The Endocannabinoid System and CBDCannaba Tree
THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM and CBD: BEGINNERS GUIDE
Have you ever stopped and looked at how healthy relationships play a hugely influential role, not only in our day to day living but also in the overall quality of the life we carve out for ourselves? From bonds with our family and friends, the environment which we live, the food we put into our body, to how we feel mentally and physically and of course how we view and relate to our own self.
As with all of nature, certain connections are vital for wellbeing and balance.
Our body is no exception – We come fully assembled with a built-in, self-regulating system that uses biochemical relationships to constantly rebalance our body’s internal environment, despite the ups and downs of our external life.
This system is called the Endocannabinoid System (or ECS for short) and is a major communication network found within our brain and throughout our entire body, including our immune cells.
The ECS is a key component in maintaining a balance between many different biological functions and processes such as:
• Appetite and food intake
• Metabolic rate
• Brain plasticity (The brains’ ability to organise neurons, important for learning and memory)
• Muscle maintenance
• Stress response
• Bone health
• Immune function
• Skin health
• Release of emotional trauma
• Perception of pain
This constant state of internal stability is a process known as Homeostasis.
WHAT IS HOMEOSTASIS?
For optimal performance, our cells must work within a narrow range of specific conditions. Playing a huge role in this vital process, the endocannabinoid system adjusts the conditions where required, bringing them back into the correct range. Similar to a balancing scale, our ECS maintains a stable environment by readjusting conditions each time we are pulled from our point of stability, bringing us back to a state of balanced equilibrium – This is the basis of Homeostasis.
THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM AND CBD
Cannabis compounds such as CBD have a unique and powerful lock and key relationship with our endocannabinoid system, with the ECS being the catalyst for the many benefits of CBD.
To fully understand how CBD works within the body and to really comprehend the benefits CBD can deliver, we must first take a closer look at the endocannabinoid system, how it works and how we can support and influence it for improved mind-body health and wellbeing.
THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM, A BRIEF HISTORY
A fairly recent discovery in the early 1990s, researchers discovered this vast and vital signaling system whilst exploring the effects of cannabinoids found in cannabis. They discovered a system that’s present in all humans and almost all animals and named the system after the plant that led them to it.
HOW DOES THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM WORK?
The endocannabinoid system consists of 3 key elements:
Element 1. Cannabinoids: Chemical messengers that bind to and influence cannabinoid receptors.
TYPES OF CANNABINOIDS
Endocannabinoids: – (Endo meaning inside) – Cannabinoids that are produced inside the body naturally. The two most well-known are Anandamide, also known as the ‘Bliss’ molecule, responsible for the blissful feelings often experienced during deep meditation and as ‘runners high’ and the second named 2-AG (2-Arachidonoylglycerol) a cannabinoid present in nursing mothers breast milk, inducing a calming effect for the infant.
When out of balance, the body produces these specialised compounds called endocannabinoids which work as messengers to send information to our cells. By binding to and activating receptor sites, endocannabinoids give a cell a specific message and direction to reclaim balance.
Phytocannabinoids: – Cannabinoids such as CBD and THC produced by plants and when consumed, inhaled, or applied topically, can activate the ECS by either mimicking the body’s own endocannabinoids or by influencing the body to produce more of its own natural cannabinoids.
(Cannabis contains more cannabinoids than any other single plant that we know of and consuming CBD is just one of the ways to support the ECS without getting high.)
Synthetic Cannabinoids: – Cannabinoids created in a lab synthetically.
Element 2. Cannabinoid Receptor Sites:
ECS receptor sites named CB1 and CB2 are found on cells throughout the entire body, in the brain, tissues, immune system, and in just about every organ. In fact, there are more ECS receptors in our body than any other kind of receptor, making our ECS the largest network of its kind throughout our entire physiology. These receptors are designed to accept cannabinoids and the messages they relay.
Element 3. Metabolic Enzymes:
FAAH and MAGL are names of metabolic enzymes which the ECS uses to accelerate chemical reactions and then in the final part of the process break down cannabinoids once they have completed their task and the body has returned to a state of balance.
THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM IS A BIG DEAL!
The ECS essentially governs how we eat, sleep, relax, what we remember or forget, how we feel, and experience pleasure and pain. Yes, it’s a pretty big deal!
When our ECS is functioning well, we feel balanced, energised, happy, and free from disease and pain. But when our ECS is not functioning optimally or experiences dysfunction such as endocannabinoid deficiency, whether from accidental damage, poor maintenance or natural aging, we are far more likely to feel out of balance and experience dis-ease.
HOW DOES CBD WORK WITH OUR ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM?
We know that cannabinoids can be produced naturally by the body and by plants. THC and CBD are the two main cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant that mimic the function of our own natural endocannabinoids, however, while THC binds directly to CB1 receptors creating a high, CBD interacts differently. Instead of binding directly to the cannabinoid receptors, CBD affects signaling indirectly and actually prevents other compounds from binding to CB1 and CB2 receptors. This explains how CBD diminishes some of the undesirable effects sometimes experienced with THC, such as anxiety.
Additionally, CBD influences the enzyme FAAH, by inhibiting the breakdown of Anandamide, allowing the natural ‘Bliss’ cannabinoid to stay in the body for longer, inducing the feelings of wellbeing.
Think of CBD as nature’s way of supporting our endocannabinoid system when it needs an extra boost to rebalance and feel good!
CBD interacts and influences the receptors within the endocannabinoid system and is currently being studied for many different therapeutic uses, with research revealing more each day about the incredible synergistic relationship between our ECS and whole-plant cannabinoids, such as those found in Full Spectrum CBD Oil.
THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM AND CBD – SUM UP
It’s clear to see we have an entire network of receptors that interact exclusively with cannabinoids such as cannabidiol and by understanding our relationship with the endocannabinoid system, we not only see how balance is essential for life but is also key to how we function, heal and thrive on a daily basis.
We hope we’ve helped answer some of your ‘Endocannabinoid System and CBD’ questions in this post, but please get in touch if you need further assistance with anything, we’ll be happy to help.
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