The benefits of CBD are being talked about more and more everywhere you look. From helping those with anxiety or low mood to improving sleep quality, but do we understand how or why these benefits occur? We take an in-depth look at the influence CBD has on our mental well being…
CBD's impact on mental wellbeing
One-way CBD (cannabidiol) influences our mental wellbeing is through its ability to act on a receptor in our brains called the 5ht1a receptor. This receptor is responsible for the production and also the reuptake of the neurotransmitter called Serotonin.
Serotonin plays the most crucial role in our mental wellbeing, carrying out many essential tasks, such as moderating our cortisol production (stress hormone).
If cortisol levels become too high can lead to symptoms like:
- Unwanted weight gain
- A flushed and round face
- High blood pressure
- Mood swings, which show as anxiety, depression or irritability
Anxiety and depression
Adequate serotonin production and functioning can also help relieve symptoms of anxiety. Serotonin acts as a filter, allowing only the most important messages in the brain to pass through, thereby reducing the level of ‘noise’ in our mind.
A 2013 study also showed that CBD could trigger an increase in neurogenesis in the hippocampus, meaning the creation of new neurons in the part of the brain which is responsible for cognition and memory. People with anxiety or depression tend to have a smaller hippocampus in comparison with those who don’t. Therefore, increased neuron production can help us maintain a healthy hippocampus.
Cannabidiol also has many anti-inflammatory properties. With the link between inflammation and mental well-being being significant, lowering the level of inflammation in the brain can help to improve our mental wellbeing.
This is because brain cells exposed to cytokines (inflammation) are more likely to die and less likely to be regenerated. We also know that when nerve cells are inflamed, the connections or synapses between them are less capable of functioning correctly.
We also know that inflammation reduces the supply of serotonin which we mentioned earlier, as a transmitter between brain cells. So by lowering inflammation, you improve the connectivity in the brain.
CBD can help to improve our quality of sleep; improved sleep can reduce our chances of becoming depressed significantly and enhance mood, memory and cognition. Individuals with anxiety and depression often suffer from a reduced quality of sleep, which can compound the issues they are already experiencing.
Improving the quality of sleep can help provide them with a more stable foundation to address the problems that may be causing their poor mental health.
CBD helps us to create more of our naturally occurring endocannabinoids (neurotransmitters) in the brain and body.
One of these endocannabinoids called Anandandamide is responsible for producing the feeling of bliss and can help alleviate symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression and helps to moderate levels of inflammation in the brain and body, which in turn can contribute to better mental wellbeing.
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