The Endocannabinoid System

When learning about CBD and how it works the Endocannabinoid System is bound to come up. This is because CBD works directly with this important system in the human body in order to provide potential key health benefits. Let’s take a look at why the Endocannabinoid System is essential to our body’s well-being and health.

Homeostasis and Why It’s Important

To understand the Endocannabinoid System, or ECS, you need to understand the concept of homeostasis. Homeostasis is defined in the dictionary as“The tendency toward a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, especially as maintained by physiological processes.”The human body has a lot going on at one time with the individual systems and organs doing their part to keep you alive and healthy - homeostasis describes your body’s ability to maintain a balance between all the working parts, and the Endocannabinoid System is the way in which its homeostasis is achieved.

Think about your body’s ability to regulate temperature: it’s important that it doesn’t run too hot or too cold, right? By the process of homeostasis provided by the ECS temperature is able to be regulated and maintained properly. The ECS helps maintain homeostasis in systems throughout the entire body in this way.

Discovery of the Endocannabinoid System

Discovery of the ECS wasn’t until 1992 when Dr. Lumir Hanus and Dr.William Devane discovered the endocannabinoid anandamide - this is probably why you’ve never heard of this vital system. They further went on to discover the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), the docosatetraenoul enthanolamide (DEA), the homo-gamma-lineleoul enthanolamide, the N-arachidonoyldopamin (NADA), and the noladin ether (2-AGE). The discovery of these chemical messengers paved the way to identifying the regulatory and signaling system that our body’s use called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS).

Each endocannabinoid plays a special role, effectively as messengers, in maintaining balance with the human body.

  • Anandamide (AEA) - This endocannabinoid is sometimes referred to as the “bliss molecule” and works directly with the brain to promote wellness with memory, movement control, higher thought process, happiness, and motivation, pain, appetite, and fertility.
  • 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) - This endocannabinoid appears to mainly work with the body’s nervous system. It is thought to contribute to euphoric feelings, such as “runners high”
  • Noladin Ether (2-AGE) - The 2-AGE is similar to the 2-AG, but different in that it’s thought to help control the expression of genes in cells.
  • N-Arachidonoyldopamin (NADA) is interesting in that it appears to work directly with our pain receptors by blocking them so the pain does not register at those locations. 

What Happens When the ECS Isn’t Working Properly?

Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD) is the name doctor’s have given the concept of when the body’s ECS no longer has homeostasis and is either overactive or underactive. CECD is thought to potentially cause a barrage of health problems and conditions, such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Inflammation
  • Chronic Pain
  • Arthritis
  • Depression

It is thought that CECD can occur when certain disorders, diets, and other lifestyle elements cause the body to move out of its state of homeostasis.

Cannabinoid Receptors

Every message needs a recipient - the ECS has two primary cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2.

  • CB1 - These receptors are located throughout the body, but primarily are located in the central nervous system. These receptors play roles in digestion, cardiovascular health, hormone production, pregnancy, mood, memory, pain reception, and motor function.
  • CB2 - These receptors are also located throughout the body, but are primarily found in the body’s immune system. They can help with inflammation and how the body responds with its immune system.

What Role Can CBD Play with the Endocannabinoid System and its Receptors?

It’s been found that CBD works directly with the endocannabinoid system and its receptors. While research is still in the beginning phases, it’s thought that CBD plays a role in receptor’s ability to bind to cannabinoids and can enhance the levels of endocannabinoids in the system. When the ECS is boosted it can help our body’s natural enzymes work more thoroughly; enzymes help ensure certain biochemical reactions are achieved in the body.

Essentially, CBD can act as a booster for the ECS. Results are pointing to CBD helping the ECS battle certain conditions, such as:

  • Chronic Pain
  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Acne
  • MS
  • Epilepsy
  • Cancer Treatment Symptoms
  • Cardiovascular Problems
  • Substance Abuse
  • Diabetes
  • Tumor Growth