Revealed: What Does CBD Do in the Body? The Answer Will Surprise You!

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of the main chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant family, particularly in hemp plants. For thousands of years, CBD has been administered to evoke a variety of potential therapeutic and health effects. Today, CBD is widely seen as a possible therapeutic option for aiding anxiety, pain, sleep, and epilepsy. But what exactly does CBD do in the body? The answer may surprise you. In this article, we delve into the science behind CBD and its multifaceted effects on the human body.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, which plays a crucial role in maintaining homeostasis in the body.
  • CBD has been shown to modulate neurotransmitter activity, impacting serotonin, GABA, and dopamine levels.
  • The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD make it a promising candidate for treating chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases.
  • CBD demonstrates potential in pain management by acting on various pain pathways and possibly enhancing the effects of other pain relievers.
  • Research suggests that CBD may have anxiolytic effects, making it a potential treatment option for anxiety disorders and PTSD.

The Endocannabinoid System: CBD’s Primary Target

The Endocannabinoid System CBD's Primary Target
The Endocannabinoid System CBD’s Primary Target

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex network of receptors present in every mammal, including humans. It plays a significant role in controlling many biological and cognitive processes to maintain a balance within the body, scientifically termed as homeostasis. Such processes include the regulation of the immune system, sleep patterns, hormone production, appetite, pain, memory, mood, and fertility.

Components of the Endocannabinoid System

The ECS comprises endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes. Endocannabinoids are molecules produced by the body that send signals to cannabinoid receptors, which are found throughout the entire body. These receptors read the message sent by endocannabinoids and then react by adjusting relevant processes. Once that is done, enzymes step in and remove the endocannabinoids.

CBD’s Interaction with Endocannabinoid Receptors

CBD acts as a chemical messenger for the ECS to initiate and deliver signals throughout the body. In particular, CBD interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the ECS, whose sole responsibility is to process signals triggered by cannabinoids. You can imagine this system to be equivalent to a “lock and key” model, in which CBD plays the role of the “key” that can be inserted into the “lock” (which are the CB1 and CB2 receptors, in this case).

Regulatory Functions of the Endocannabinoid System

The ECS is believed to play a crucial role in a number of vital processes, including mood regulation, appetite, fertility, and even pain signaling. It is through these interactions, in addition to interactions with other receptor systems, that are believed to produce the health benefits of CBD oil and other cannabinoid-based products.

The endocannabinoid system is an important regulator of circadian rhythm, the internal body clock that regulates sleep and awakening.

CBD and Neurotransmitter Modulation

Cannabidiol (CBD) has garnered significant attention for its potential to modulate various neurotransmitters in the human body. Much of this is attributed to CBD being able to interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors of your endocannabinoid system, thereby altering the production of serotonin in your body. Serotonin is a type of neurotransmitter that can send signals through our nervous system and is often dubbed as the “happy chemical” for it is vital for good mental health.

Impact on Serotonin Levels

CBD’s interaction with serotonin receptors, a type of G-coupled protein receptor, impacts anxiety, appetite, and addiction. By influencing serotonin levels, CBD may offer therapeutic benefits for conditions such as depression and anxiety disorders.

Influence on GABA Activity

Neuroimaging studies of cannabidiol and potential therapeutic effects suggest that CBD modulates γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate signaling in the basal ganglia and dorso-medial prefrontal cortex. This modulation can lead to a calming effect, which is beneficial for individuals suffering from anxiety and stress-related disorders.

Interaction with Dopamine Pathways

CBD also interacts with dopamine pathways, which are crucial for regulating mood, motivation, and reward mechanisms. By modulating dopamine levels, CBD may help in managing conditions like schizophrenia and substance abuse disorders.

With the possible ability to influence many different neurotransmitters around the body which trigger a wide variety of therapeutic results, it is no surprise CBD products are becoming increasingly administered in the medicinal scene.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties of CBD

CBD has garnered significant attention for its anti-inflammatory properties, which have been the subject of numerous studies. The binding of CBD to the CB1 and CB2 receptors accomplishes this, whereby this interaction tones down the inflammatory response by lowering the concentration of interleukins in our blood serum. Interleukins are chemicals that serve as our immune system’s fire alarm that alerts the fire department whenever there is an emergency, and CBD can help to reduce the inflammatory response.

