About CBD and the Endocannabinoid System
What is CBD?
CBD is a Cannabinoid abundantly found in the Cannabis species of plant called Hemp. It is a natural compound, being one of over 200 Cannabinoids in the plant. It binds to Endocannabinoids in the body, working within an Endocannabinoid system, that promotes Homeostasis (natural balance) of systems, organs, hormones and chemicals.
CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning that it doesn’t get you ‘high’ like the Cannabinoid THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) which is abundantly found in the Marijuana species. It’s legal to consume a CBD based product, and can have huge health benefits!
Taking CBD oil drops sublingually (under the tongue) is one of the best ways to get CBD into your system and a great place to start. Consuming CBD capsules and food is a fabulous way to get an extra boost for your Endocannabinoid System, and topical skincare products with CBD in are wonderful for your skin.
The Endocannabinoid System
The human endocannabinoid system, or ECS, is the regulatory mechanism responsible for maintaining the homeostatic or homeostasis balance in the body.
The main function of the endocannabinoid system is to deliver messages throughout the body so that when changes occur on a cellular and systemic level, the body can react by sending a signal via one of its messenger molecules. These messenger molecules are called Endocannabinoids. These reactions, be hormonal or chemical for example, promote Homeostasis.
Homeostasis means the correct balance within the body, such a temperature regulation, hormone function, gut health and inflammation levels to name but a few. Our entire body systems and cellular functions are regulated by Homeostasis and when there is an imbalance it can affect our wellbeing profoundly. Daily consumption of cannabinoids have whole body and mind benefits!
Your pet Dog, Cat and even Rabbit has an Endocannabinoid System- in fact, all vertebrates and invertebrates do!
Cannabinoid (CB) Receptors
The first CB Receptor (CB1) was discovered by Mechoulam, et. al. in 1992. There are at least two known cannabinoid receptors – CB1 which is in the central nervous system, and CB2 which is in the peripheral nervous system (nerves in your extremities), the digestive system, and specialised cells in the immune system.
We call human cannabinoids ‘Endocannabinoids’ (meaning in-body) to determine from ‘Phytocannabinoids’ (plant Cannabinoids).
They discovered that CB receptors in humans mirrored those in plant. They work by ‘Retrograde Signalling’ a negative feedback loop that works on demand. They are the messenger molecules that the body produces to deliver a message to a specific cell.
The endocannabinoid molecules deliver their message by binding to these cannabinoid receptors. This is followed by a cascade of reactions, and something changes within the cell. We naturally produce these in the body – however they are metabolised very quickly.
Phytocannabinoid receptors also bind to Endocannabinoid receptors – they are metabolised differently! This means that the phytocannabinoids, such as CBD, actually have a much longer lasting effect in our bodies.
Therefore, where there are is a cannabinoid deficiency and or imbalance in the body – CBD promotes effective homeostasis response of the body systems – to address the imbalance.
Whole body benefits.