Endocannabinoid System and CBD

The Relationship Between the Endocannabinoid System and CBD

When it comes to the relationship shared between your endocannabinoid system and CBD, experts aren’t entirely sure how the two interact. Most early research seems to indicate that it works by preventing endocannabinoids from being broken down, which allows them to have more of an effect on your body. 

To help you better understand what is known, we’ll cover everything we know about the role of the endocannabinoids system (ECS), CBD receptors, and more. 

What is an Endocannabinoid System?

Identified in the early 1990s by researchers exploring THC, the endocannabinoid system is a complex cell-signaling system that involves three core components: endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes. According to healthline, experts are still studying the ECS, but they have learned that it plays a role in regulating sleep, mood, appetite, memory, and reproduction & fertility. 

Functions of the Endocannabinoid System

Experts believe that maintaining homeostasis, the stability of your body’s internal environment, is the primary role of the ECS, but research is still being conducted on exactly how the system works and how it can potentially function. Some of its roles include the regulation of metabolism, chronic pain, mood, learning and memory, sleep, liver function, and more. 

CBD Receptors

What are Endocannabinoids?

Also referred to as endogenous cannabinoids, endocannabinoids are molecules made by your body. According to Healthline, when homeostasis is interrupted, the enzyme creates the endocannabinoid. This binding tells the connecting cell how to respond to the disturbance, and how to restore homeostasis.  So far, experts have been able to identify two of them: anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG). 

Their main task is to assist in keeping all internal functions running smoothly, and they are only produced by your body as needed. Once an endocannabinoid has done its job, it will be broken down again by enzymes. 

Do our Bodies Produce Cannabinoids?

Yes, endocannabinoids are cannabinoids that are naturally produced in the body by the brain. While there is still so much to learn about the endocannabinoid system, experts know that it plays a big part in keeping your internal environment running smoothly. As we learn more about the ECS, it could eventually lead to treating many different conditions.

What are Endocannabinoid Receptors?

Found throughout your body, there are two main endocannabinoid receptors: CB1 receptors,  which are usually found in the central nervous system and regulate anxiety, fear, appetite, and energy, and CB2 receptors, which are usually found in your peripheral nervous system. These help to regulate immune and inflammatory responses. Endocannabinoids bind to them in order to signal that the ECS needs to take action. 

What are Enzymes?

Responsible for breaking down endocannabinoids once they’ve carried out their function, there are two main enzymes: the fatty acid amide hydrolase, which breaks down AEA, and  monoacylglycerol acid lipase, which breaks down 2-AG. 

How Does this Relate to CBD?

While further studies are needed, current research suggests that CBD can help with pain, nausea, and more. According to endoca.com, your endocannabinoid system is also compatible with components of the cannabis plant. These are known as “phytocannabinoids” as opposed to “endocannabinoids.”

When it comes to comparing THC to CBD, THC mimics the effects of anandamide, entering straight into the same receptors. Experts aren’t completely sure how CBD interacts with the ECS, but they know that it doesn’t bind to CB1 or CB2 receptors the way that THC does. With anandamide, CBD gets in the way of the enzyme’s ability to break down anandamide after it has completed its job, so you may experience the desirable effects of it for a longer period of time. Current research suggests that CBD may help the endocannabinoid system to act as a neuroprotectant, regulate stress, mood, and more.

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