The Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system (or ECS) is a biological system within the human body that involves communication between endocannabinoid neurotransmitters and cannabinoid receptors. The ECS is one way the body regulates itself using messages throughout and between the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. Simply put, your body uses the ECS to keep various internal functions running effectively and smoothly.
AEA & 2-AG Endocannabinoids
While more remains to be learned about how the ECS works each day, we do know of two different types of endocannabinoids that interact with two different cannabinoid receptors. Anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG) are both produced naturally by the body on an as-needed basis.
Cannabinoid Type 1 (CB1) receptors are more common in your central nervous system, while Cannabinoid Type 2 (CB2) receptors are more common in your peripheral nervous system. Both AEA and 2-AG can attach to either type of receptor and depending on the particular combination of cannabinoid type, type of receptor, and the location of the receptor, the effects on the ECS will be different. Some of these effects include pain relief or signaling your immune system.
Another important part of the ECS includes the enzymes that help to break down AEA and 2-AG, called fatty acid amide hydrolase and monoacylglycerol acid lipase, respectively. The breakdown of used or extra cannabinoids is important to control when and how much the body responds.
The ECS is a naturally occurring body regulation system that relates to how your body controls metabolism, mood, cognition, sleep, different organ systems, motor control, nerve function, and more. It is present in all mammals and when stimulated provides relief to a variety of illnesses and health conditions. The first endocannabinoid isolated in the human brain was named anandamide, which translates to joy or bliss in Sanskrit.
The Functions of the Endocannabinoid System
There remains a lot to learn about the ECS as it was only first discovered in the early 1900s. However, a good deal of research has been done and because of this research, we now understand more about what its functions are. The ECS is involved in maintaining homeostasis in your body. Homeostasis is a state of equilibrium or the tendency for a system to move toward a state of equilibrium.
For example, if you have a heating system in your house that is set to keep the air at 70 degrees when the temperature falls too low the heat will turn on to raise the temperature. However, the heat turns off once that temperature is reached in order to not become too hot, thus heating and cooling around the ideal point of 70 degrees. Your body has a number of similar systems that keep different functions right where they should be. If you experience a certain amount of pain, the ECS may kick in to alleviate some of that pain to try to return your body to that state of equilibrium.
A few of the processes that have been shown to be impacted by the ECS include:
- Immune system responses
- Motor control
- Muscle formation
- Cardiovascular system
The Relationship Between the Endocannabinoid System and Cannabis
Cannabis, sometimes known as hemp, is a type of flowering plant that comes in a number of different varieties. Hemp can be harvested into seeds, shatter, isolate, or flowers. The cannabis plant produces two naturally occurring cannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Depending on the variety of cannabis plant, the level and specific makeup of the THC or CBD present will vary. As naturally occurring cannabinoids, THC and CBD both can impact the ECS and very much differ in the resulting effects.
THC is the compound in the cannabis plant that gets you high. Capable of binding to both CB1 and CB2 receptors in the body, THC can have very strong and wide-ranging effects on the regulator powers of the ECS. These effects can be beneficial, like decreased nausea, but can also be not beneficial, like paranoia. Alternatively, CBD interacts with the ECS without the negative side effects associated with THC. It is not very well known exactly how CBD impacts the ECS, but two major theories exist.
Some believe that CBD stops the breakdown of naturally occurring endocannabinoids in your body, thus increasing the beneficial effects they produce. Others believe that the CBD binds to unoccupied CB1 and CB2 receptors and in that way creates the wanted results. No matter the mechanism behind CBD’s impact on the ECS, there is a growing list of benefits attributed to this relationship.
Getting the Benefits of CBD on the Endocannabinoid System
CBD can be used for the ECS through a number of different mediums and in a range of ways. Everyone has different preferences with how they harness the power of CBD and these might vary depending on why you are interested in the effects of CBD in the first place.
One method is through consumption. CBD can be eaten and metabolized by your body, thus making its way into the ECS. At Blue Forest Farms, we offer the delicious and convenient Gummie Bear snack available at our sister site bffhemp.com. Alternatively, you can purchase one of our tinctures to create your own foods or candies, or to add to tea, coffee, water, or any other favorite drink. Blue Forest Farms carries a natural drop as well as a lemon drop variety of CBD tincture. Growing in popularity are topical methods of using CBD. In addition to our tinctures, we have a body scrub and lotion, but you can also add any of our tinctures to your favorite body lotions or other toiletries. CBD does not carry any of the psychoactive effects that THC does, so you can use it more freely in a range of products to see the benefits.
The Importance of the Endocannabinoid System
The ECS and cannabinoids are important for your health and functioning. Furthermore, CBD can be used to increase the usefulness of this system, whether through increasing the number of cannabinoids available, attaching to receptors, slowing the breakdown of existing cannabinoids, or any other number of roles in the process.
It is common when using CBD for the first time to not experience immediate effects. This is because the body takes time to react to the additional compound. It may take a few uses for the body to respond properly. Keeping this in mind, the reviews and praises of CBD on various body functions and processes are undeniable. Cannabis is a beautiful and unique plant that comes in a number of shapes and sizes. The intricate and natural synergy of the cannabinoids found in CBD can have wonderful effects on how the human body functions.
Contact us to learn more about the possibilities.