Short-Term CBD Use vs. Long-Term CBD Use
Did you know CBD is a phytocannabinoid? Phytocannabinoids (aka cannabinoids) are not just found in cannabis plants. In fact, phytocannabinoids are produced in many flowering plants, liverworts and fungi. However, these compounds were first isolated and discovered in Cannabis sativa L (Cannabaceae) in 1940.
There are more than 480 different compounds naturally found in plants and 66 of them are considered cannabinoids in cannabis plants. Cannabinoids are a class of lipophilic molecules that interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) of the human body. These molecules can be further characterized into two main categories: phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids are cannabinoids produced by plants, and mammals have endocannabinoids.
So unlike endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids that have certain effects on the mammalian body, why do plants produce them? In theory from an evolutionary standpoint, if plants are still producing them, it must have some sort of beneficial effect to the plant itself. Studies have supported this idea, showing that phytocannabinoids have many antioxidant effects to the plant including protecting the plant from UV radiation.
Among the 66, the cannabinoids are differentiated into different groups based on the level of psychoactive properties. Cannabidiol or CBD is one of the few cannabinoids that are highly abundant in cannabis plants. CBD does not have psychoactive properties but rather anti-anxiety-like effects, mainly used in medicinal therapy. Strong evidence has shown CBD is effective in alleviating epilepsy symptoms and seizures. Epidiolex, which contains CBD, is the first-ever FDA-approved cannabis drug to date. Alongside treating epilepsies, CBD is shown to treat anxiety and help with insomnia, and some say it even helped them with chronic pain.
How CBD Works
Phytocannabinoids have beneficial effects on the plant, but why do mammals produce endocannabinoids? Simple answer: two proteins in the brain called CB1 and CB2 respond to endocannabinoids, which are produced naturally in the body to regulate a myriad of physiological processes including mood, appetite and immunity. So the main question here is: how CBD works in the human body?
Biosynthesis pathway is defined as a series of chemical reactions facilitated by specific enzymes to create complex molecules from simpler ones. As of date, the biosynthesis pathway of cannabinoids in cannabis has fully been elucidated. There are several different components of the THC and CBD biosynthesis pathway that make it complex.
CBD can’t get you high, but why? It is still uncertain as to how CBD interacts with the ECS. There are studies that show THC directly binds to CB1, which in return induces a series of responses that causes the “high feel” unlike CBD. However, experts do know that CBD does not directly bind to CB1 or CB2. Rather, CBD may potentially bind weakly to CB1 only — although studies suggest it is not directly binding in the same location on the protein like THC. In scientific terms, CBD is a negative allosteric modulator of the CB1 receptor. Basically, CBD is preventing endocannabinoids from being broken down — a natural process that occurs via the ECS to maintain homeostasis.
Another hypothesis around how CBD works by experts is that perhaps the receptor to which CBD binds to is still yet to be discovered.
Long Term Use of CBD
Unfortunately, CBD doesn’t affect everyone in the same way. People with ECS imbalances tend to have difficulties metabolizing CBD and thus require the intake of CBD long term to fully see an effect and feel a difference. With long term CBD use, it enables the body to metabolize the cannabinoid and interact with the ECS. The idea behind taking CBD long term is to eventually balance out the endocannabinoid deficiencies in the body for those with ECS imbalances. Over time, the body will be able to return to its natural balanced state and continue to maintain homeostasis.
Every body type is different. Some need to have a strict commitment on CBD intake; this could be as extensive as daily usage for several weeks or months. For others, CBD intake can be much more flexible. Since CBD has been shown to improve sleep, soothe muscle and joint stiffness, and have an overall enhancement of wellbeing, most people who take cannabinoids tend to take CBD long term.
Short Term Effects of CBD
Keeping in mind that clinical research is still limited on CBD long term versus CBD short term effects, but there have been many anecdotal experiences that suggest CBD has worked much more rapidly for many individuals. This goes back to the main idea that CBD can have different effects on different body types.
Some have claimed they felt a difference in sleeping patterns, feeling relaxed and reduced anxiety after just taking CBD for a few days. For chronic pain, illnesses and improving overall wellbeing, experts suggest long term CBD use, and for insomnia, anxiety, reducing stress and nausea, short-term CBD usage is ideal.
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