Depression is often attributed to a chemical imbalance in the brain. While depression can have various causes, the medical community agrees in its ability to severely impact a person’s nervous system.
Many cannabis users are familiar with the drug’s ability to relieve stress and promote relaxation. While THC can make some people feel more relaxed, it also seems to increase anxiety in others. This has led researchers to focus on CBD as a treatment for depression.
Unlike THC, CBD does not have psychoactive effects. This is because CBD does not activate CB1 receptors. Instead, CBD interacts with CB1 receptors in a way that prevents other compounds like THC from binding to the receptor. As a result, CBD reduces many of the effects of THC – such as anxiety and memory problems. CBD works to balance dysfunction in the endocannabinoid system of depressed patients.
CBD increases anandamide levels in the brain. Anandamide is one of the few cannabinoids found naturally in the human body. Anandamide is responsible for regulating levels of other chemicals found in the brain, like dopamine. By increasing anandamide levels, CBD ultimately regulates other important neurotransmitters as well.
High concentrations of CBD have been shown to activate the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor, exerting anti-depressant effects. The same receptor is involved in a series of processes from pain perception, appetite, nausea and anxiety to sleep and addiction mechanisms.
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