Since the beginning of civilization, we continue to discover amazing things about the form and function of the human body. One such example is our understanding of the Endocannabinoid System which was one of the most unexpected and profound discoveries that occurred only decades ago. Often abbreviated as the ECS, the endocannabinoid system is a series of cell receptors matched up with specific molecules called “agonists.” The best way to envision this receptor-molecule partnership is that cell receptors are like ports. Each time a ship comes in and docks, the chemical molecules (agonist) are able to bind to that cell, and therefore all of the specific information and directions contained on that ship can be unloaded. Or, you can think of a key fitting perfectly and opening a lock.
Not familiar with what a cannabinoid is or how the ECS works? There is no need to fret. This guide will help you understand what the ECS is and how it works. For beginners, it’s important to understand the ECS consists of three main components:
- Cells that allow the receipt and transmission of endocannabinoid receptors
- Specific enzymes tasked with creating or eliminating cannabinoids (we’ll talk more about those)
- Endocannabinoids, which your body naturally produces and resemble cannabinoid compounds found in cannabis
Together, they foster communication within the body allowing your biological functions and responses to work optimally. There are two key cell cannabinoid receptors that make up our ECS, Cannabinoid Receptor 1 (CB1’s) and Cannabinoid Receptor 2 (CB2’s).
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is The Role Of Your ECS?
- 2 The Endocannabinoid System and Homeostasis
- 3 The Many Roles of The Endocannabinoid System
- 4 Examining Cannabinoid Receptors CB1 and CB2
- 5 What Is Endocannabinoid Deficiency?
- 6 The Endocannabinoid System and CBD
- 7 What Are The Benefits of CBD For The ECS?
- 8 Memory and The ECS: Cannabinoid Receptors In The Brain
- 9 Endocannabinoid Deficiency
- 10 Why Do We Have Cannabinoid Receptors and Endocannabinoids?
- 11 Cannabis and The Endocannabinoid System
- 12 History of The Endocannabinoid System
- 13 When Was The Endocannabinoid System Discovered?
- 14 Is CBD Effective As An Endocannabinoid System Booster?
- 15 Other Health Benefits of CBD
- 16 ECS Research Continues...
Our bodies ideally act in a state of proper function and balance called homeostasis. However, your system is constantly under siege, especially with the toxins, stressors, sedentary nature and inadequate diet of the modern human being. When that happens, or your body doesn’t naturally produce sufficient endocannabinoids or regulate them well enough, you become more prone to illness, disease, or general poor health. So, whenever that critical balance is compromised and homeostasis falters, our ECS kicks in, producing and releasing more naturally. They’re transmitted throughout the body, acting as endocannabinoid neurotransmitters that connect with those cannabinoid receptors that reside on the outer sphere of cells.
Once they “dock” with these cell receptors, the endocannabinoids share messages about the threat or change in conditions, allowing the cells to adapt and work towards homeostasis, or equilibrium, once again.
- Moderating and boosting cannabinoid receptors in the brain
- Influence over the immune system
- Regulation of glands and organs
- Enriching connective tissue
They also influence these day-to-day functions:
- Pleasure and reward centers in the brain
- Pain responses
- Energy levels
- Immune function
- Motor control
- Digestion, hunger, and appetite
- Reproduction and fertility
- Regulating body temperature
Remember how we talked about cell receptors as ships that need to dock to unload their messages? There are two main variations of cannabinoid receptors you’ll find in the ECS, CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors. We differentiate them because each reacts uniquely to cannabinoids. In fact, CB1 receptors are mostly found in our central nervous system. Therefore, they have a direct impact on specific bodily functions. Those include:
- Regulation of anxiety and stress
- Appetite and digestion
- Slowing growth of cancerous tumors
- Moderating and enhancing the immune system
Meanwhile, CB2 receptors are most prevalent in our immune system, spleen, gastrointestinal tract, and throughout our peripheral nervous system. Not only do they aid homeostasis and boost our immunity, but they allow us to combat inflammation and help repair tissue damage. It’s possible for cells to contain both CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors, each serving a different vital role for that cell’s health and function.
