Before we can take a look at how CBD and the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) work together, we must first understand the ECS.
The human body has an endocannabinoid system, just like it has an endocrine system and a number of other systems that work together to function. The ECS is what makes it possible for CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids in the marijuana and hemp plants - there are hundreds - to work on the body.
In 1988, researchers found the first cannabinoid receptor in the brain of a rat. They found that the receptors interacted exclusively with receptors found in the cannabis compound, THC. That’s the cannabinoid everyone’s most familiar with because it is the compound responsible for the stoned feeling associated with marijuana consumption.
The researchers discovered that the receptors were concentrated in areas of the brain that plays a role in a number of physiological and mental processes, including emotion, motor coordination, high cognition, and memory.
In 1993, another cannabinoid receptor was discovered. It was found distributed throughout the immune system and peripheral body tissues. It displayed the same reaction to THC as the first receptor.
In 1995, the two receptors, that had been named CB1 and CB2, were found not only in rats, but in humans, and thousands of other species.
As technology advanced, researchers further explored the relationship between cannabinoid receptors in the body, known as endocannabinoids, and the cannabinoid receptors in cannabis compounds such as CBD oil and THC - known as phytocannabinoids.
What is the Purpose of Endocannabinoids?
The endocannabinoid system was discovered in the late 1990s, and since then, researchers have learned a great deal about the relationship between phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids.
Because we know endocannabinoids are present throughout the body in numerous functions, researchers believe they may help maintain these functions.
Imagine for a moment the body is a machine, where each system works together to keep the machine moving and working. The immune system, for instance, would be the filtration system. The brain would be the motherboard, and the endocannabinoids help to maintain the systems.
CB1 receptors are concentrated in the brain and central nervous system. Your central nervous system is responsible for maintaining all the core functions such as pain perception, stress response, motor activity, and memory.
CB receptors are located in many of the peripheral organs in the body, suggesting they are core components of the cardiovascular system, the immune system, and the muscular system.
Why Phytocannabinoids Matter
Machines, whether due to natural aging, poor maintenance, or damage, may malfunction. And like those machines, our body’s systems and parts can break down and malfunction, causing issues within the entire body and any number of health conditions.
Endocannabinoids help maintains your body’s health, but if the level of endocannabinoids in the body declines, in theory, they’d only be able to maintain the body’s current state of health. As such, there likely wouldn’t be enough to stop it from declining any further. Over time, the health level decreases gradually, and in the process, creates bigger health problems.
That’s where phytocannabinoids, such as CBD come into play.
How CBD Works in the Body
Research has taught us that when CBD bonds with either the CB1 or CB2 receptors in the body, it either alters or improves that receptor’s capabilities, which improves that receptor’s functionality.
If the body is suffering a cannabinoid deficiency, adding them to your body, for example, by using CBD gummies for stress, helps to equalize the deficiency. Right now, studies point to the theory that cannabinoids are a finite resource. The deficiency of cannabinoids may cause a number of health issues, including irritability and headaches.
Essentially, using CBD enables us to boost our ECS. Because it bonds with our CB1 and CBD2 receptors, CBD helps the body maintain vital health functions and helps restore balance, also known as homeostasis, within the body. This is the reason it has so many health benefits.
When you really think about it, the majority of health problems can be traced back to an imbalance somewhere in the body.
In a healthy body, all is as it should be, and the body is balanced. In an unhealthy body, however, there is either too much or too little of something (or multiple somethings). This creates a disruption in homeostasis and presents a variety of symptoms, which vary depending on the nature of the imbalance.
Think about the various health conditions that are a result of imbalance, and how CBD can help improve these conditions by restoring balance:
- Inflammation: This is often characterized by a part of your body swelling, and sometimes becoming hot. It can be incredibly painful, and range from mild, to severe enough to incapacitate someone. Inflammation in the body is linked to autoimmune disorders, arthritis, and bacterial infections. CBD can be helpful to treat inflammation because it suppresses the inflammatory pathways and responses, stimulates regulatory cell production, and manages our pain perception.
- Seizures: Seizures are the result of erratic electrical impulses in the brain, which causes violent shaking in the body. In patients suffering from two severe forms of epilepsy known as Lennox Gaustat Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome, CBD reduces the number of seizures because it slows down the excitatory nerve activity and subdues the brain’s reaction to the intense signals that cause the overload.
- Anxiety and stress: Most people experience stress and anxiety as a response to situations that are perceived as unwanted, dangerous, or risky. Hormonal imbalance or excessive messages in the brain boosts cortisol levels and causes you to feel stress. CBD combats this by regulating how your brain responds to stress signals and maintaining normal cortisol levels.
These, of course, are only a few examples of the studies supporting CBD as an effective treatment.
There are hundreds of other studies supporting its use to treat a wide number of other conditions, such as addiction, acne, depression, schizophrenia and more. It’s all because of our ECS, and the fact that our bodies contain parts linked directly to the cannabis plant is pretty amazing.