Understanding the Endocannabinoid System
Cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD is currently taking the world by storm. It’s become a powerhouse holistic option both for those who feel limited by more traditional remedies and those who are looking to supplement with something extra.* If you ask many who have tried it, CBD has provided a quality of life perhaps once thought impossible.
The powerful benefits of CBD are documented and have helped in ways never thought possible.* Many users have said CBD regimens help with pain-relief, anxiety reduction, neurological disorders, cancer-treatment side-effects, and heart health.*
CBD is one of the compounds found in the Cannabis plant. However, CBD does not have the psychoactive properties of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active compound found in marijuana.
To understand how CBD might produce results, its useful to understand how it interacts with the body. This interaction happens in the Endocannabinoid System.
What is the Endocannabinoid System?
It’s helpful to know what the endocannabinoid system is and the important role it plays in the body. The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) was discovered in the 1990s and has since been proven crucial to understanding the body’s positive reaction to cannabis.
Broken down, Endocannabinoid is a derivation of “endogenous,” meaning naturally produced inside the body, and “cannabis.” Therefore, endocannabinoid refers to the cannabis-like substance naturally found in the body. It is present and working even if cannabis is not present.
How Does it Work?
The basic idea behind ECS is that it helps the body maintain homeostasis, meaning the body’s way of finding equilibrium for optimal health. There are proper functions that must be maintained, such as body temperature, heart rate, and others. This is where ECS begins to work.
The Endocannabinoid System is made up of three parts: endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes.
Experts have identified two endocannabinoids to date: anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG).
Next are the receptors. There are two main types: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are found in the central nervous system, while CB2 receptors are found in the immune system, with a significant presence in the spleen as well as the lungs, liver, bone and muscle.
Endocannabinoids can bind to either, producing the necessary effects determined by each location. The ECS also regulates these reactions from going too far, thus protecting homeostasis from overreactions as well.
The last piece is the function of the enzymes. Simply put, they are what’s responsible for breaking down endocannabinoids once they’ve carried out their function. The two main enzymes responsible for this are fatty acid amide hydrolase, which breaks down the AEA, and monoacylglycerol acid lipase, which breaks down 2-AG.
What does all of this mean?
Achieving proper internal balance in the body can mean good news for individuals struggling with diseases effecting the central and peripheral nervous systems, diseases such as fibromyalgia.
Even though research is still ongoing, more and more insight is showing that the Endocannabinoid System is crucial to the functions contributing to the idea of homeostasis.
Even though CBD’s wide-ranging effects are gaining daily momentum, one should consult a medical professional before starting any new therapy or treatment.*
*The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act required this notice.