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Quick Intro to the Endocannabinoid System

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The Endocannabinoid System - and How CBD Supports it

Going to school you probably learned the major health systems - skeletal, muscular, nervous, endocrine lymphatic, digestive system, circulatory, respiratory, urinary, reproductive, and integumentary (are we bringing up flash card nightmares for you yet?)

There’s one that your science teachers may have left out, and that’s the Endocannabinoid System. We’d be willing to guess unless you’re an avid cannabis user or in the cannabis industry, you probably don’t know much about it - even though it has been described as the most important physiologic system involved in establishing and maintaining human health.


This powerhouse system was discovered in the 90’s when scientists were trying to figure out how THC (the primary psychoactive component of cannabis) impacted the human body.  What they discovered was a complex network of cannabinoid receptors (CBr) expressed in cells of both the central and peripheral nervous system. The body contains two types of naturally-occurring cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2.  CB1 receptors are located in the brain and throughout the body, while CB2 receptors are found mostly in the immune and gastrointestinal system. Endocannabinoid receptors are the most abundant neuromodulatory receptors in the body.

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Discovering this system prompted the next question: if there are receptors for these chemicals, then shouldn’t our bodies must also produce chemicals that bond with them? In fact, our bodies naturally produce chemicals like Anandamide. These receptors also bind with chemicals found in cannabis called phytocannabinoids.


Why does that matter?


Chemicals like Anandamide and cannabinoids from cannabis bind to the endocannabinoid receptors found in the body OR enhance the endocannabinoids already present in the body which can lead to therapeutic effects. This is because the Endocannabinoid System is one of the systems that is responsible for creating homeostasis or balance in the body. When the system is working well - homeostasis is more easily achieved leading to a happy, healthier you!

Scientists claim that the Endocannabinoid System helps regulate important functions like:

  • Appetite
  • Digestion
  • Immune function, inflammation, including neuroinflammation
  • Mood
  • Sleep
  • Reproduction/fertility
  • Motor control
  • Temperature regulation
  • Memory
  • Pain
  • Pleasure/reward

It makes sense, then, that increasing the chemicals in our body that bind to cannabinoid receptors (remember, phytocannabinoids and anandamide) helps to stimulate the Endocannabinoid System. That stimulation makes it easier for our bodies to regulate and establish homeostasis more effectively when it is out of whack.


Similarly, scientists also think because the Endocannabinoid System helps to create balance in the body, it may play a role in some diseases like IBS and depression.


How can CBD products help?

As mentioned, like all Cannabis products, CBD contains chemicals that support the Endocannabinoid System. What’s particularly great about CBD though, is that it does not contain THC, which creates the “high” many people experience when consuming other cannabis products. This makes it great for your Endocannabinoid System without having adverse effects on your cognition.

CBD is a chemical that does not fit exactly into either CB1 or CB2 receptors. Instead, it stimulates both receptors and causes a reaction without binding directly, creating changes in cells that contain them.  CBD also inhibits the enzyme FAAH which prevents and slows down the breakdown of anandamide (which, as you remember is a crucial cannabinoid in the body).

The science behind why our products work is so important to us. If you have any other questions as always - shoot us an email.