A Unique Crossover
Okay, hold up. Opioids? We all know that there are a lot of prescribed pain medications that fall under this category and that they have quite a reputation for producing addiction and withdrawal.
So let’s clear the air. When we say CBD and opioids, we are referring to our internally produced opioids, such as our endorphins. You know, the compounds that are so famous for creating the buzz you experience after a good workout. They are known as opioids simply because they interact with our internal opioid receptors.
This article won’t cover topics like “how to use CBD oil for pain” and attempting to use CBD for pain after surgery. But due to the subject, natural pain reduction will be discussed, even if it’s not the primary focus. If you are strictly looking to understand the connection between cannabinoids and pain, then you may want to check out one of our other articles titled “CBD for Pain Relief: A Dash of Science for the Pain.”
And fair warning, if you’re planning to use CBD for pain control of any kind, then you need to get a recommendation from your doctor. Over-the-counter products like the ones we sell are simply intended for use only as general wellness tonics. So don’t go popping CBD gummies for pain. Instead, be informed and work with a medical professional for any and all health concerns.
The Endocannabinoid and Opioid System
Modern research has discovered a strong connection between the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) and our opioid network. This isn’t a huge surprise. The ECS is known to manage pain, anxiety, depression, and happiness. And the opioid network is well known for its ability to reduce pain and promote euphoria. Additionally, a poorly functioning opioid network can contribute to anxiety and depression. So this crossover is actually quite intuitive.
The ECS is an extensive and advanced system with receptors and signaling compounds in almost every tissue of your body, from skin and muscle to the tissues in your organs and nervous system. This gives it an extensive reach and many avenues to work. This relationship to the opioid network is simply another way for the ECS to support homeostasis while providing the mood-boosting and pain-relieving properties that it is touted for.
In this article, we’ll be covering two types of cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. We will also look at the activities of the two primary signaling compounds for this network, AEA and 2-AG. Regarding the opioid system, we will be discussing beta-endorphins (typically referred to as endorphins) and two opioid receptor types (mu-opioid and delta-opioid).
CBD and Opioid Receptors
Cannabidiol is known to interact with opioid receptors. However, this is not a standard activation or inhibition of these receptors. Specifically, CBD acts as an allosteric modulator for these receptors. Now, you don’t need to remember the name of this activity. Even our writers forget this one from time to time. But understanding this action is pretty straightforward.
When the CBD compound reaches a mu-opioid or delta-opioid receptor, it binds to the receptor. It then changes the way the receptor will interact with its environment and other transmitters. Now, this information is pretty fresh. There are several types of allosteric modulators, and some of the ones that target opioid receptors have been suggested as safe pain-relief options. But at the moment, we have been unable to locate research that describes the type of modification that CBD applies to these opiate receptors. When we learn more, you’ll be the first to hear about it.
Cannabinoid Receptors and Endorphins
The two main types of endocannabinoid receptors are known as CB1 and CB2. When both of these receptors are activated, they have been shown to release beta-endorphins. With more endorphins circulating throughout your nervous system, they can easily reach their opioid receptor targets. Once they land and activate said receptors, they can promote a sense of euphoria and pain relief.
Anandamide (AEA) and Endorphin Release
AEA is an essential transmitter for the endocannabinoid system. It’s built on-demand in the body, delivered to the needed receptors, and then rapidly broken down into its parts. While it’s present, it can activate CB1 and CB2 receptors, although it is significantly worse at working with CB2 receptors.
As mentioned above, activating these receptors can create a flush of opioid endorphin compounds. So, it’s reasonable to see how this transmitter can promote opioid levels and activity in the body (pain relief and pleasure).
Luckily, this exact topic has been researched. This research showed that the protection of AEA in the body leads to the release of beta-endorphins. And how did they protect AEA? By inhibiting the FAAH enzyme, which is responsible for breaking it down. Here we’ll point out something important that many of our dedicated readers already know. CBD inhibits FAAH and causes AEA levels in the body to rise significantly.
2-Arachidonoylglycerol and Opioid Activity
We were not able to locate research that showed a direct relationship between 2-AG protection and endorphin release. However, 2-AG is also able to activate both CB1 and CB2. In fact, it is better at activating both of these receptors when compared to AEA. And this activation is very likely to lead to endorphin release.
2-AG is broken down by the MAGL enzyme. CBD is not known to inhibit MAGL in the same way it impedes the FAAH enzyme, which relates to AEA. Still, there is information circulating that suggests that CBD can reduce the overall activity of MAGL, but not to the same degree.
As AEA levels rise, 2-AG levels lift up with them. It’s just the nature of these two compounds to help balance each other out. This leads to more CB receptor activation, which flushes the nervous system with beta-endorphins, and results in a lovely sensation you may be familiar with from long sessions in the gym, along with other pleasurable activities.
It’s interesting to note that the inhibition of both FAAH and MAGL simultaneously can result in psychoactivity similar to THC. However, inhibition of only one, as is the case with CBD, does not create an intoxicating high.
Despite our talk regarding euphoria-inducing opioids and our recent articles covering the CBD-Dopamine connection, CBD itself is non-psychoactive. So while it certainly promotes happiness in the heart, and a joyful, healthy life, CBD will never create a mind-altering buzz.
We stand behind this statement because we know that our CBD products have been tested to ensure 0% THC. We know that joy isn’t just found in peak moments of bliss. It is also found in calm focus and clear states of mind. That’s where natural supplementation can help.
CBD gently works with your body to bring ease and stability to the endocannabinoid system. From there, the ECS can spread goodness to your entire system. It’s a potent but gentle process.
So if you want to experience the joys of a holistic lifestyle, don’t hesitate. Set up your account and enjoy one of our CBD Oil and CBD Gummie Bundle Deals or select a Buy One Get One Free Offer. Once you try our premium cannabidiol, you’ll understand what the CBD hype is all about.