Cannabidiol (CBD), a late discovered cannabinoid from the hemp plant.
Cannabidiol is classified as a so-called cannabinoid. Cannabinoids are active substances found mainly in the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica). The best known cannabinoids are cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The latter is responsible for the psycho-activ effects of hemp plants. In comparison to other active plant substances, cannabinoids were discovered relatively late. It was not until the 1970s that researchers succeeded in deciphering the structure of cannabidiol and THC. For comparison: another important plant active ingredient, salicylic acid, was discovered a hundred years earlier. The late discovery of cannabinoids led to the fact that the medical use of cannabis unfortunately fell into oblivion in the last century. After all, since the 20th century medicine has had the claim to know exactly about the effect, properties and dosage of active substances. Only with the discovery of cannabinoids, the active substances of the hemp plant, did cannabis become interesting again for modern medicine.
The discovery of the endocannabinoid system
Initially, the researchers had investigated the structure of cannabidiol and other cannabinoids. They quickly realised that cannabinoids must be responsible for the effects of cannabis. So they knew that cannabinoids worked. Now they wanted to clarify how this effect came about. During these investigations they came across a hitherto unknown area in our body: the endocannabinoid system.
In 1987, Professor Allyn Howlett of Saint-Louis University in Missouri (USA) was able to show for the first time that cannabinoids act via the body’s own receptors. The human body has several receptors that react to cannabinoids. The best known are the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and the cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2). CB1 is found in the central nervous system and in the intestinal nervous system. CB2 is found on cells of the human immune system and on cells that regulate bone metabolism. These two receptors are part of the so-called endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system regulates body processes. Thus, it has an influence on the
- Performance of the defense system
- the perception of pain
- the emergence of fears
- the mood
- the regulation of appetite, sleep and body temperature
The endocannabinoid system cannot only be influenced by cannabinoids from hemp plants. The body itself forms substances, the so-called endocannabinoids, which influence the system. One of the best known endocannabinoids is anandamide. Anandamide is found mainly in the central nervous system and mediates its analgesic and mood-lifting effects.
Due to the central role of the endocannabinoid system in the body, it is understandable that it can have a decisive influence on our well-being and on a possible recovery in case of illness. For this reason, cannabinoids such as cannabidiol and THC have been closely examined in recent decades.
The cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) can be helpful in a number of conditions. Its usefulness has been proven in several clinical studies. Its effects can be explained by its interaction with the endocannabinoid system.