The Amazing Endocannabinoid System

Apr 29th 2020

The active compounds in cannabis have an effect on our bodies. The compounds called cannabinoids. CBD, THC, CBN and many others all make up a group of cannabinoids that work within our endocannabinoid system to create a state of balance…or homeostasis as it is also called. CBD is just one compound that has been shown to have a positive effect on the body system, and the oil made from it has all the benefits but without the psychoactive effects of THC. We will look at how the body works within this system to create a harmonious balance.

What is the endocannabinoid system?

The endocannabinoid system is a group of cannabinoid receptors in our bodies that monitor and communicate with the central nervous system. This information is then relayed to the cells and surrounding infrastructure. This system is not exclusive to humans, animals have one as well.

The two main cannabinoid receptors are the CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are found in the brain and central nervous system, while the CB2 receptors are more abundant in the tissues, organs, and immune system. The cannabinoids produced by the body are called endocannabinoids, and work hand in hand with the cannabinoids found in CBD. They work in a similar fashion to hormones or neurotransmitters. They send signals to the brain and nervous system. These endocannabinoids are produced in response to a change in homeostasis, like stress or anxiety. These cannot be stored in the body and break down when no longer needed.

What do you mean by homeostasis?

Homeostasis refers to things such as water content, blood sugar level, blood pressure, body temperature, and a list of other things all being regulated by the body. When these things are all functioning and balanced it is what is known as homeostasis. Our body maintains homeostasis through our central nervous system, endocannabinoid system, and waste regulation system. Everything is working together. Think of it like a monitor attached to your body with a green light on each system that is currently on. If we’re too hot or too cold we could be sick. The body mechanisms require a careful balance to stay within the recommended parameters. In other words, everything needs to be “just right.”

How long have we had this endocannabinoid system?

The endocannabinoid system is another system in the body like the cardiovascular system, respiratory system, and excretory system. It is responsible for maintaining a balance within the body systems. Most people have never heard of it and don’t even know they have one. There is not a lot known about it and it was only discovered recently in the 1990s by scientists studying the effects of cannabis on the body. Allyn Howlett and William Devane discovered that there were cannabinoid receptors in the brain and other areas of the body. They created a map of these receptors and discovered how they link together. The cannabinoids found in CBD mimic the natural ones found in the endocannabinoid system and respond to changes in the environment of the body, like responding to a stressful event or situation. 

What does this system do

The endocannabinoid system or ECS is responsible for maintaining the body’s homeostasis. What does that mean exactly? Well, the ECS is adept at keeping us healthy by monitoring and responding to changes happening in the body. This system regulates stress, sleep, metabolism, mood, pain, and immune function. It keeps all of those things in balance to keep the body functioning at optimum health. If something is out of balance it could cause problems in multiple systems.

How Does CBD work with our ECS?

In a way, the cannabinoids in CBD work like our endocannabinoid system. The cannabis plant has over 100 cannabinoids that interact with our ECS. The two cannabinoids that most people recognize are CBD and THC. CBD works on the CB1 and CB2 receptors, while THC also binds with the CB1 receptors in the brain to produce a psychoactive effect, or a high feeling.

If something in our endocannabinoid system is off balance or lacking, supplementing with CBD can help by creating a calming, peaceful feeling that is especially helpful during times of stress. By providing the body with the cannabinoids needed to enable those functions, we are promoting better health and helping the body recover from stress and return to a balanced state of being. For example when you chew CBD gummies, you are taking CBD into your bloodstream where it engages with the ECS to promote balance and wellness of body and mind.

With the connection between our endocannabinoid system and CBD, we can see how beneficial and important it can be for our everyday lives. This system is vital for our survival and it is good to know that a product like CBD works so well with our body chemistry.

Now that you know about this system and what it does, you can see how well these two things work together in a synergistic collaboration. One helps the other to function to its best ability.