What is the endocannabinoid system?
If you have ever taken an anatomy and physiology class, you would be taught about biological systems and bodily functions which are very complex, but also incredibly useful.
Unfortunately, there is a very vital and significant biological system in the body that virtually never comes up in lectures. This is the endocannabinoid system, or ECS.
The ECS is an integral part of our central nervous system but is often misunderstood. Knowing the basics of the endocannabinoid system will help you understand why hemp-derived CBD is essential for this particular biological system, and how that translates to our overall health and well-being.
Discovery of the endocannabinoid system
The endocannabinoid system was discovered during the early 1990s and helps regulate a variety of physiological and cognitive processes. Scientists learned about the endocannabinoid system while researching the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the most famous chemical compound in cannabis which is known for its psychoactive effects.
The discovery of the endocannabinoid system showed a remarkable array of biological functions, affecting diverse physiological and cognitive processes such as appetite, pain management, anxiety, mood, inflammation, memory, and fertility, among others.
This system housed a complex network of receptors in the brain and throughout the body that work within the endocannbinoid system itself as well as in harmony with other biological systems throughout our bodies.
There are two main receptors in the endocannabinoid system, CB1 and CB2. CB1 works in the central and peripheral nervous system, primarily in the brain, while CB2 has been found all over the body, primarily in the immune and digestive systems, while also regulating appetite and pain management.
Not only is the endocannabinoid system present in humans, it is also present in animals so the potential benefits of CBD can be had by humans as well as their beloved companions.
The interesting thing is that humans and animals both produce compounds similar to cannabinoids if there are no cannabinoids available in their systems to bind with.
The very first compound that binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors discovered was anandamide. It was shown to help regulate the immune system, and is produced in our bodies naturally. It is essentially known as the body’s own version of a cannabinoid, which is very interesting as it shows these cannabinoids are useful enough for the body to make them on their own.
What this also means is our bodies can become deficient of cannabinoids over time, to the extent that we must try and produce a substitute ourselves.
This shows the need for hemp-derived CBD to achieve the homeostasis that is lacking in our bodies otherwise. By taking CBD we are restoring our body’s natural balance and feeding the endocannabinoid system what it needs most, without forcing our body to try and create cannabinoids on its own to make up the difference.
The image below shows the locations of CB1 and CB2 receptors throughout the body
Endocannabinoid system keeps us in homeostasis
This endocannabinoid system constantly works to keep our body in homeostasis, which means our body is in a state of overall good health and is well-balanced. If you are not in homeostasis, medical research has shown that you may be more prone to develop disease, illness, and inflammation.
When we are cannabinoid deficient, it also affects our mood, stress levels, anxiety, nervousness, and immune systems. Simply put, CBD helps restore and optimize our endocannabinoid system, which in turn benefits the many physiological and cognitive processes controlled by this system.
This is why introducing CBD into the body leaves us feeling great, with less stress, less anxiousness, and with less pain and inflammation while allowing us to sleep better.
As the CBD brings us back to homeostasis, this can also help prevent future disease states and inflammation. As scientific research progresses, we are finding that CBD appears to have many preventative functions as well as helping the conditions it is already well-known for.
Deficient endocannabinoid system
There is a very real possibility that most people have a deficient endocannabinoid system.
Scientists have discovered that being hypersensitive to pain, experiencing migraines, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and other conditions could all connect back to the quality of the person’s ECS system.
Think of it this way, often times we only treat our symptoms and not the actual underlining problem that caused those symptoms in the first place. This may cause a longer time for recovery, or your symptoms may be muted by the medicine while the underlying issue remains. Internally, you may still be malnourished and suffering from a dysfunctional endocannabinoid system, but this is not being replenished.
This is why CBD, a naturally occurring hemp-derived cannabinoid, can help restore body and mind as it replenishes the deficient endocannabinoid system and starts feeding your CB1 and CB2 receptors what they need throughout your body.
Another quite interesting aspect of endocannabinoid system development is that it is very much dependent on your mother, via being breastfed as a baby. Not only are cannabinoids abundant in breastmilk, they are also vital for the baby’s health and development. The specific cannabinoid found in breast milk is 2-AG and it is more abundant than anandamide.
The natural connection of cannabinoids to our health cannot be understated.
From the time we are babies we are nourished by cannabinoids and then this nourishment stops as we grow up and have no way of replenishing this system. As we age, the body attempts to make its own cannabinoids but that cannot take the place of consuming high-quality full-spectrum CBD.
So we remain deficient and face many conditions that could otherwise be prevented or alleviated. This system underscores the power of CBD and why it is a vital part of our health and wellness regimen.
Unfortunately, many doctors and health care professionals are not trained in the endocannabinoid system as it is relatively new and very complex.
Therefore, it may be frustrating to try and find answers to learn more about the endocannabinoid system online or via health professionals.
Keeping up with a healthy lifestyle, staying physically active, and eating a variety of whole foods can help increase your overall health. In addition, adding a quality hemp-derived full-spectrum CBD oil, such as what we offer at Lanai Hemp, can help with many different conditions that affect our daily lives while also enhancing and protecting the body from potential health conditions down the road.
As science finds more and more evidence to backup the real results people are seeing every day with CBD, it will only become more useful and necessary to optimizing our lives.