Cannabidiol (CBD) effects and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ-9-THC) are among the 104-plus chemical compounds found in cannabis.
CBD was first isolated from cannabis in 1940 by Roger Adams and thought to be responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis.
However, it was not until 1963 that researchers started to elucidate the effects of Cannabidiol (CBD) and in 1964 Gaoni and Mechoulam isolated Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ-9-THC) as the main psychoactive compound in cannabis.
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ-9-THC) is well known for its psychoactive effects on the brain whereas recent scientific discoveries of cannabidiol (CBD) have elucidated its analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects on the body. CBD oil has become an increasingly popular therapeutic modality among those with chronic pain and inflammation. Even athletes are using CBD for its anti-inflammatory effects to enhance recovery and thus improve performance.
How does CBD alleviate pain and inflammation?
CBD has led to numerous discoveries. One is the endocannabinoid system, involved in several physiological processes including cognition, sensory-motor, apatite, pain, mood, memory and facilitating the effects of cannabis.
The endocannabinoid system consists of endogenous lipid-based signaling neurotransmitters and cannabinoid receptors (cell membrane G protein-coupled receptors) throughout the nervous system and immune system.
Cannabinoid receptors include 2 subtypes: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are found in the central nervous and peripheral nervous system.
CB2 receptors are mainly found throughout the cell of the Immune system and to a lesser extent in the nervous system (central and peripheral). CBD functions as an allosteric receptor modulator, meaning instead of binding directly to cannabinoid receptors, it enhances or inhibits how a receptor transmits a signal by changing the shape of its receptor.
The analgesic effects of CBD are not fully understood. However, CBD is thought to inhibit pain signaling. CBD binding of CB1 receptors in the nervous system has been shown to protect against apoptosis of oligodendrocytes form Δ-9-THC binding.
The anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive effects of CBD are better understood. CBD has been shown to acts as a potent anti-inflammatory agent by apoptosis, suppressing cytokine production, inhibiting cell proliferation and upregulating T regulatory cells (T regs).
CBD has been shown to have beneficial effects in a wide range of auto-immune disorders and chronic inflammatory conditions, including:
- multiple sclerosis
- rheumatoid arthritis
- liver damage/disease cancer
- and allergic asthma.
A number of scientific reviews on CBD conclude that it’s an effective treatment modality for reducing pain and inflammation.
Does CBD Promote Recovery and Enhance Performance?
CBD has become ingrained by athletes looking to promote recovery and improve performance. Exercise has been shown to trigger an acute local inflammatory response within the working muscle caused by muscle damage and cellular swelling.
CBD is well known for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects and now is starting to be applied to sports medicine. Athletes can now use CBD without consequences for their governing sports bodies. In 2018 the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed CBD from its list of banned substances.
Interestingly, there’s evidence to suggest that CBD may promote recovery. A study from of the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil found that CBD reduces cortisol levels in the non-exercising population.
This finding could be a potential avenue for a future study regarding athletic performance. There is a lack of evidence to suggest that CBD enhances performance.
Currently, no study has investigated the effects of CBD on performance, nor investigated the effects of CBD on exercise induce inflammation.
Further study is warranted to elucidate the effects of CBD on recovery and performance.
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