How CBD works in the body

+ What we know about CBD’s mechanisms of action

CBD does not appear to directly activate the cannabinoid receptors, CB1 or CB2. However, research suggests that it may interact with the endocannabinoid system through indirect mechanisms, such as enhancing the action of the endogenous cannabinoid anandamide (otherwise known as the ‘bliss molecule’) via blocking its reuptake and breakdown. Boosting anandamide levels has been linked to improvements in mood and reduced anxiety and may be responsible for improved endocannabinoid system tone.

CBD has also been shown to modulate several other non-endocannabinoid signalling systems. These include

  • Inhibition of adenosine uptake, possibly resulting in indirect agonist activity at adenosine receptors
  • Enhanced activity at the 5-HT1a receptor
  • Enhanced activity at glycine receptor subtypes
  • Blockade of the orphan G-protein-coupled receptor GPR55

For further reading please refer to the most recent report by the World Health Organisation.