Scientists have given the label Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Syndrome (CECD) to the state when our ECS becomes compromised or weakened, as proper regulation and balance is disrupted. Since these molecules act as chemical messengers, instructing your body when to start, stop, and intensify its various processes, any deviation from homeostasis can manifest itself in a diverse array of maladies. Those can include irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, migraines, autoimmune deficiencies, and much more we’ve documented.
When Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD) occurs, a person’s body doesn’t naturally produce enough cannabinoids. Therefore, this individual lack sufficient chemical messengers to regulate their systems, including controlling the duration and intensity of many of our physiological processes in the brain reproductive organs, nervous system, and more.
Scientists believe that with Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD), a person’s body doesn’t naturally produce enough cannabinoids. Therefore, this individual lacks sufficient chemical messengers to regulate their systems, including controlling the duration and intensity of many of our physiological processes in the brain, reproductive organs, nervous system, and more.
According to comprehensive research, proper moderation of the ECS has been shown to have significant and tangible health benefits. Those could include the treatment of a host of conditions, diseases, and side effects, including:
- Chronic inflammation
- Seizures and convulsions
- Pain, including chronic pain
- Multiple sclerosis
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Bacterial and fungal infections
- Glaucoma and elevated eye pressure
- High blood sugar and diabetes
- Insomnia and sleep problems
- Huntington’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Other neurodegenerative diseases
- Loss of appetite
- Digestive disorders
- Anorexia and other eating disorders
Researchers in just the last decade have made a fascinating discovery – that the ECS plays a part in deleting certain memories. Evidence points to a correlation between stimulated cannabinoid receptors and the natural process of erasing old and/or traumatic memories. In fact, aiding the deletion of negative memories is important in treating patients with PTSD, those with chronic anxiety, other stress disorders, and even neuro-diseases that come with old age, like Parkinson’s and more.
We’ve covered the long list of the health benefits of naturally boosting your ECS, but I wanted to shine a brighter light on three conditions often caused by cannabinoid deficiency that are very common these days, and how cannabinoid intake through a product like CBD hemp oil can help.
- Effects of CBD on Appetite and Metabolism
Our ECS is unique in that it plays two critical roles: not only can it increase the appetite when needed, but also acts as an appetite suppressant to combat obesity. They help modulate our metabolism by regulating the flow of energy throughout our cells, so food intake is processed and used optimally.
- CBD and Anxiety
Elevated stress levels in our fast-paced world often lead to high anxiety or even chronic anxiety disorders in tens of millions of Americans. However, cannabinoids naturally regulate our glandular response to stress, helping to “shut off” our physical reaction to stress and triggers to anxiety.
- CBD and Neuroinflammation
Barraged by thousands of toxins every day in our environment, chemicals, the air we breathe, and our diet, our bodies often suffer from chronic inflammation which compromises our immune system and can cause a host of diseases, include cancers. But endocannabinoids boost our immune system, helping to reduce inflammation and improving overall wellness.
Our bodies produce these compounds in our ECS, an equivalent to the beneficial compounds found in Cannabis Oil like CBD or THC, except they’re anandamide and 2-AG when produced naturally.
Our bodies create these molecules with the help of fatty acids – especially Omega 3 fatty acids. In fact, recent scientific studies have discovered a link between diets low in Omega 3 fatty acids and mood changes, based on compromised ECS production and regulation.
You can eat salmon, sardines, or other fish to boost your body’s production of these essential compounds. But lucky for us, there’s another way to naturally improve production: certain hemp seeds and hemp oils.
It’s no coincidence your body’s endocannabinoid system is named what it is, as they are compounds that match up with certain cannabinoid receptors in your body. In fact, endocannabinoids were named after the cannabis plant, as “endo” means “within,” so the term refers to a cannabinoid that fits within a cannabinoid receptor.
THC, the active psychoactive compound in marijuana that makes you feel “high,” possesses a similar molecular “shape” as the ECS our bodies produce naturally. Due to this molecular near-mirror image, THC can effectively access our endocannabinoid system. Not only is this the same reason why THC has such profound psychoactive properties in humans, but it opens the possibility for enhancing the ECS system through cannabis-derived cannabinoids without THC, such as CBD oil that you’ll find for sale here at American Hemp Oil.
