You must have encountered the acronym CBD in the course of your interactions or internet engagement. While it is a term that has widely gained popularity, a lot of people still don’t know what CBD is and what it is used for. In this article, we will look at CBD, its relation to the mitochondria, and how it impacts cellular functions.
What is CBD?
CBD is the short form for cannabidiol, a chemical compound found in the hemp plant, popularly known as
cannabis Sativa. It is a naturally occurring substance used in oils and edibles to serve several functions. The
cannabis plant is made of two compounds; CBD and THC. However, unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive
and does not have a high’ effect. In case you are wondering how hemp and marijuana features in this
definition, keep in mind that the cannabis Sativa plant is made of tow species, which are hemp and
Both hemp and Marijuana contain CBD, but hemp still has a higher percentage compared to the two. On the other hand, this means that it has a lower THC level compared to Marijuana .in case you are wondering whether there is CBD is hemp oil, the simple answer is no. Hemp oil is the pure oil extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant.
What are mitochondria?
Mitochondria are oval-shaped membrane-bound organelles found in the cytoplasm of all eukaryotic cells
whose main function is to generate energy for the cell in the form of ATP or the famous Adenosine
Triphosphate. The shape of these organelles ranges from round to oval, and measure 0.5 to 10
micromillimeters. Mitochondria also store calcium, which the cell relies on for several activities such as
signaling, heat generation, and cell growth. It is, therefore, an integral part of the cell.
There is no standard number of mitochondria in the cells. A good example can be seen in humans where the
red blood cells have mitochondria, whereas cells found in the liver or muscle tissues have thousands of these
energy-producing organelles. Unlike all the other cellular organelles, the mitochondrion has two distinct
membranes. They reproduce via binary fusion, a pretty complex method of reproduction that we will not
look into today.
The outer membrane of the mitochondrion allows small and large molecules since it is permeable, whereas
the inner membrane is less permeable and only allows very small molecules to pass through. Mitochondria
have gel-like matrixes in the center, which contains DNA and enzymes that make up the tricarboxylic acid
cycle, whose main aim is to break down nutrients into by-products that are used for energy production.
In short, mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cells that turn all the nutrients that we take into chemical energy to be used by the body for normal body metabolism. These are found in every complex organism and play an important role in keeping several metabolic diseases at bay. Mitochondria also ensure that the body conserves the energy produced.
CBD oil and mitochondria
CBD oil plays an important role in promoting different cellular functions. One of the organelles in the cells
that it targets is the mitochondrion, the main energy-production site. CBD has several medical benefits and is
used for different functions. A study in 2012, before CBD oil was officially legalized, proved that the
membranes of the mitochondria had CBD receptors. This observation and finding became the genesis of
several kinds of research aimed at defining CBD’s role in the functioning of the mitochondria.
Some of these researches have proved that the interaction between CBD oil and the mitochondria improves
key body functions such as autophagy, apoptosis, and intracellular homeostasis. CBD oil, therefore, helps
enhance several mitochondrial functions, greatly impacting overall health and internal balance.
The mitochondria play an even bigger role in the body apart from the normal energy synthesis. Problems with the mitochondria can result in a number of immune disorders such as cardiovascular diseases and other metabolic and neurodegenerative problems. These include cancer, diabetes, and the common Alzheimer’s.
The relationship between CBD oil and apoptosis and autophagy
The mitochondria control apoptosis and autophagy in the body, which are further enhanced by the use of
CBD oils. What is apoptosis? Apoptosis simply refers to the death of the cells and their regulated triggering.
Autophagy, on the other hand, is all about giving life to a cell by recycling different parts. Therefore, it is
sufficient to say that these two mean the opposite of each other, functions that are left for the mitochondria.
In case you are wondering if these two processes are important to the body, the answer is yes. The process of
autophagy helps the cell to replace the faulty components, whereas apoptosis gets rid of faulty or old cells.
These two processes are important since they prevent harmful cells from growing, resulting in harmful
tumors that may cause cancers. This is actually one of the reasons why most cancer treatment targets the
mitochondria, which are charged with the duty of killing cells or recycling some of their parts. CBD oil influences both processes, which is one of its contributions to the functioning of the mitochondria.
CBD oils have also been found to be useful in the treatment of breast cancer since it encourages the
mitochondria to kill faulty and harmful cells without affecting the otherwise healthy ones.
In 2013, scientists discovered that CBD oil worked together with VDAC1, which is an essential protein
found in the membranes of the mitochondria and is greatly linked to the death of the cells or apoptosis as
scientists refer to it.
In short, CBD oil plays an important role in creating these two responses by impacting mitochondrial
activity. This is made possible through the endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for several
hormonal functions. The endocannabinoid system plays an essential role in the cell, depending on the stress
levels. Low stress increases the functioning of the mitochondria, which automatically commences autophagy
where the cell is repaired.
When there is too much stress, mitochondrial activity falls, which calls for the protection of the cell. However, when the stress is too much, endocannabinoids such as CBD oil make sure that apoptosis is triggered. This is prevalent in situations such as the growth of cancer cells. CBD oils and other endocannabinoids have the same chemical composition as the human body and, therefore, easily smoothly interact with the endocannabinoid system, ensuring that most body functions are kept constant.
CBD oil and homeostasis
You must have come across the term homeostasis from your Biology classes. This occurs when the body is
at equilibrium and can, therefore, perform to the best of its ability since all the processes are at par.
Homeostasis is therefore achieved when different factors such as the calcium in the mitochondria are kept
constant. Conditions such as Alzheimer’s can be attributed to an imbalance of calcium levels in the
Conditions such as neuronal brain damage can also be attributed to the imbalance of calcium and sodium in
the brain. Therefore, CBD oil works with the receptors in the mitochondrial membranes, such as the NCX,
which then opens a channel allowing different ions to pass freely when the concentrations are low.
CBD oil contributes to homeostasis within the cell reducing the calcium content through the sodium-calcium exchanger. In short, CBD oil regulates the levels of ions in the mitochondria ensuing that the cell function normally by achieving a state of equilibrium.
CBD oil’s impact on free radicals and oxidization
The process of oxidation in the mitochondria is not as easy as it sounds. It refers to the process of energy
synthesis through electron transport. This process leads to the formation of ionized oxygen, hydrogen
peroxide, which is then released into the body. This is where free radicals come in. The term refers to the
three unstable molecules. Here comes the problem. These three molecules produced as a result of oxidation
destroy cell membranes, proteins, and DNA.
To salvage this situation and prevent aggravated damage, the body uses antioxidants to neutralize the free
radicals, making them pretty stable. CBD oil is therefore used as an antioxidant, which makes it useful to the
cause. Therefore, it triggers the CB2 cannabinoid to ensure that the cells are protected from these free
There are several antioxidants that can achieve this purpose, but CBD remains one of the most trusted. Several kinds of research and findings from as early as 1998 point to this. Therefore, apart from promoting the destruction and recycling of cells, CBD oil also plays an important role in protecting the cells from free radicals, that are mostly harmful. These antioxidant properties of CBD are one of the reasons why it is used for different therapies.
The mitochondrion is one of the most important parts of the cells. It is responsible for energy synthesis and homeostasis. CBD oil plays an important role in promoting these functions, which correlates it to the mitochondria’s functioning. CBD promotes key functions such as autophagy and apoptosis, which target different results.