How does CBD work?

How is CBD Absorbed?

Cannabinoids must attach to a fatty acid binding protein to pass through the membranes of our cells. Once its inside the cell, CBD starts to be broken down by fatty acid amide hydrolase, a metabolic enzyme. From there, the CBD can start interacting with the receptors and compounds in our bodies!

The Endocannabinoid System

CBD is one of the compounds called cannabinoids.

The human body already produces some cannabinoids on its own – these are called endocannabinoids. Since these compounds are naturally produced in the body, the body also has a system in place for dealing with the signals it receives from cannabinoids. This system is called the endocannabinoid system or ECS. The ECS regulates many bodily functions, such as sleep, pain, mood, appetite, and responses from the immune system.

The receptors in the ECS are divided into two categories: CB1 and CB2.

CB1 receptors are typically found in the nervous system, and a small proportion of them may be found in the kidneys, lungs, or liver. These receptors are the ones known to interact with the neurotransmitters and affect sensations like appetite, concentration, and more.

CB2 receptors, on the other hand, are a huge part of the immune system. These receptors have a hand in modulating the pain sensation along with other immune responses.

According to this study, CBD does not bind to the ECS itself – it actually activates or inhibits other compounds and receptors. The same study claims that this is why CBD doesn’t produce any psychoactive effects.

How Does it Affect the Body?

So, what does CBD actually do once it’s absorbed and interacting with the body? Here are a few of the ways that studies show CBD can affect your body. 

  • This study shows that, at high concentrations, CBD directly activates the 5-HT1A (hydroxy tryptamine) serotonin receptor. This receptor is a factor in a large range of conditions and symptoms, such as nausea, pain, sleep, addition, appetite, and anxiety.
  • This study shows how CBD binds to TRPV1 receptors. TRPV1 is known for mediating temperature, inflammation, and pain.
  • By stimulating the adenosine receptor, CBD promotes dopamine – which affects processes like motor control, motivation, reward, and cognition – and glutamate – which affects learning and memory – production, as shown in this study.
  • By activating peroxisome proliferator activated receptors (PPARs), CBD can also work as an anti-cancer treatment, according to this study.
  • CBD interacts with the GABA-A receptor to enhance its ability to bind with GABA. GABA is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in our nervous system, and CBD allows the GABA-A receptor to amplify the natural calming effect of GABA, which is helpful in treating anxiety.


  • Kidney Disease
    While these studies are in the experimental stages, they suggest that CBD could have beneficial effects on the kidneys.
  • Liver Disease
    Studies show that cannabidiol helps restore liver function.
  • Migraines
    In this study of 48 people, about 40% found that they experienced fewer migraines when using CBD.
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
    Results from studies using CBD-based drug Sativex as an additional therapy have been “promising” in treating Multiple Sclerosis.
  • Nausea
    CBD interacts with serotonin receptors to help reduce nausea caused by many different factors.
  • Osteoporosis/Bone Health
    Data shows that CBD helps fractures heal quickly by assisting with collagen enzymes.
  • Pain
    Using CBD for natural pain relief can be a promising alternative or addition to a traditional pharmaceutical regimen.
  • Parkinson’s Disease
    Findings show that CBD may positively affect the quality of life in patients with Parkinson’s Disease.
  • PMS
    CBD can be used to successfully manage many different symptoms of premenstrual syndrome such as cramps, bloating, headaches, mood swings, depression, anxiety, and digestive issues.
  • Skin Conditions
    This study shows that low concentrations of CBD were “very effective in inhibiting lipid synthesis” without harming the skin cells when treating acne. Damage to cells is extremely likely when using Vitamin A derivatives, which are common in treating acne. 

The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD have a potential role in treating psoriasis, according to this study.

The “protective role of the endocannabinoid system” when in contact with a skin allergy shows potential for CBD to treat contact dermatitis – allergic reactions on the skin.

CBD is an effective and well-tolerated therapy for chronic pruritus, or excessive itching. 

