Balance is a wonderful thing. Whether it’s mental, physical, environmental or spiritual balance, everything works better when there is harmony.
With the rising popularity of CBD, science has recently uncovered a system within our bodies made up of a network of receptors, as well as the chemical compounds that interact with these receptors to support and regulate our internal equilibrium. This system is called the endocannabinoid system.
The main role of the endocannabinoid system is to promote homeostasis, which is the body’s ability to maintain balance and function properly.
What is the Endocannabinoid System?
The Endocannabinoid System (or ECS) is in a sense our body’s control panel. It is found in both humans and animals.
The endocannabinoid systems has only recently been discovered in the 1990’s and research is still evolving. What we know for sure is that the ECS is a major factor in regulating many functions of our body including:
- Pain sensitivity
- Inflammation response
- Sleep patterns
- Mood balance
- Memory retention
- Cognitive and motor functions
- … and more
“The discovery of the Endocannabinoid System is the single most important medical scientific discovery ever and will save more lives than the discovery and application of sterile surgical technique.”
- Dr. David Allen, Cardiovascular Surgeon.
The Endocannabinoid System is comprised of three parts:
- Cannabinoid receptors
- Enzymes that break down the cannabinoids
Cannabinoids are chemical compounds produced naturally inside our bodies. They are molecules similar to neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine.
These cannabinoids have a profound influence on the human body’s health and well being. The two best known cannabinoids produced in our bodies are Anadamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG).
Anandamide comes from the Sanskrit word ‘ananda,’ which means “bliss” or “joy.” This endocannabinoid is considered the body’s natural version of THC.
Have you ever experienced a “runner’s high” or a euphoric feeling after a vigorous workout? If so, this is due to elevated levels of anandamide, which can be stimulated by exercise.
Fun fact: Anandamide is also found in chocolate!
2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG)
2. Cannabinoid Receptors
Cannabinoid receptors act as a sort of sensing device, like thousands of tiny radar scanners dispersed throughout our bodies picking up biochemical cues. These receptors are activated by cannabinoids and influence many different biological functions, including:
- Inflammation response
- Neurological signaling
- Appetite stimulation/suppression
- Heart rate moderation
- Mood regulation
There are currently two known types of cannabinoid receptors… CB1 and CB2. Both types of receptors are very similar in structure, but have slight differences that cause a different array of responses in the human body.
Although both types of receptors are dispersed throughout the entire body, CB1 receptors are primarily found in the brain and central nervous system while CB2 receptors are found in the peripheral tissues, gastrointestinal system and the immune system.
Cannabinoids interact with our cannabinoid receptors in various ways. Some are agonists, which produce a biological response such as euphoria or hunger. Some cannabinoids act as antagonists, which block the response. Some cannabinoids can even bind to areas of the receptor and change its shape. These are called allosteric modulators.
3. ECS Enzymes
Specific enzymes are responsible for breaking down and recycling cannabinoids, and regulating the activity of the ECS. These important enzymes include Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase (FAAH) and Monoacylglycerol Lipase (MAGL). Without these enzymes, the ECS would not function properly.
Interestingly, there is a case of a Scottish woman with a genetic mutation in her FAAH gene which resulted in elevated anandamide levels. This caused her to be immune to anxiety, unable to experience fear and have no pain sensation.
Deficiencies in the Endocannabinoid System
The ECS is constantly battling external forces to maintain a stable internal environment. A well functioning ECS is essential for optimal health and well being.
If you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety and mood imbalances, chronic pain, inflammation, dysfunctional immune systems or a host of other health related issues, you may have an endocannabinoid deficiency that your ECS is not able to meet.
Many outside factors can cause a disruption in our ECS such as diet, stress, environmental pollutants, viruses and genetics. Whatever the cause, think of a computer virus that can wreak havoc on a device and cause a variety of glitches, or even complete shut-down of certain functions… there is definitely an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.
Deficiencies in the endocannabinoid system can greatly disrupt our body’s internal balance, or homeostasis, and lead to a variety of medical conditions such as:
- Mood swings
- Lack of focus
- Anxiety and depression
- Digestive issues
- Autoimmune deficiencies
- …and many more
Israeli scientist Ester Fride concluded that mice missing CB receptors resemble babies who suffer from “failure to thrive” syndrome. The mice lacking CB receptors didn’t suckle and died prematurely. This is a clear indication resulting from a dysfunctional endocannabinoid system.
University of Washington neurologist Ethan Russo concluded that “clinical endocannabinoid deficiency” (CED) is the underlying cause for migraines, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel disease, and many other degenerative and autoimmune conditions, which may respond favorably to cannabinoid therapies.
What are Phytocannabinoids?
