Our bodies are designed to work with cannabinoids such as CBD, and it’s the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) that allows this to happen. Let’s take a look at the ECS and how it works!
CBD is considered by many people to be the next ‘superfood’ that’s going to sweep across the globe. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid that’s being added to a variety of different health and beauty products, but what is it, and how does it interact with our bodies? Let’s find out.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the two most prevalent phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids from plants) found in both the hemp and marijuana plants. The other main cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, unlike THC, CBD has no psychotropic properties and won’t get you ‘high’ like many people associate with marijuana.
Both cannabis and hemp belong to the cannabis sativa plant family, but each has unique properties. Most CBD products come from industrial hemp plants because they are bred to be high in CBD and low in THC.
There have been a variety of studies into CBD and the potential medical benefits which it may offer to people, but more clinical studies are required before we unlock its full therapeutic benefits.
It’s because of CBDs versatility that it’s being incorporated into so many different products. You can choose from CBD oils, CBD tinctures, CBD edibles, CBD capsules, CBD lotions and balms, CBD vape liquid, and CBD infused drinks and foods. This versatility makes CBD products appealing to a wide variety of different people and conditions.
What is the Endocannabinoid System?
Inside everyone, regardless of whether or not they have tried marijuana or hemp products, is something known as the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). It’s believed that the ECS is responsible for maintaining homeostasis throughout the body and is strongly focused on the central nervous system.
What’s homeostasis? It means maintaining ‘balance and harmony’ throughout the body. When something inside our body is functioning correctly, it’s the role of the ECS to step in and correct it.
Think of the ECS of the monitoring system of our body. It’s constantly checking to make sure that everything is running perfectly balanced. The ECS is made up of a series of receptors that are spread throughout the body. When you use any cannabis products, they interact with the receptors that are spread throughout the body and cause a chemical reaction.
Two of the receptors that endocannabinoids and cannabinoids interact with are the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Our bodies naturally produce endocannabinoids that are released to help balance out our internal systems. When our bodies aren’t producing enough endocannabinoids, usually, cannabinoids such as CBD can step in and support the ECS.
How does CBD work with the Endocannabinoid System?
While the ECS is monitoring our internal systems, it releases endocannabinoids to correct any imbalances that it discovers. One of the endocannabinoids that are issued to help restore balance is anandamide.
CBD prefers to bind with the CB2 receptor, while THC usually binds with the CB1 receptor. When the cannabinoid binds with the receptor, it sends a signal to the part of the body that it’s connected to and causes the cells to react.
Most CB1 receptors are found in the brain and are linked to emotion, mood, and appetite. The CBD 2 receptors are focused in the immune and central nervous systems. There are some areas of the body where both receptors are present, but receptors are still responsible for triggering different actions.
The easiest way to image the interaction between cannabinoids and receptors is to think of them as a lock and key. The cannabinoids and endocannabinoids are the keys that fit the receptors, which are the locks. Certain cannabinoids fit into specific receptors.
CBD and the ECS conclusion!
There still needs to be more research done into the ECS and cannabinoids, and what influence the ECS has, but some of the effects of the ECS are: Appetite, memory, metabolism, energy balance, stress, immune functions, exercise, sleep, and female reproduction.
While we are still a long way from fully understanding the ECS and the role it plays in our health and wellness, what we do know about CBD and the ECS looks extremely promising.