Mechanisms of Anti-Inflammation

CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects are primarily mediated through its interaction with the endocannabinoid system. By binding to CB1 and CB2 receptors, CBD can modulate the release of cytokines and other inflammatory mediators. Additionally, CBD influences TRPV1 receptors, which are known to affect inflammation and pain perception.

CBD’s Role in Chronic Inflammation

Chronic inflammation is a persistent issue that can lead to various health problems, including autoimmune diseases. CBD has shown promise in reducing chronic inflammation by targeting specific pathways involved in the inflammatory process. This makes it a potential therapeutic option for conditions characterized by prolonged inflammation.

Potential Benefits for Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune diseases are conditions where the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own tissues. CBD’s ability to modulate the immune response and reduce inflammation makes it a promising candidate for treating autoimmune diseases. Studies have shown that CBD can help alleviate symptoms and improve the quality of life for individuals suffering from these conditions.

CBD’s Role in Pain Management

CBD's Role in Pain Management
CBD’s Role in Pain Management

Analgesic Mechanisms

Cannabidiol (CBD) has been studied extensively for its potential to alleviate pain. CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential. It interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system to inhibit neuronal transmission in pain pathways, thereby reducing pain and inflammation.

Effectiveness in Chronic Pain Conditions

Evidence suggests that cannabinoids, including CBD, may be useful in modulating pain. A study in the Journal of Experimental Medicine indicates that CBD can reduce pain and inflammation in the body. The similar effects of CBD also extend to other manifestations of chronic pain such as inflammation and neuropathic pain. In a 12-week-long randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, the application of a CBD gel improved knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis by over 52% on a weekly average.

Synergistic Effects with Other Pain Relievers

CBD offers virtually endless pain relief properties and can substantially reduce the debilitating effects of chronic pain. When incorporated into treatments like massage, CBD can lessen the need for codeine and/or opiate-based painkillers. This synergistic effect makes CBD a valuable addition to traditional pain management therapies.

Cannabidiol’s potential benefits for pain management have also been explored. In 2018, a study discovered that the application of a CBD gel had the potential to improve knee pains experienced by patients with osteoarthritis.

Anxiolytic Effects of CBD

Mechanisms of Anxiety Reduction

CBD has been shown to reduce anxiety through various mechanisms. One significant way is by inhibiting the action of enzymes that break down anandamide, a neurotransmitter known for its calming effects. This leads to higher concentrations of anandamide in the body, thereby promoting a sense of calm and reducing anxiety. Additionally, CBD interacts with serotonin receptors, which play a crucial role in mood regulation.

Clinical Studies on Anxiety Disorders

Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated the efficacy of CBD in treating anxiety disorders. For instance, a study involving 57 subjects revealed that those who received 300mg of CBD exhibited significantly lower anxiety levels before a public speaking event compared to those who received a placebo. This highlights CBD’s potential as a natural remedy for anxiety. Moreover, case reports have shown that CBD can effectively diminish symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety-induced sleep disorders.

Potential for Treating PTSD

CBD has shown promise in treating PTSD, a condition characterized by severe anxiety and stress. Research indicates that CBD can help alleviate PTSD symptoms by modulating the endocannabinoid system and increasing anandamide levels. This is particularly beneficial for individuals who do not respond well to traditional treatments. Furthermore, CBD’s anxiolytic properties make it a viable option for managing anxiety in both humans and pets.

CBD and Sleep Regulation

CBD has garnered attention for its potential to regulate sleep-wake cycles. Scientific investigations have shown that CBD can influence the body’s circadian rhythm, which is crucial for maintaining a healthy sleep pattern. By interacting with the endocannabinoid system, CBD may help to stabilize sleep cycles, making it easier for individuals to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Influence on Sleep-Wake Cycles

CBD’s impact on sleep-wake cycles is primarily attributed to its interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system. This system plays a vital role in regulating various physiological processes, including sleep. By modulating the activity of endocannabinoid receptors, CBD can help to promote a more balanced sleep-wake cycle.

