CBD and The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
For years CBD has been the go-to product for many people, but only now has it really come to light with the benefits now commonly being experienced by the multitude of all the CBD users and by the scientists researching this tremendous natural plant.
The Endocannabinoid System – An Overview
The Endocannabinoid System was discovered in 1992, at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, but is under examined, medically speaking, compared with the other systems of the body, such as the central nervous system or circulatory system. The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is far superior to all the other systems in the human body.
The Endocannabinoid System exists in all animals except insects, it is a transmitter and receptor of messages and signals in the human body, continuously running a series of checks and balances integral to homeostasis - balance of body and mind.
Endocannabinoids and their receptors are found all through the body: in the mind, organs, connective tissues, skin, and safe cells. With its perplexing activities in our invulnerable framework, sensory system, and practically the entirety of the body's organs, the Endocannabinoids are in a real sense a scaffold among body and psyche.
From your embryonic biological development to your day to day emotional responses, there is not a single function in your body that is not influenced by the ECS. It can be likened to antivirus software, monitoring every physiological process in the body – Acting and reacting to both internal and external stimuli and threats, to keep your health running at its optimal level.
This system is complex, but for simplicity, it can be broken into three key areas. Cannabinoids, Enzymes, and Receptors. A “lock and key” analogy is often used to describe how these elements fit together.
Cannabinoids can be considered the keys within the ECS – when the key fits a lock (the receptor), an effect or action in the body is released. There are two main types of Cannabinoids in our body, Anandamide, and 2-AG.
- 2-AG – The most widespread cannabinoid in your body, thought to be responsible for moderating our immune system, pain response and appetite.
- Anandamide – More in tune with our mental state of mind, Anandamide is responsible for what we call “The runners high” in exercise – It promotes the bliss that comes from many activities including exercise and meditation.
Maintaining a healthy level of cannabinoids is key. Lifestyle factors such as diet, stress, anxiety, depression, sleep and medical ailments and conditions can all have a negative impact on this system, which results in many of the symptoms people are seeking to improve. Poor sleep, migraines, chronic pain, to name but a few.
An enzyme is any ingredient that causes a chemical reaction to happen within our bodies. The Enzymes role in the Endocannabinoid System is both to make endocannabinoids available where needed, and to break them down when they have been used or are surplus. This real-time balancing act is key in allowing the body to achieve homeostasis.
Receptors receive messages from Cannabinoids and take appropriate action within the body. There are two main types, CB1 and CB2.
- CB1 Receptors – Stored in the brain and spinal cord, these receptors regulate memory, appetite and manage our pain response. For example, if your body needs more rest - they can make you feel tired. If your body needs more exercise, they can make you feel energised. These receptors respond well to CBD within the bloodstream.
- CB2 Receptors – Highly concentrated within the immune system, but also through many key areas such as our bones and vital organs. CB2 receptors are largely focussed on reducing inflammation. These receptors respond particularly well to topical CBD application for pain relief.
How does the Endocannabinoid System link with other systems in our body?
The ECS plays a role in all systems and functions within the human body, for example, the immune system.
The Immune System
The Immune System is a complex network designed to protect the body against infection. Your immune system records every germ it has ever defeated so it can detect and destroy it if it enters the body – Hence “building up immunity”. This system is critical to our overall health and wellbeing.
A healthy immune system needs a well-balanced endocannabinoid system to support it. The key role of the ECS in the immune system is maintaining homeostasis, thus ensuring the immune system is neither too active nor inactive – Both of which are negative to our overall health:
- Inactive Immune System – Our bodies are constantly in contact with bacteria and viruses, if you have an inactive immune system, your cells are unable to fight off these viruses and infections.
- Overactive Immune System – Your cells are attacking themselves, resulting in dangerous health conditions.
One of the key roles of the ECS in balancing the immune system is the healthy elimination of damaged cells, which can be supported by CBD. This is one of the primary functions of CBD within the Hemp Plant itself.
Other Purposes and Functions of The ECS
- Appetite and digestion
- Chronic pain
- Learning and memory
- Motor control
- Cardiovascular system function
- Muscle formation
- Bone remodeling and growth
- Liver function
- Reproductive system function
- Skin and nerve function
How does CBD impact the Endocannabinoid System?
We have established that the Endocannabinoid System is the system responsible for creating homeostasis in our bodies. It is this state of homeostasis that brings all the functional benefits to the other vital systems of our body.
Our aim as a CBD producer, is to support the Endocannabinoid System.
Apart from the natural cannabinoids that the body produces, there are no other known natural sources of cannabinoids, except those found in Hemp Plants and or Cannabis Plants - this is what makes these plants so important to our health.
These hemp cannabinoids can interact with our own Endocannabinoid System, allowing our system to utilise them where our bodies have been unable to effectively produce them itself - repairing and restoring our natural internal order.
There are numerous types of cannabinoids, CBD interacts most positively with our own system from a health and wellbeing perspective. Another cannabinoid, for example THC, also interacts with our system – which is what elicits the “high” associated with Cannabis. THC and CBD are simply not the same.
Every Endocannabinoid System is as unique as its host, and will have deficits and weaknesses in different parts, impacting different areas of our lives and the symptoms we experience. Therefore, CBD benefits are incredibly unique to the user.
We’d love to hear your experiences – Please share them with us here.