CBD and Homeostasis: Cannabidiol’s Role in Your Body’s Internal Balance
Posted on March 15th, 2021
If you’ve been keeping up with all things CBD, you might have come across the term homeostasis. However, you might be wondering what it is all about and what CBD has to do with it. Fortunately, this article takes a look at everything you need to know about CBD and homeostasis.
What is Homeostasis?
Homeostasis refers to any physiological process within which the body maintains a balanced internal environment in response to a changing external or internal environment. Maintaining this balanced internal environment is crucial for the survival and proper functioning of all organisms, including humans.
However, a wide variety of factors such as lifestyle, diet, stress, heat, etc., can cause certain conditions within the body to fluctuate leading to unwanted consequences within the body. To ensure that the body continues to function properly, various bodily functions and systems will adjust in order to restore a state of equilibrium through individual yet interdependent processes.
A good example of how the body deals with fluctuating conditions caused by changes in its current environment is through the regulation of the internal body temperature. For instance, if the internal body temperature gets too high on a hot day, the body triggers sweating which helps the body to cool off as the sweat evaporates. On the other hand, if our internal body temperature gets too low, the body triggers shivering, which produces heat. In either case, the body reacts by affecting various bodily functions to return the temperature to the balanced level.
Another common external factor is stress. High levels of stress can lead to increased blood pressure, anxiety, headaches, and so on. If these issues persist, they can have a negative effect on the body. The body has its own natural way of dealing with these changes to ensure that it is back to functioning optimally.
How Does Homeostasis Work?
While the body has many different inbuilt response mechanisms and homeostatic processes to deal with different changes, they all have three basic elements:
i) Receptors which are responsible for detecting changes in the external environment or external stimuli
ii) A control center that dictates the appropriate response to the changes
iii) An effector which executes the response
How CBD and Homeostasis Are Related
The endocannabinoid system or ECS is a complex cell-signaling system present in all mammals and vertebrates. It is responsible for regulating a wide range of physiological functions including pain, sleep, digestion, inflammation, immune response, and many others and it plays a crucial role in maintaining homeostasis.
The ECS is made up of three key components:
i) Cannabinoid receptors: There are two main types of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2). They are found throughout the body but most predominantly in the central nervous system and immune system.
ii) Endocannabinoids: These are the body’s own natural cannabinoids. Anandamide and 2-AG are the two most popular endocannabinoids.
iii) Enzymes: The ECS also contains metabolic enzymes that are responsible for breaking down endocannabinoids after use. The two main enzymes are MAGL – which breaks down 2-AG and FAAH – which breaks down anandamide.
How the ECS Works
The ECS works and interacts with other systems in the body through cannabinoid receptors found throughout the body. Whenever an imbalance is detected in the body, endocannabinoids are produced which interact with the appropriate cannabinoid receptors thus triggering the specific chemical response that returns the body to normal. Once the endocannabinoids have done their work, enzymes break them down.
However, in some cases, the body is not able to produce sufficient endocannabinoids, which ultimately means that the ECS becomes unable to fully restore balance in the body. This condition is called “clinical endocannabinoid deficiency.” The lack of enough endocannabinoids in the body can cause a wide range of negative health issues. Fortunately, according to scientific research, endocannabinoids can be supplemented with phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids found naturally in plants ) such as CBD and help restore balance in the body. This is because they work in a similar manner as our body’s natural cannabinoids.
CBD and Homeostasis
The popularity of CBD has rocketed upward over the past few years as it has gained a lot of public attention. It has become the go-to choice for many seeking safe, effective, and natural health supplements. It is able to achieve all these potential benefits through its interactions with the ECS. Scientific research has found that CBD helps to promote homeostasis which is crucial for great health. CBD is a unique cannabinoid since it interacts with many other receptors aside from cannabinoid receptors to produce various effects in the body.
Cannabidiol helps to promote homeostasis in a number of different ways. But first, it is important to note that CBD does not bind with the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. This is mainly because the molecule of CBD is too big to fit into any of the cannabinoid receptors. Instead, it influences the functions of the receptors. Depending on the concentration of available CBD, it can either activate, inhibit or antagonize various cannabinoid receptors. Below is a look at the different ways CBD helps to promote homeostasis.
The Effects of CBD and Homeostasis
Inhibits FAAH Enzyme
As discussed earlier, FAAH is the enzyme responsible for breaking down anandamide. Sometimes, this enzyme can break down the cannabinoid prematurely or too quickly, leading to an imbalanced ECS. However, CBD has been found to have an inhibiting effect on the FAAH enzyme. By inhibiting this enzyme, anandamide stays longer in the body, thus increasing its effectiveness and ensuring homeostasis. Anandamide is mainly associated with mood, pain, memory, fertility, etc.
Promotes Synthesis of 2-AG
CBD has been found to promote the production of the endocannabinoid 2-AG. With increased levels of this endocannabinoid, activity in the endocannabinoid receptors is increased leading to a more active ECS. This greatly contributes to homeostasis.
Activates the TRPV-1 Receptor
CBD binds with a G-protein coupled receptor known as TRPV-1 also known as vanilloid receptor 1. When it comes to homeostasis, it plays a key role in body temperature regulation as well as controlling pain and inflammation.
Serotonin Receptors (5-HT1A)
Serotonin is the main hormone responsible for regulating mood and enhancing feelings of happiness and well-being. By activating the 5-HT1A receptors, CBD helps to enhance the effect of serotonin and reduce anxiety. The 5-HT1A receptor also regulates nausea, pain perception, appetite, and mechanisms of addiction.
Inhibits the Signaling of GPR55
According to scientific research, CBD inhibits GPR55 signaling thus minimizing bone reabsorption and the spread of cancerous cells. It also plays a role in maintaining blood pressure.
Influences Gene Formation
Our genes determine the production of all signaling molecules. These include hormones in the endocrine system, cytokines in the immune system, and neurotransmitters in the central nervous system. The genes hold all information needed to create these molecules. According to recent scientific research, CBD has an influence on the transcription of more than 1100 genes. Some of these genes are behind the creation of signaling molecules that are responsible for regulating inflammation in the central nervous system and the immune system.
It Activates PPARs
CBD activates PPARs (Peroxisome Proliferator Activated Receptors) which have an effect on the regression of lung tumors. In addition, they help to regulate genes associated with functions such as the uptake of lipids, insulin sensitivity, regulation of energy, and so on.
Activates Dopamine Receptors
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in how we experience pleasure. Due to the effect it causes, it encourages habits such as having sexual intercourse and eating. The activation of dopamine receptors helps to improve moods and influences addictive tendencies.
Conclusion on CBD and Homeostasis
Maintaining a balanced internal environment is vital for all living organisms. There is a specific level that all conditions within the body need to be at all times for the body to function optimally. The ECS is the main physiological system responsible for maintaining this balance. However, for various reasons, it can become imbalanced. If any condition remains unbalanced, it can have dire health consequences on the body. However, CBD works hand in hand with the ECS to restore balance within the body.
This explains why people may start to feel better after using CBD. Through its effects on the ECS, it may help promote good health and wellbeing. It can assist in regulating quite a number of crucial functions and processes in the body which bring about overall balance. There is still a great need for more research into the capabilities of CBD. Therefore, be sure to discuss it with your doctor before trying it for any serious health issues.