The development of treatment options for ECS deficiencies are still in its infancy. What we do know is that for people who have a deficiency in their ECS, phytocannabinoid supplements may be essential to restore health and wellness. For people who are healthy, phytocannabinoid supplements may be a powerful preventative tool to help maintain balance and curb disease.
While our endocannabinoid system creates cannabinoids within our own body called endocannabinoids, plants also create cannabinoids called phytocannabinoids.
Endo = body
Phyto = plants
While phytocannabinoids are different than the endocannabinoids our ECS creates, they can still interact with our ECS receptors in the same way that endocannabinoids do.
In the end, both endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids interact in various ways with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in our endocannabinoid system. Some have a stronger binding affinity, causing a more heightened biological response, while others have a low binding affinity, causing a more subtle response. Some may even block the receptor altogether, hindering specific unwanted responses entirely.
CBD vs THC
Phytocannabinoids from the cannabis plant has become a major topic of research in recent decades due to the therapeutic effects they produce.
The two most studied cannabis derived cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
THC is the primary known for its psychoactive effects. This is due to CB1 activation and its ability to induce heightened anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol synthesis produced naturally in the body’s ECS.
CBD, on the other hand, is a non-psychoactive (non-intoxicating) cannabinoid and has been shown to possess incredible therapeutic properties for a number of symptoms and conditions.
Interestingly, cannabis is not the only plant that produces phytocannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids are also found in several other plant species including Echinacea, Kava, black truffle and several varieties of teas.
How Does CBD Work With the Endocannabinoid System?
Our bodies are a self-healing organism. We are brilliantly equipped with natural mechanisms that kill cancer cells, fight infectious diseases, repair broken bones and naturally fight the aging process. Cannabis is a unique herbal medicine that taps into how our bodies work naturally.
The hemp strain of cannabis contains high levels of CBD and low levels of THC, which makes hemp ideal for those seeking the therapeutic effects of cannabis, without the “high” associated with recreational marijuana. In fact, some studies have shown that CBD may even reduce or soften some of the psychoactive effects of THC.
Hemp derived CBD can interact with our ECS both directly and indirectly. It can act as an allosteric modulator, which alters the shape of endocannabinoid receptors to block a physiological response. CBD may also act as an agonist, as well as an antagonist which will either enhance or inhibit the binding action of certain receptors.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that CBD can even influence several non-endocannabinoid signaling systems as well. Some of these mechanisms include:
- Inhibition of adenosine uptake, possibly resulting in indirect agonist activity at adenosine receptors.
- Enhanced activity at the 5-HT1a receptor.
- Enhanced activity at glycine receptor subtypes.
- Blockade of the orphan G-protein-coupled receptor GPR55.
Because of CBD’s ability to both bind to CBD receptors and alter the shape of receptors, CBD has been implicated in the treatment of a multitude of different biological afflictions.
Some of the conditions currently being studied include:
- Chronic Pain
- Hormonal imbalance
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Substance Abuse Disorders
- Cardiovascular disease
As the research and popularity of medicinal cannabis and cannabinoids has increased in recent years, many professionals and advocacy groups are actively involved in spreading awareness. This has created even more research and interest in studying the ECS and cannabinoids, which has led to countless lives being changed!
How to Take CBD to Regulate Your Endocannabinoid System
There are many ways to take CBD such as tinctures, vaping, edibles and topicals. How you take CBD depends on your lifestyle, goals and personal preferences.
If you’re interested in trying Hemp CBD oil but not sure where to start… read our beginners guide to CBD.
If you’ve tried CBD products before but have experienced mixed results, you know how important it is to choose quality products and experiment with dosing to find the optimal supplement regimen for you.
Unfortunately, there are many low quality products flooding the market as CBD has become a “hot” new trend.
Tessera Naturals provides the highest grade whole plant hemp CBD products on the market and offers a variety of tinctures, capsules and topicals to help you in your quest for wellness and homeostasis.
- Made from 100% organically grown non-GMO hemp
- Made in the USA from farm to bottle
- Manufactured in a GMP certified FDA registered facility
- 3rd party tested for potency, quality and safety
- Free of heavy metals, harsh chemicals, solvents or pesticides
- Legal in all 50 states, 2014/2018 Farm Bill compliant
- 30 day 100% money back guarantee
- Free shipping in the US
Lastly, every product you buy from Tessera Naturals helps protect our planet through our partnership with 1% for the Planet!
Feel free to get in touch if you have additional questions about the endocannabinoid system or about our company or products!
- The main purpose of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is homeostasis.
- The ECS is made up of cannabinoids, receptors and enzymes that break down the cannabinoids.
- Symptoms of anxiety, pain, or other health related issues may indicate a deficiency in your ECS.
- Phytocannabinoids (cannabinoid from plants) can interact with our ECS system and restore balance and help with various medical conditions.
- CBD specifically interacts with our ECS in multiple ways to provide a whole host of health benefits.