What do CBD and your endocannabinoid system have in common?
A lot, as it turns out. Until recently you probably never used words like endocannabinoid, cannabinoid, phytocannabinoid, or homeostasis in casual conversation.
All of that is changing, especially with the rise in popularity of CBD (cannabidiol) and the discovery of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). In short, cannabinoids like CBD can help support your ECS.
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
In school, you learned about eleven systems that work together to maintain your body. Did you know there is a twelfth system? Research being done to understand how cannabis (THC) affects our bodies led to finding and naming the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The discovery of cannabinoid receptors in the human body prompted scientists to look for naturally occuring cannabinoid-like chemicals or endocannabinoids. Cannabinoid receptors (CBr), along with endocannabinoids and enzymes, form the endocannabinoid system (ECS), our body’s primary regulatory system.
The ECS is not an isolated system like the digestive or respiratory system. Instead, it is spread out throughout our body on nearly every organ. Responsible for homeostasis or keeping our body functions in balance, it affects everything from sleep, appetite, pain, inflammation, memory, mood, and reproduction.
Definition of homeostasis
The first cannabinoid receptor, CB-1, was found in 1988. At that time scientists observed that THC (a cannabinoid in marijuana) fit receptors in the brain and central nervous system.
They speculated that there was a reason for these receptors; that our bodies must produce similar chemicals. With further research, scientists discovered a remarkably complex network of cannabinoid receptors (CBr). These are expressed in cells of both the central and peripheral nervous system.
A second receptor, CB-2, was found in 1993 and there is evidence that there may be at least one more.
CBr are present throughout the body, embedded in cell membranes. Many tissues contain both CB1 and CB2 receptors, each linked to different actions.
Found in vital and reproductive organs, connective tissues, various glands, gastrointestinal and urinary tract, and white blood cells, CB1 is most abundant in the nervous system (brain and spinal cord). CB2 is found predominantly in the immune system, the gastrointestinal tract, and also the tonsils and thymus gland.
When the body senses a need for homeostasis or equilibrium, it produces both receptors and endocannabinoids.
Endocannabinoids are the human body’s version of cannabinoids. They work as neurotransmitters or chemical messengers to deliver information from one cell to the next. It is what our body makes naturally to stimulate cannabinoid receptors.
The first endocannabinoid, anandamide (AEA), was discovered in 1992 by Israel scientist, Dr. Raphael Mecholam. He is the same scientist, who in 1964, isolated and identified THC, a cannabinoid found in marijuana.
Anandamide has a chemical structure similar to THC. This endogenous cannabinoid is shown to inhibit breast cancer cell proliferation and has a calming effect, but it doesn’t get you high like THC. Another endocannabinoid, identified in 1995, is 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). It attaches to both CB1 and CB2 receptors.
2-ARACHIDONOYL GLYCEROL (2-AG)
In addition to cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids, the ECS includes enzymes. Enzymes help break down endocannabinoids (endocannabinoid metabolism), preventing them from going too far and causing imbalances in the body.
First described by Dr. Ethan Russo, clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD) is a health condition in which the body produces inadequate quantities of endocannabinoids or cannabinoid receptors. A possible cause of this imbalance may be that the body produces too many enzymes. Associated with CECD, it is unclear if this is the primary cause of migraine, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Two of the most well-studied enzymes are fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL). FAAH breaks down anandamide and MAGL degrades 2-AG. In short, these two enzymes have entirely different roles within the endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system is involved in multiple physiologic processes. As mentioned earlier, receptors, endocannabinoids, and enzymes all work together to promote homeostasis. Plant substances, phytocannabinoids, can also stimulate or interact with your ECS.
To date, there have been over 100 cannabinoids discovered in cannabis. The two most well known are THC and CBD. Early research indicates that cannabinoids like CBD hold a lot of potential for treating a wide range of ailments. CBD is already in use for pediatric epilepsy, pain, inflammation, acne, asthma, and a host of other conditions.
Found to influence the endocannabinoid system, CBD is best known for inhibiting the enzyme FAAH, leading to an increase in the amount of anandamide in the brain. This increase in AEA has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders. Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive and has very little binding affinity with the endocannabinoid receptors.
Other natural plant compounds, particularly terpenoids, have actions that are complementary to phytocannabinoids. Working together in what is known as the entourage effect, these compounds help alleviate pain and inflammation, relieve anxiety, improve sleep quality, and more.
Definition of cannabinoid
Definition of phytocannabinoid
Full Spectrum CBD
While there is still more research to be done, it is clear that CBD containing a wide range of plant compounds can benefit your endocannabinoid system.
Important cannabis testing found that full spectrum CBD (whole plant extract) proved far more effective in alleviating pain and inflammation, and provided faster relief that lasted longer. Additionally, testing showed that it continued to provide relief for inflammation as the dose increased.
Adding a full spectrum CBD oil to your daily wellness regimen can help maximize your health and help keep your endocannabinoid system in balance. C4Life’s PURE CERTIFIED™ CBD oil tinctures are a safe and effective way to receive all the benefits of full spectrum CBD without added flavors and artificial ingredients.