Efficacy in Treating Insomnia

The calming effects of CBD are particularly beneficial for individuals suffering from insomnia and other sleep disorders. CBD has been shown to decrease anxiety, which in turn makes it easier to fall asleep. Additionally, CBD proves to be a promising solution for REM sleep behavior disorder and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Building a habit with CBD for sleep may involve consistent and regular use. It’s advisable to start with a lower dose and gradually increase if needed. However, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regime, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking other medications.

Interaction with Melatonin

CBD also interacts with melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. By enhancing the effects of melatonin, CBD can help to improve the quality of sleep. This interaction is particularly beneficial for individuals who have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep due to disruptions in their natural sleep-wake cycle.

CBD’s Impact on Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders

CBD's Impact on Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders
CBD’s Impact on Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders

Mechanisms of Anticonvulsant Action

CBD has been shown to possess significant anticonvulsant properties, which are believed to be mediated through its interaction with various neurotransmitter systems. One of the most thoroughly investigated benefits of CBD is its potential to reduce seizure frequency. This effect is thought to be due to CBD’s ability to modulate the excitability of neurons and inhibit the release of pro-convulsant neurotransmitters.

Clinical Trials and FDA Approval

Several clinical trials have demonstrated the efficacy of CBD in reducing seizure frequency in patients with epilepsy. For instance, a 2015 study involving 117 children with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS) found that their seizure rates fell by an average of 85% when taking CBD-enriched cannabis products. Additionally, a 2018 double-blind, placebo-controlled trial reported a 41.9% reduction in seizure frequency among patients who received 20 mg of CBD per kilogram of body weight. These promising results have led to the approval of CBD-based medications, such as Epidyolex, for the treatment of rare forms of epilepsy in several countries.

Comparative Effectiveness with Traditional Medications

When compared to traditional antiepileptic drugs, CBD has shown a favorable safety profile and a lower incidence of side effects. In a 2016 study involving 214 epileptic patients, 36.5% experienced fewer seizures per month after adding CBD to their existing medication regimen. This suggests that CBD can be an effective adjunct therapy for epilepsy, potentially offering benefits where conventional treatments may fall short.

The growing body of evidence supporting the use of CBD for epilepsy has led to its inclusion in treatment protocols for various seizure disorders, highlighting its potential as a valuable therapeutic option.

In addition to human applications, there is also emerging interest in the use of CBD for horses with seizure disorders, indicating the broad potential of this compound across different species.

Metabolic Effects of CBD

Influence on Appetite and Weight

CBD may impact your metabolism and lead to appetite suppression. Research indicates that CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating appetite and energy balance. This interaction can result in reduced food intake and weight loss. However, the effects can vary depending on individual factors such as genetics and lifestyle.

Impact on Blood Sugar Levels

Studies have shown that CBD can influence blood sugar levels by modulating insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. This effect is particularly relevant for individuals with diabetes or metabolic syndrome. By improving insulin sensitivity, CBD may help in maintaining stable blood sugar levels and reducing the risk of diabetes-related complications.

Potential Benefits for Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. CBD’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties may offer potential benefits for individuals with metabolic syndrome. By reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, CBD can help in managing the symptoms and complications associated with this condition.

The potential of CBD to influence metabolic processes opens new avenues for therapeutic applications, particularly in the management of metabolic disorders.

Safety and Side Effects of CBD

CBD is generally well-tolerated, but some people may experience mild side effects. These can include dry mouth, headache, nausea, and diarrhoea. Overconsumption of CBD may also cause feelings of drowsiness and sedation. It is essential to start with a low dose and monitor your body’s response.

Although systematic reviews of CBD studies demonstrate very few instances of serious side effects, it is important that patients are aware of their possibility. Long-term data is still being collected, but current evidence suggests that CBD is safe for extended use when taken at recommended dosages.

CBD can increase the level of blood thinning and other medicines in your blood. This interaction is due to CBD’s effect on liver enzymes responsible for metabolizing many pharmaceuticals. Patients should consult with a healthcare provider to evaluate potential interactions with their current medications.

CBD in Dermatology

CBD in Dermatology
CBD in Dermatology

CBD has shown promise in treating various skin conditions due to its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It can help manage conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and acne. CBD topicals are particularly effective as they can be applied directly to the affected area, providing targeted relief. Additionally, CBD’s ability to regulate sebum production makes it a valuable ingredient in acne treatment.

