CBD and the Endocannabinoid System
There’s plenty of myths circling around currently surrounding the nature of CBD and what it does to the body. Some say it gets you high, others say it merely numbs the senses, and those are just the beginning of these harmful and baseless rumors. Many people truly don’t believe that CBD has any effect on the body at all. However, CBD within the body has studied interactions that have been documented as early as the 70s. Indeed, the study of the human brain, mainly what causes certain hormone releases and interactions, served to uncover the existence of the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is a body function in all mammals that has been largely kept under wraps and out of the public eye and science journals everywhere for the past 40 plus years. So, just what is the endocannabinoid system and how does it affect your day-to-day life? Let’s take a look.
What is the Endocannabinoid System?
Luckily, within the past couple of years, there’s been a notable rise in studies surrounding the endocannabinoid system and how its regulatory functions throughout the body. Specifically, these target the effects it has on the brain as well as body tissues, such as muscles, joints, and nerves. These studies have been most promising as they’ve managed to highlight the potential therapeutic promise in manipulating the endocannabinoid’s system for the sake of potentially aiding the healing process for a variety of different diseases and ailments. This is due to how the endocannabinoid system functions and how it interacts with the rest of the body.
Essentially, the endocannabinoid system is a collection of receptors and enzymes that process the proteins the receptors interact with. It’s a system that interacts largely with endocannabinoids, a series of chemicals your body makes of its own accord that interact with the system and create feelings of elation, feelings of relaxation and other responses in the body. These receptors and enzymes are found throughout the whole body. You’ll be able to find them in the brain, organs, glands, immune system, connective tissues and other areas as well.
Homeostasis In The Body
Though researchers are busy exploring the true possibilities of the endocannabinoid system, we do know some things. Mainly, we understand that imbalances in the endocannabinoid system causes issues with crucial functions of the body like appetite, memory, mood, sleep, and fertility. The endocannabinoid system, or the ECS, relies on chemicals produced by the body to help maintain these processes and, therefore, the homeostasis of the body. How it accomplishes this interaction is fascinating.
The Endocannabinoid’s Receptors
The most well-known endocannabinoid system receptors go by the names CB1 and CB2. They interact with the body and its tissues in an entirely different way from each other, but generally operate the same. When proteins are caught and metabolised by the system, it creates feelings of bliss throughout the body. Generally, the two most common chemicals that your body creates and your endocannabinoid system metabolisms go by the names “anandamide and AG-2.” They create different types of responses throughout the body, but generally serve the same purpose. For example, AG-2 is the chemical responsible for the sleepy, content feeling that a body experiences after orgasm. It’s counterpart, anandamide, is responsible for feelings of rightness in the world and relaxation; it’s the same chemical that creates the feeling of the runner’s high.
As you likely already know if you’ve felt either of these sudden surges of bliss, it disappears quickly. That’s because these chemicals are easily metabolised by the enzymes that work within the endocannabinoid system. This keeps your body from being interfered with for too long after one of those blissful moments. However, through the usage of cannabinoids from outside sources, you can high-jack the system and use it to manipulate how long your body is able to relax.
Phytocannabinoids In The Body
The enzymes in the endocannabinoid system that burn through those feel good chemicals fast don’t react in quite the same way when they’re encountering phytocannabinoids. As a general rule, the body usually doesn’t react to outside stimulants in the same way it does to similar interior stimulants. Caffeine is a great example of a stimulant that produces far more obvious effects than the body’s own natural energy boost creation might. In this way, phytocannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system similarly. Chemicals that would usually be metabolised rather quickly won’t react the same when they're from an outside source and therefore the effects of this chemical on the body is usually drawn out and provides a much more noticeable change in the body.
THC & CBD In The Endocannabinoid System
The two main phytocannabinoids you can ingest in considerable quantities are CBD and THC. They interact with the endocannabinoid to, at the surface level, create feelings of bliss and relaxation. However, the two different receptors within the system interact with the phytocannabinoids separately. CB1 receptors, often found in the brain and nervous system interact with THC. While CB2 receptors, often found in the other body tissues, react with CBD. They cannot interact with opposite receptors because of the way these connections are made on a molecular level. This interaction boils down to how, specifically, CBD interacts with the body and the CB2 receptor.
Receptor ReactionsRegardless of the system being interacted with, whether it’s the nervous system or endocannabinoid system, receptors all interact with chemicals in three ways, depending on what the chemical is. A receptor is essentially the joint between two nerve cells, and it creates an opening where chemicals can attach to and interact with the cells. A chemical that connects to a receptor in this way is called an “agonist.” Most agonist cells are accompanied by an “antagonist cell.” The agonist cell serves to inflame the nerves, while its partner then serves to muffle that effect. When both attach at the same time, it ensures that the cells aren’t over stimulated, but still react to the interaction and connection.
Why CBD Is Different
While the above listed interaction is the most common, there’s another type of interaction with receptors called “allosteric modulation.” This reaction is when a chemical essentially infiltrates the receptor and entirely changes how it reacts to stimulants of any kind. Positive modulation causes the receptor to become more attuned to and react more drastically when it comes across those chemicals, while a negative modulation works to make the receptor less effective at picking up on those chemical compounds and reactions they cause.
CBD is considered a negative modulator. Thus, when a CB2 receptor connects with a CBD molecule, the CBD modulates the receptor and limits its ability to cause unnecessary inflammation and the anxiety-like feelings it can often produce when over-stimulated. Over time and diligent usage, CBD can eventually muffle the body’s unnecessary and quick reactions to certain stimulants that cause unwanted reactions, like anxiety issues.
Start Benefiting From Natural Modifications To Your Body
CBD, as you know, is an entirely natural way to approach altering your body’s response to stimuli. If you find that certain stimuli cause negative reactions in your body that you don’t like feeling, like anxiety or sleep deprivation when stressed, you can start to alter how your body reacts to that stimuli and, thus, relieve those symptoms.
We’re just getting to know the endocannabinoid system. But it’s not too early to start altering yours to better suit your lifestyle. Start your CBD regimen by investing in high-quality, lab-tested, and organic CBD. Shop our selection now.