The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is one of the most prevalent biological systems that is found in the bodies of humans, and all mammals. It is fundamental to how our bodies regulate and maintain some of our most critical bodily functions. Such as inflammatory and immune responses, sleep, learning, memory, pain, appetite, and emotional processing.
The endocannabinoid system is made up of three parts. Receptors, endocannabinoids, and enzymes, receptors that are found in almost every cell of the body. Endocannabinoids and cannabinoids bind to these receptors, which sets off a cascade of electrical signals down to your DNA that tells your body to respond to changes in physical and mental states. We naturally produce endocannabinoids in our body daily. They are known as anandamide and 2AG. Anandamide is known as the bliss molecule, and can be seen in effect naturally in what people call a “runners high”. Once a certain level of physical activity occurs, our body’s release anandamide and other hormones that promote a state of bliss. That is why the compound got the name anandamide. Ananda is the sanskrit word for “bliss”. Endocannabinoids are also abundantly found in mother’s milk. Makes you wonder why babies get so calm and relaxed after being fed, while boosting their immune system and regulating sleep patterns..
The goal of the endocannabinoid system is homeostasis. That means a balanced internal state at the cellular level. In layman’s terms, it means that the endocannabinoid system helps balance inflammation by sending signals to reduce inflammation. It sends signals to balance oxidation with antioxidation, it sends signals to balance the endocrine system, and so on. The endocannabinoid system truly is one of the most important systems for establishing and maintaining human health.
So where does CBD fit in? CBD is a cannabinoid. Cannabinoids are very similar to our endocannabinoids in molecular structure, and in turn bind to our body’s endocannabinoid receptors which activate our endocannabinoid system. The only difference is that cannabinoids are produced in plants, not in our bodies. In our case, all of our CBD comes from the hemp plant. Each cannabinoid has a different effect as it binds to our cannabinoid receptors. That is why different products make you feel different – more sleepy or alert, more relaxed or social, more energetic or happy- all depending on the balance of different cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.
There are two known types of endocannabinoid receptors, the CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are found all throughout the body, but with the highest concentration of them in our nervous system and brain. CB2 receptors are also found all around the body, but mostly in the immune system.
When you take a CBD product, your endocannabinoid system is activated and it sends signals to your cells with the purpose of bringing balance to your body on the systemic level. Through the activation of your endocannabinoid system, one may achieve levels of physical or emotional benefits. Physical benefits may include pain relief through inflammation reduction, along with promoting healthy sleep patterns. This in turn aids in supporting a normal, pain free state of health. Emotional benefits may include stress/anxiety reduction, relaxation, and bliss which help promote calm, balanced states of mind.
Please don’t just take our word for it. Research the endocannabinoid system on your own to see what others are saying about it. Make sure to check reliable sources that are peer reviewed, done by people that are credible and transparent. Look up Dr. Raphael Mecholuem, the godfather of cannabis research that aided in isolating cannabinoids and discovering the endocannabinoid system. Dr. Ethan Russo, Dr. Bob Melameade, Richard Rose, Jack Herrer. There is so much information out there to learn about the endocannabinoid system from credible resources.
One thing is for certain, is that we are just scratching the surface on our knowledge of the endocannabinoid system. Modern research is confirming what humans of the past had already intuitively known. Humans have been using cannabis and hemp plants for a millenia for good reason. All of these previous societies, tribes, and dynasties felt the benefits of feeding their endocannabinoid system with cannabinoids from these plants. They all knew it helped with a variety of ailments, illnesses, and pains. We are now discovering why.
Written by: Alberto Bercich
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.