THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM & CBD
The endogenous cannabinoid system, also referred to as the endocannabinoid system or ECS, refers to a collection of cell receptors and corresponding molecules located throughout the body in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells. Though it performs different tasks in each part of the body, its goal is always to achieve homeostasis, or optimal balance within the body. The ECS is a biological system found in all mammals, composed of endocannabinoids and cannabinoid receptor sites located primarily in the brain and central nervous system (CB1 receptors) and immune system (CB2 receptors).
The body produces some of its own cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) that modulate these biological processes throughout the entire body, but we get most of them from food, especially omega 3 fatty acids. They regulate neurotransmission and allow for feedback loops. Anandamide and 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) are our two primary endocannabinoids. Because of its ability to maintain homeostasis within the body, the ECS is perhaps the most important physiologic system involved in establishing and maintaining human health.
Phytocannabinoids are plant compounds, primarily extracted from cannabis, that mimic the characteristics of endocannabinoids. THC and CBD are the two primary phytocannabinoids that mimic the endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-AG. Both endocannabinoid and phytocannabinoids bind to cannabinoid receptors that exist throughout the mammalian body.
Not only does the endocannabinoid system help regulate systems within the body, it helps us regulate our patterns externally as well, including how we consciously interact with our community and environment. By mediating the growth of new brain cells and forming new connections between brain cells, cannabinoids may directly influence a person’s open-mindedness and ability to move beyond limiting patterns of thought and behavior from past situations. Reformatting these old patterns is an essential part of health in our quickly changing environment.
CBD and THC both interact with the body through the endocannabinoid system. Their chemical makeup is similar to the body’s own endocannabinoids, so they can interact with cannabinoid receptors to alter the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. Plant-based cannabinoids such as CBD, are a natural way to balance chemical deficiencies without a THC-induced high, thus restoring the system back to a state of health and homeostasis.