The current trend in the cannabis-related area of research started in the late sixties and early seventies when products derived from cannabis (especially marijuana) were placed on the list of controlled substances in the US, under the Nixon administration. This move was retroactively interpreted as being part of the conservative reaction to the liberalizing spirit of the sixties.
The previously mentioned study which established improved mitochondrial function with CBD use also observed that CBD stimulates gene expression within white fat cells. This initiates the “browning” of these cells. This mechanism shows promise with converting hard-to-lose white fat into a more easily burnable form. Additionally, researchers found that CBD decreased the rate of new fat cell creation.
CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system; this system exists to keep our bodies in balance. Most of the time when someone is overweight there is one main culprit that leads to them struggling with weight loss: metabolism. Metabolism and weight loss are very connected because your metabolism is what converts food into energy in the body. It’s also responsible for the body’s ability to burn calories and the rate at which it does so.
According to the National Cancer Institute, over 38 percent of people will be diagnosed with one type of cancer or another at some point in their lives. While standard treatments – like medication, chemotherapy, radiation and various surgeries – have come a long way, there may be natural options to further the effectiveness of these drugs, or to provide an entire set of other benefits. (10)
‘The media has no doubt helped drive this popularity,’ says Dr Sarah Brewer, medical director at Healthspan. ‘However, the main drive is because people who take it experience the benefits very quickly, and “word of mouth” is a powerful thing. CBD oil also has such a wide range of benefits, reducing anxiety, promoting relaxation, ensuring a good night’s sleep, reducing pain perception and improving general feelings of wellbeing. It therefore appeals to a wide range of people.’
Because CBD works with specific neurotransmitters to reduce anxiety and increase the ability to focus, initial studies have shown promise in its ability to increase the quality of life by decreasing the symptoms of ADHD for many sufferers. Much of this research is still in the early phases (with a lot of room to learn more), however, CBD may be worth adding to a daily routine for those frustrated with traditional treatment options.
Furthermore, a study published in the Journal of Neuroendocrinology has suggested that the ECS is capable of stimulating specific areas of the body involved in metabolism, such as the skeletal muscles and GI tract. This happens due to the presence of anandamide and 2-AG, which are two naturally-occurring compounds in the body that interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Correcting a calorie excess with a calorie deficit sometimes works for weight loss, but it can be difficult. First of all, reducing calories leaves people feeling hungry, which can be incredibly uncomfortable. Second of all, weight gain can cause changes to hormone levels and balance, metabolic patterns, inflammation status, and balance within the endocannabinoid system.
The anti-emetic and anti-nausea effect of marijuana is a centuries-old known fact. Nevertheless, as early as twenty years ago, the effect was attributed to the actions of THC. Continuous research into other cannabinoids has proven that many other phytocannabinoids produce the same desired effect. At present, the FDA recommends two drugs featuring cannabinoids, in which CBD has the highest concentration, in the treatment of nausea induced by chemotherapy – nabilone and dronabinol. Though in its infancy, promising studies exist which suggest that one day CBD may be incorporated into cancer therapies.
In addition to acting on the brain, CBD influences many body processes. That’s due to the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which was discovered in the 1990s, after scientists started investigating why pot produces a high. Although much less well-known than the cardiovascular, reproductive, and respiratory systems, the ECS is critical. “The ECS helps us eat, sleep, relax, forget what we don’t need to remember, and protect our bodies from harm,” Marcu says. There are more ECS receptors in the brain than there are for opioids or serotonin, plus others in the intestines, liver, pancreas, ovaries, bone cells, and elsewhere.
The list of cannabinoids currently comprises 113 entries, with more and more additions each year. Of these 113, by far the best documented are tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol (in this order), with the two also being the most abundant constituents of the cannabis plant. In a typical chemical isolation process, cannabidiol makes up a little under half of the entire extract.
The immediate and powerful effects of THC are explained because of the special affinity it has with the CB1 type receptors, which mediate crucial processes in the brain. The less prominent (but no less important) action of CBD was explained, at least for a while, by hypothesizing that it binds to CB2 type receptors, hence its more diffuse manner of exercising changes in the body. Early on, the antipsychotic effects of cannabidiol were observed, an aspect which seemed to be in consonance with this initial hypothesis.
More recent experiments, involving the administration of a part CBD part THC solution, have yielded results that contradict the first supposition. At present, on the evidence that cannabidiol reduces some of the psychoactive effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (acting as a de facto antidepressant), scientists argue that cannabidiol has a holistic but indirect influence on all cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system. The main consequence of this impact seems to be an increase in the production of endocannabinoids. This is now the prevailing idea that accounts for the mountains of empirical evidence of how the benefits of cannabidiol are expressed at the cellular level.