CBD is also gaining attention for its potential anti-aging benefits. Its antioxidant properties help combat free radicals, which are responsible for aging and skin damage. By reducing oxidative stress, CBD can help maintain skin elasticity and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This makes CBD-infused skincare products a popular choice for those looking to maintain youthful skin.

Acne is a common skin condition that can be challenging to treat. CBD’s anti-inflammatory and sebum-regulating properties make it an effective option for managing acne. Studies have shown that CBD can inhibit the production of excess sebum, which is a major contributor to acne. Moreover, its antimicrobial properties can help prevent the growth of acne-causing bacteria, providing a comprehensive approach to acne treatment.

The versatility of CBD in dermatology is evident, offering potential solutions for a range of skin issues from inflammation to aging. Its incorporation into skincare routines is not only innovative but also backed by emerging scientific evidence.

Future Directions in CBD Research

Emerging Therapeutic Applications

The branch of science exploring the effects of CBD is still young and exciting. In the coming decades, research is hopeful to shed more light on the science of whole-plant medicine, giving us better insight and solutions. Doctors are shocked! The hidden medical benefits of CBD oil are continually being uncovered, including its potential in seizure management, chronic pain relief, mental health benefits, and oncology support.

Technological Advances in CBD Delivery

As scientific advancements and pharmacological developments progress, new methods of CBD delivery are being explored. These innovations aim to increase the bioavailability and efficacy of CBD, making it a more versatile therapeutic compound. The future may see the development of more sophisticated delivery systems, such as nanoemulsions and transdermal patches, which could revolutionize how CBD is administered.

Regulatory and Legal Considerations

While CBD is proving to be helpful in managing a vast array of medical conditions, its research is still young and naïve. Regulatory frameworks around the world are evolving to keep pace with the growing body of evidence supporting CBD’s therapeutic benefits. However, there are still significant legal hurdles to overcome, particularly concerning the standardization and quality control of CBD products.

The medicinal applications of CBD appear to be multifaceted. As research continues, we may see CBD becoming a staple in various medical treatments, provided that regulatory and legal challenges are addressed effectively.

As the field of CBD research continues to evolve, the potential for groundbreaking discoveries is immense. From exploring new therapeutic applications to understanding the long-term effects, the future of CBD research holds great promise. Stay updated with the latest advancements and insights by visiting our website. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to be at the forefront of this exciting journey.


In conclusion, the exploration of CBD’s interaction with the human body reveals a complex and promising landscape. The compound’s potential therapeutic benefits, particularly in areas such as anxiety, pain management, sleep disorders, and epilepsy, are supported by an increasing body of scientific research. Despite the historical stigmatization of cannabis and its derivatives, modern pharmacological advancements have begun to uncover the multifaceted roles that CBD can play in promoting health and wellness. As research continues to evolve, it is crucial to approach CBD with a balanced perspective, recognizing both its potential and the need for further scientific validation. This article has aimed to elucidate the current understanding of CBD, offering insights into its mechanisms of action and potential applications. We encourage readers to stay informed and consult healthcare professionals when considering CBD as a therapeutic option.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is CBD?

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid (a chemical compound) found in the cannabis plant. It is known for its potential therapeutic and health effects.

Does CBD make you high?

No, CBD does not make you high. Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), another cannabinoid found in cannabis, CBD does not have psychoactive effects.

How does CBD interact with the body?

CBD interacts with the body primarily through the endocannabinoid system. It binds with specialized cannabinoid receptors within this system, influencing various physiological processes.

What are the potential benefits of using CBD?

CBD is believed to aid in anxiety, pain management, sleep regulation, and epilepsy, among other health issues. Its anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties are also being studied.

Are there any side effects of using CBD?

Common side effects of CBD include dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness, and fatigue. It’s generally well-tolerated, but it’s important to consult a healthcare provider for personalized advice.

Is CBD legal?

The legality of CBD varies by country and region. In many places, CBD derived from hemp with less than 0.3% THC is legal, but it’s important to check local regulations.

Can CBD interact with other medications?

Yes, CBD can interact with certain medications, potentially affecting how they work. It’s crucial to consult with a healthcare provider before combining CBD with other medications.

What forms of CBD products are available?

CBD is available in various forms, including oils, tinctures, capsules, edibles, topicals, and vapes. Each form has different bioavailability and onset times.

Scroll to Top