Mental Health
  • Alzheimer’s
    This study shows that cannabinoids such as CBD may “directly impact” the progression of Alzheimers.
  • Anorexia
    While these studies are in the early stages, preclinical findings support the clinical development of drugs to treat eating disorders by modulating the endocannabinoid system.
  • Anxiety
    Numerous animal and human studies suggest that CBD has strong anti-anxiety properties and may be beneficial when treating many different anxiety-related disorders.
  • Autism
    There have been reports that cannabis and CBD are a more effective treatment for behavioral problems associated with autism than conventional treatments.
  • Depression
    Preclinical data suggests that “elevated endocannabinoid signaling” such as is produced with CBD can produce antidepressant effects as well as conventional treatments.
  • OCD
    Studies show that CBD helps inhibit obsessive-compulsive behaviors.
  • PTSD
  • Studies found that CBD is an effective treatment for anxiety and insomnia as a result of PTSD and is useful in conditions relating to fear and memory, such as PTSD and phobias.
  • Kidney Disease
    Through a mid-stage drug trial, an experimental cannabis-based drug has been found superior to a placebo when treating schizophrenia. 
How Can I Use CBD?

There are quite a few options for using CBD – you can even cook with it! All these options can make choosing a CBD product a little overwhelming. We’ve broken down some of the most common ways to use CBD below so you can make an educated decision on which method works best for your lifestyle and preferences. And, so long as you follow airline regulations, you can take most of them with you when you travel! 


Quite a few different kinds of products fall under the category of “edibles.” The most popular is CBD gummies – much like the popular gummy vitamins! Energy chews, gum, protein powder, and infused water all fall under the category of edible. 

If you want to enjoy a tasty snack while you get your CBD, an edible option might be perfect for you. As with any supplement, it’s important that you take your CBD edibles safely – make sure you follow edible safe practices! 


CBD capsules are a no-fuss solution to your daily CBD dose. Some capsules are even dissolvable if swallowing pills isn’t an option for you. Just grab one along with the rest of your daily vitamins and a sip of water, and you’re good to go. 

Capsules are great if you’re sensitive to tastes or textures or you’re looking for the easiest way to take CBD. 

Oils & Tinctures

CBD oil is one of the most versatile options for CBD. Typically, tinctures are dropped under the tongue – which helps it absorb more quickly – and then swallowed. 

You also have the option of blending your CBD oil with a carrier oil such as coconut, olive, or jojoba and then applying the oil mixture directly to your skin. 

If you’d like different options for your CBD application or are interested in the additional benefits often included in the carrier oils, oils and tinctures are a great choice for you. 

Vape Juice

Much like consumable CBD oil, CBD vape juice comes in a wide variety of flavors (Lucky Charms and cinnamon toast, anyone?). CBD additives are also available, so you can simply add a dose of CBD to your favorite vape juice. 

If you’re used to vaping or don’t mind inhaling your products any more than taking them orally, CBD vape juice may be a good choice for you.  

Kidney Disease

If you want to give your pet CBD, there are a variety of options as well! CBD can come in sprays and oils to be put on their food or directly into their mouths. CBD-infused treats are also available. Pets can also benefit from topical CBD balms for skin problems or gel that can be applied in the ear for quick absorption into their veins. 

Benefits of CBD Oil For Dogs & CBD Dog Treats

CBD for dogs offer similar benefits as they do for humans. Whether you’re looking to ease anxiety, reduce aggression, or alleviate the pain associated with aging, CBD dog treats offer a convenient way to add CBD to your dog’s diet. 

How To Give CBD Oil To Your Dog & How Much CBD Should Your Dog Take?

Amounts will vary pet to pet, just like it does for each person. Depending on your pets’ size, age, and severity of symptoms, CBD dosing will change. A good rule of thumb is to start with a smaller dose and adjust as needed or as symptoms improve. It’s always best to start with a low dose, depending on pet size, from 5 to 25 mg of CBD twice a day. With dog treats, it is easier to know just how much CBD your pet is getting with each bite-sized biscuit.

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