When we use CBD oil or other similar therapeutic products, these cannabis-derived cannabinoids act just like our natural compounds, interacting with endocannabinoid receptors on a cellular level and helping to regulate our systems, improving homeostasis.
Scientists and medical professionals were trying to isolate the components of cannabis as far back as 1895, when three researchers, T. Barlow Wood, W.T. Newton Spivey, and Thomas Hill Easterfield, identified a cannabinoid that was derived from cannabis, which was appropriately named “cannabinol” or CBN. Endocannabinoid System research continued for the next 70 years, even as cannabis and marijuana became vilified and deemed illegal in the 1930s, and more cannabinoids were discovered.
Researched were led down the path towards our modern understanding by investigating the characteristics of THC. In fact, THC was first identified by an Israeli scientist named Raphael Mechoulam in the 1960s. Thanks to his research into the psychoactive properties of this prominent chemical compound in marijuana, others were inspired to research if our bodies produced similar compounds.
Significant findings were escalating so fast that the National Academy of Science forecasted that the 1990s would be known as the “Decade of the Brain.” Their prediction turned out to be prescient, with the 1990s seeing some incredible breakthroughs, with “more advances in neuroscience than in all previous years combined” – including research into the endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system was first identified and accepted in scientific communities in the early 1970s when a researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health discovered a receptor in the brains of lab rats that were sensitive to THC.
It took more than twenty more years of ongoing research after that, but finally, the anandamide molecule was located in the mid-1990s. It was then that two major endocannabinoids were pinpointed and documented.
In their quest to properly name their endocannabinoid system discovery, they choose the Sanskrit word Ananda, which means bliss. So, by naming the newly mapped chemical “anandamide,” they were referring to it as a bliss molecule.
Unlike products that contain THC like medical marijuana, CBD is non-psychoactive.
THC from medical marijuana works by binding directly to CB1 and CB2 cell receptors, paralleling our own natural molecules. While THC is a partial agonist with CB2 cell receptors, it binds most adeptly with CB1 cell receptors, eliciting a profound physiological reaction that makes us feel “high.”
However, an important difference between THC and CBD is that the latter doesn’t mimic our natural endocannabinoids, but increases their output in our endocannabinoids system. It does this with the help of an enzyme called FAAH, which removes anandamides from our system by breaking them down. But CBD slows down the FAAH enzyme, preventing it from breaking down all of our anandamides at a high rate and keeping more available for use. By blocking these FAAH receptors, CBD acts as a mood enhancer but doesn’t trigger psychoactive responses.
When it comes to safety, not only is CBD non-psychoactive, but it doesn’t impact the regions of the brain that regulate function in the heart and lungs. For that reason, overdoses and fatalities don’t occur with cannabinoids.
Remember that CBD is just one of about 100 cannabinoids naturally present in cannabis. CBD doesn’t just positively affect your endocannabinoid system but also interacts with receptors in your system other than CB1 receptors and CBD2 receptors, including TRPV1, a vanilloid receptor that channels ions, and 5-HT1A receptors, which help boost serotonin, the “happy” chemical in the brain.
These Other Minor Cannabinoids in CBD Can Include:
- Essential vitamins
- Omega fatty acids
Studies reveal that these other lesser cannabinoids also work synergistically in your body, boosting the beneficial health effects. Thankfully, cannabidiol oil from American Hemp Oil is plentiful in CBD as well as these minor cannabinoids, all working together to improve your whole-body wellness and boost homeostasis.
We are truly entering a new golden era for CBD as a health supplement, as well as the ECS system. Only a few years ago, if you went down the list of ailments and diseases that hemp oil can treat, it seemed hard to believe. But now we understand how they are interrelated, thanks to the endocannabinoid system and how our bodies react to CBD and other cannabinoids.
Over just the last two decades, more than 20,000 scientific studies and research projects have investigated the beneficial role of the endocannabinoid system. More research is ongoing, so every year, we’re discovering more about the endocannabinoid system and potential for health benefits and improved homeostasis through natural supplements like CBD hemp oil.
Scientists already realize the incredible potential for treating chronic diseases, disorders, and health problems by modulating the human endocannabinoid system, naturally boosting our immune function and central nervous system.