What is the endocannabinoid system?
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a role in the body’s immune system and in the perception of pain. It is also involved in nearly every one of the body’s natural processes.
The endocannabinoid system has been recently recognized as an important modulatory system in the function of brain, endocrine, and immune tissues. It appears to play a very important regulatory role in the secretion of hormones related to reproductive functions and response to stress.
Having an efficient ECS is necessary for retaining health and may help prevent disease. A healthy ECS helps maintain homeostasis in the physiological processes of the body by activating immune cells, regulating immune responses, and producing anti-inflammatory agents throughout the entire body.
The ECS is fuelled by endocannabinoids, which activate the CB1 and CB2 receptors, including the two best-known endocannabinoids; Anandamide (AEA) and 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG).
The name “anandamide” comes from the Sanskrit word for “bliss”—it plays a role in how we experience pain, depression, appetite, memory, and fertility. Unfortunately, we tend to carry too much stress around with us and have too few cannabinoids to counterbalance this stress!
The HPA axis, a fundamental part of the body’s stress response, is the primary hormone regulatory system of the body; it is partially controlled by the endocannabinoid system. This system plays a large part of our neurodevelopment and neurogenesis. The endocannabinoid system is the underlying immune system and regulator of the body, yet it was only discovered in the 90s!
Therefore, it is surprising that many people do not intake enough cannabinoids to fuel their body’s ECS.
CBD naturally activates the cannabinoid receptors throughout the entire body.
CBD is a phytocannabinoid (a cannabinoid produced by the hemp plant), which can boost a deficient system by activating the cannabinoid receptors, which help replenish a system that lacks the necessary cannabinoids. This way, the endocannabinoid system can calm inflammation and regulate activity throughout the brain and body.
CBD will assist in modulating and regulating natural physiological reactions, delivering homeostasis and balance to mind and the body.
These cannabinoid receptors can be found in our adrenal glands, adipose tissue, heart, liver, lungs, prostate, uterus, ovaries, testes, thymus, tonsils, brain, bones, GI system, and within the immune cells of our central nervous system. Believe it or not, human beings have more cannabinoid receptors than any other class of receptors! These receptors determine the body’s response to pain sensation, inflammation, allergic responses, sleep cycles, and much more.
We have outlined here the CBD impact on the endocannabinoid system. In order to fully understand the rich spectrum of cannabidiol’s beneficial effects we will need to go beyond the endocannabinoid system and look at the effect of CBD on other systems, which we will explore in other articles on this website.