CBD is the latest natural supplement to sweep the nation. As the list of associated benefits grows, it becomes ever more difficult to not have at least heard this new buzzword. So you know what this three-letter acronym stands for, but how does CBD work? There is a lot going on once CBD enters your system, but the key to it all is the endocannabinoid system.
What is the Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system, the largest neuroregulatory system in our body, plays a vital role in regulating our immune system and all 11 organ systems. Additionally, it orchestrates the intricate network of neurotransmitters responsible for transmitting messages that dictate the actions or inactions of our body. Embracing its influence, the endocannabinoid system governs the intricate balance of physiological responses within us. Every system within our body contributes substantially, and the master regulatory system is no exception. Its vital role is intertwined with the harmonious functioning of our entire being.
The endocannabinoid system, or ECS for short, is responsible for maintaining homeostasis throughout the body. The ECS is found both in people and in other animals as well.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is an evolutionary balancing system of our biochemistry. The ECS is the master regulatory system that autoregulates all our 11 organ systems, immune systems and other neurotransmitter signaling systems (feedback systems) to keep our bodies in homeostasis or balance. Homeostasis means internal balance when conditions change externally. The physiological systems in our ‘smart body’ depend on the Endocannabinoid System to make constant adjustments to influence our sensory awareness, pain perception, appetite, digestion, mood, memory, and motor function, inflammation, immune function and tumor surveillance, fertility, reproduction, temperature, hormonal balance, bone formation, eye pressure, stress adaptation, sleep, endocrine function, neural development, and neuroprotection.
The 11 organ systems have direct roles in keeping our bodies in balance, however the ECS fine tunes and regulates the signals between cells and synapses to ensure proper communication to keep your body working optimally like a switchboard operator. Research into cannabis showed us that we have an endocannabinoid system, not because of the cannabis plant, but because we make molecules in our body very similar to the plant. We make internal endogenous cannabinoids, AEA and 2AG, while the cannabis plant makes phytocannabinoids such as THC and CBD.
The ECS has two types of receptors that receive cannabinoids both produced by the body and ingested from an outside source. The two receptors are called the CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are most prominent in the brain and nervous system while CB2 receptors tend to be found in the immune and gastrointestinal systems. Homeostasis is an optimized stable equilibrium that keeps all aspects of the body in balance. Homeostasis sums up an assortment of complex processes that coordinate everything from immune responses when you get sick to how you feel on a day-to-day basis. When the body is out of balance, or not being properly regulated by homeostasis, wacky things happen. Stress becomes chronic anxiety, sickness becomes a disease, temporary pains become years of suffering, all of these afflictions become serious issues when the body is out of balance. The endocannabinoid system regulates this balance and helps the body fight off diseases, detoxify, relieve stress, and if properly nourished can help prevent all of these things from happening at all. The endocannabinoids interact with receptors throughout the endocannabinoid system working to boost a healthy response to inflammation, stress, disease, and a host of other ailments.
What is CBD?
CBD is a cannabinoid that interacts with the Endocannabinoid System. CBD interacts with over 70 targets in the body directing traffic to influence cell signaling for homeostasis among all systems in our bodies.
Cannabinoids come in 3 types:
- Endocannabinoids – Internally we make cannabinoids, Anandamide (AEA) & 2AG)
- Phytocannabinoids – Externally the cannabis and hemp plant makes (THC & CBD, CBG, CBN, THCV, CBDA, CBGA)
- Synthetic Cannabinoids – Pharmaceutical company makes (Marinol, Epidiolex)
THC and CBD are plant phytocannabinoids that mimic our own endocannabinoids to activate the ECS throughout the body. Cannabinoids activate receptors on cell membranes to restore balance at the cellular level and allow healing downstream. Phytocannabinoids are about 10 times stronger than our own endocannabinoids, and last for several hours as opposed to the microseconds of life of Anandamide (AEA) and 2-AG.
What does it mean?
Neurotransmitters affect everything from our mood to our health and everything in between. From the love you feel for a family member to the hunger nagging at you before lunch – neurotransmitters run it all. The endocannabinoid system is another complex system of the body that regulates a large number of neurotransmitters all with their own responsibilities. CBD encourages the body’s naturally occurring cannabinoids to communicate with the ECS and optimally regulate health and function. Specifically, CBD is linked to the release of various endocannabinoids which influence neurotransmitters such as 5HT1A to regulate serotonin production and reuptake more effectively. As a result, one might experience and enhanced mood and better sleep. This is just a specific example to help make all this science lingo a little more clear. If you want to learn more about the endocannabinoid system check out our blog post with a full breakdown of the ECS. You also might be curious about the whole 5HT1-A thing and how it affects mood – make sure you check out our anxiety series to learn more about neurotransmitters. Hopefully, we’ve cleared things up and made how CBD works more straightforward and easier to understand. If still are struggling to grasp how exactly CBD works don’t hesitate to contact us. Either via the contact us tab or through social media reach out and let us help you better understand how CBD works.