CBD is a compound that is obtained from cannabis plants. The compound is well known for its multiple therapeutic benefits generated by influencing the receptors of the endocannabinoid system. CBD has an influence on the neurotransmitters in our body.
In this article, we are discussing the effects of CBD on the levels of dopamine, an important neurotransmitter in our body.
What Is Dopamine?
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter produced by two major regions of the brain, substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area. Dopamine plays a key role in activating the pleasure centers in the brain and influencing the way in which we think and make plans.
Our nervous system uses dopamine to send messages between nerve cells, because of which dopamine is sometimes referred to as chemical messenger. Our body uses four key pathways to spread dopamine across the body. Less than required or more than required levels of dopamine can lead to a wide range of health issues.
The making of dopamine in the brain is a two-step process. In the first step, dopamine changes amino acid tyrosine to a substance called dopa, which is then converted to dopamine.
Dopamine has a significant effect on the following body functions:
- Heart rate
- Kidney function
- Control of nausea and vomiting
- Pain perception
Deficiency of dopamine may lead to several disorders like Parkinson’s disease. It is found that the degeneration of neurons that produce dopamine in the substantia nigra leads to this disease.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is linked with lower levels of dopamine that increases the difficulty in concentrating and focusing. Depression could be caused by low levels of dopamine in the body. The loss of motivation or inability to find happiness in daily activities leads to depression.
Dopamine in adequate levels helps you be in a good mood that is ideal for planning, learning and doing productive things.
Dopamine contributes to the following feelings:
Sleep is very important in regulating your dopamine levels. Lower levels of dopamine can make you sleepy and not sleeping enough can lead to lowered levels of dopamine in your body. According to a study that was conducted in 2012, sleep deprivation can cause a visible decrease in the availability of dopamine receptors.
It is not just lower levels of dopamine that could cause issues. Dopamine in excess levels is undesirable. It may contribute to:
Excess levels of dopamine also play a role in:
A sudden increase in dopamine levels can give you a top of the world feeling. Alcohol, nicotine or other addictive drugs target the dopamine cycle in our body and give a sudden sense of pleasure that makes people want to try them again.
CBD And Dopamine
CBD does not exert a direct influence on the dopamine levels in our body. Instead it acts on the 5-HT1A receptors present in various brain regions, especially the pleasure areas where dopamine activity is known to take place.
CBD may also influence various non-cannabinoid receptor systems in our brain. It can interact with various receptors that are known to be sensitive to neurotransmitters and drugs. The opioid receptor system is one among them. The opioid receptors are the primary targets of pain killer mediations well as abusive drugs like heroin, morphine and fentanyl.
CBD is capable of increasing the levels of anandamide, which is a naturally occurring cannabinoid in our brain. Anandamide regulates other brain chemicals that include serotoin and dopamine. The effect contributes to increasing the dopamine levels in our body.
CBD can also stimulate adenosine receptors to encourage the release of dopamine and glutamate neurotransmitters. The interaction of CBD with dopamine receptors increases the dopamine levels and positively affects reward-seeking behaviors motivation, and cognition.
CB1 and CB2 are the tow important cannabinoid receptors present in our body. CBD does not bind directly to these receptors but exerts an indirect influence on them. It also contributes to the level of naturally occurring cannabinoids in our body. This is achieved by exerting an inhibitory influence on the enzymes that are responsible in breaking them down.
The ability of CBD to influence dopamine and opioid receptors may provide an explanation to its potential in dampening drug cravings and handling withdrawal symptoms. However, more research is required to make any solid conclusions about the interaction of CBD with dopamine and opioid receptor systems.
The role of CBD in handling addiction is also related to its interaction with the serotonin system.
If you are planning to use CBD for handling some medical condition or want to use it for general wellness, you have to ensure that you are getting the best quality CBD product, lest your CBD experience will not go as expected.