GABA. What is it, and why is it essential to healthy brain function and neuroscience? GABA is an abbreviation for gamma-aminobutyric acid. GABA is a class of chemicals that act as a messenger between neurons (cells in our brain and nervous system) called a neurotransmitter.
Humans, on average, have around 86 billion (86,000,000,000) neurons. Each neuron can form thousands of links (synapse) with other neurons as we mature, giving the possibility of well over 100 trillion (100,000,000,000,000) synapses by adulthood. From our development in the womb, then childhood, into adolescence, adulthood, and later old age. That's a lot of neurotransmitters needed to adjust and maintain synaptic balance throughout our lives!
During this time, different levels of neurotransmitters help communicate when to increase or decrease activities in the brain and central nervous system in response to experiences and environments. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that is key in maintaining balance in the brain. It can tell parts of our brain when to calm down after too much stimulation and excitation.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a plant cannabinoid. CBD is known to interacts with many endocannabinoid receptors in our body. CBD is reportedly a positive allosteric receptor modulator of GABA-A receptors. Telling the body to respond to GABA, our natural chill pill that is used to balance mood and emotion.
CBD's broad neurochemical profile also interacts with 5-HT1A (Mechoulam, Peters, Murillo-Rodriguez, and Hanus 2007; Pertwee 2009). 5-HT is a Serotonin receptor involved in mood and emotions. So anyone who has used SSIR (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) will know how vital these neurotransmitters are.
We know that 'A lack of these neurotransmitters can result in aggression and depression.' (The Teenage Brain, Amy Ellis Nutt and Frances E. Jensen, 2014). Hence CDB's significance to the overall health of our brain and nervous system. CBD can support our body's natural ability to relax, calm down, and reduce tension. They can act like antianxiety nutrients.
Did you know that ancient Chinese doctors used cannabis powder (麻粉) to treat over 120 neurological conditions?
The ancient Chinese Daoist philosopher, Lao Zi (老子) once said 'If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.'
So next time when overthinking about the future becomes crippling, remember it's just simple neurochemistry at play. Relax, chill out, stay calm and carry on CBD!