CBD - The Science

How Does CBD Work?


The  human nervous system contains a large number of receptors. Receptors  are like mobile telephone masts transmitting signals. But if a mobile  mast accepts an electromagnetic wave as a signal, receptors use specific  molecules to transmit messages.

One of the receptor systems is the so-called endocannabinoid system  (ECS). ECS receptors are located in the human brain and in the  peripheral nervous system – spinal cord and nerves. In the brain, the  receptors reside in areas responsible for perception, concentration,  memory and movement. That’s why the ECS is involved in the regulation of  many physiological processes including the feeling of pain, mood, and  appetite. Interestingly, the ECS is also a part of in neural system  response to physical excise. “Runner's high” is caused by ECS action.

The ECS receptors are CB1 and CB2, 5-HT1A, μ, and δ. The receptors  bind cannabinoid-like molecules produced by the nervous system,  endorphins. One of the endorphin molecules transmitting signals in the  ECS is 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). It binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors.  Cannabidiol, CBD, also bind to these receptors and replicates the  effects of 2-AG.

CBD binds to the same receptors as psychoactive THC but has an  opposite effect. If THC gets your nervous system into overdrive CBD  makes it slow down.


The wild Cannabis sativa plants produce a smorgasbord of organic  compounds with THC and CBD among them. Just as other domesticated plants  were selected to produce specific molecules in high quantities,  Cannabis sativa has been selectively bred for different purposes. As a  result of breeding, the original plant has been split into distinct  cultivars with different qualities (think Brussel sprouts and  cauliflower originated from wild brassica). Current “cannabis” cultivars  focused on producing as much as possible of THC to the detriment of  other useful compounds. On the other hand, “hemp” cultivars focused on  the industrial use and bred it to produce high quantities of CBD at the  detriment of THC.

Cannabinoids THC and CBD are closely related to plant-derived  compounds terpenoids such as menthol, camphor, and curcuminoids from in  turmeric and mustard seed. Terpenoids are a large class of organic  molecules used extensively in traditional cuisine because of their  aromatic qualities. They also play a prominent role in traditional  herbal remedies.

THC and CBD are produced in the same biosynthesis pathway. In other  words, they have the same precursor molecule, cannabigerolic acid, CBGA.  When the precursor is available, an enzyme, THCS synthase makes an  extra ether link and converts CBGA into THCA that after decarboxylation  converts to THC. In the parallel pathway, CBDA synthase converts CBGA  into CBD precursor, CBDA.