The Endocannabinoid System

The primary beneficial effects of CBD in the body is down to its interaction with the body’s Endocannabinoid System, ECS for short. The Endocannabinoid system is a biological system composed of a network of cannabinoid receptors and naturally occurring cannabinoids referred to as ‘endocannabinoids’. The system was only discovered in the early 90’s and therefore you will not have read about it in school biology books!
The ECS is found throughout the body and brain and is fundamental to human health through the regulation of other biological systems and maintaining homeostasis in the brain and body.

Homeostasis is an internal biological balance, or ‘equilibrium state’ that is essential for the body to respond effectively to internal and external challenges. If the ECS is not functioning normally or is ‘off balance’ it can contribute to internal chaos within the body, which can represent itself in many issues such as depression, anxiety, chronic pain, immune dysregulations, gut issues and many more.

The ECS is responsible for supporting important physical, mental and emotional functions such as digestion, pain, memory, mood, sleep, metabolism, immunity and inflammation responses. The endocannabinoids bind with the two main receptors (CB1 and CB2), alerting the system to send important messages to the brain and body, enabling it regulate and change the ways our cells work together. Both receptors have similar functionality but CB1 receptors are found mainly in the brain and central nervous system while CB2 receptors are located more widely across the body.

CBD’s interaction with the ECS

Unlike THC (the ‘high’ inducing cannabinoid) CBD does not bind directly with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, instead CBD stimulates the entire endocannabinoid system, harmonising and balancing its processes. It is thought CBD helps tweak or modulate the amount of endocannabinoids floating around the body. We also know it helps block the breakdown of the endocannabinoid ‘anandamide’ ensuring it can stay around longer to deliver homeostatic benefits.

CBD is a multi-tasking molecule

Research has shown that CBD has a diverse range of other effects on the body (separate from the ECS), which may explain why it is used to treat a myriad of health conditions. Studies have shown it activates serotonin receptors, binds with pain receptors, suppresses the function of other unwanted cells and receptors, and also acts as a powerful antioxidant. It is clear that CBD is no ordinary compound and may have a multitude of benefits for the body and mind. Further clinical trials are welcomed to provide evidenced based research on the power of what CBD can do.

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