases and memory loss
- Minimizing withdrawal symptoms, such as from opioid addiction
- Promoting anti-cancer mechanisms
- Triggering anti-seizure mechanism
- Lessening depression
- Lessening anxiety
- Reducing inflammation, including inhibiting arthritis symptoms
- Alleviating ALS symptoms
- Easing diabetic complications
- Protecting against neurological disease
It’s not surprising therefore that you find so many people now investigating the benefits of marijuana for their own health issues. But how does it affect your brain?
How Does CBD Affect Your Brain?
Let’s start by stating that your brain is part of your nervous system. When we discuss the effects of CBD on the nervous system, this includes the brain!
Here, we’ll zoom in on the brain concerning overall brain health. Later, we’ll focus on the nervous system as a whole.
While new relationships between the endocannabinoid system and your brain are being discovered daily, many studies have noted the relationship between a wide range of cannabinoids and neurotransmitters known to regulate mood, judgment, and executive function.
Some of the most eye-opening non-psychotropic CBD/marijuana benefits for brain health include:
- Promotion of nerve cell health and vitality
- Promotion of muscle tone and ability to move smoothly
- Lowering the release of stress-response hormones
- Reduction of sleep apnea symptoms
- Promotion of better mood, executive function, and memory
- Disruption of opioid receptors
- Neuroprotective benefits
- Enlargement of your hippocampus – which plays a large part in learning and memory
How Does CBD Affect Your Nervous System in General?
In addition to thought, memory, and movement, your wider nervous system is responsible for
- interpreting sensory information,
- breathing, and
It also affects your body’s circulations, serotonin levels, and how you respond to stressful situations.
With regard to stress, your autonomic nervous system plays a major role in your stress response. If you have a heightened nervous system, you may experience a fight-or-flight response. When your nervous system is misaligned, you might feel stressed or tense.
This is where we find another benefit of marijuana. CBD may help to combat these nerves and calm your nervous system. A growing body of research supports the use of cannabinoids to reduce the release of corticosterone, a chemical that triggers a range of stress response reactions that lead to negative health outcomes.
CBD vs. Pharmaceuticals: Some Benefits
1 One of the key differences between non-pharmaceuticals, like CBD, and pharmaceuticals is that CBD can provide support across a wide range of bodily systems.
2 In addition, CBD is known to have minimal side effects – which are present in nearly every pharmaceutical meant to aid in health conditions.
3 Lastly, CBD presents few interactions with other drugs. This makes CBD a viable long-term or recurring treatment to promote brain health and holistic homeostasis. However, you must always talk with your doctor if you take other medications, because some of them may be affected by CBD.
CBD Risks and Side Effects
Although CBD is a promising compound that’s generally safe, it’s a biologically active compound, and as such, its use does come with minimal risks.
Included in our list are known side effects of CBD and also unintended interactions with supplements, herbal products, and over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications:
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in mood
- Dry mouth
- In rare instances, damage to the liver
Medical Marijuana Providers Near You
Though there’s much more to learn about the full potential and long-term effects of CBD, recent studies show promising results if you’re looking for a natural way to promote brain health, which impacts every system of the body.
With legalized use of medical marijuana steadily increasing, the time has never been better to explore the relationship between CBD and your brain health.
At Emerald Medical, our team of healthcare professionals has extensive knowledge and experience in working with CBD and can help you decide whether medical cannabis is right for you. Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of marijuana in the form of CBD.