If you haven’t had your chance to read about the endocannabinoid system, now here’s your chance with another take.
Cannabis and more specifically hemp is one of the first plants to be domestically cultivated. Cannabis has played a significant role in the lives of humans starting in Asia for as far back as about 500 BC. And here in the United States, hemp was a staple crop for many of those who established the original colonies. It’s a powerful plant with a powerful history that can help us produce many useful things, including paper, clothing, food, or making it into a plastic, to name several popular uses.
Unfortunately, hemp got caught up in the prohibition era with the outlawing of alcohol and marijuana in the 20th Century. The paper barons, who saw the continued growing of hemp as a threat to their businesses, sided with the prohibitionists and continued to fight to keep it illegal even after the prohibition on alcohol was lifted.
Now that hemp and marijuana are becoming more mainstream again, and with Congress putting hemp on the fast track to being fully legalized, we’re seeing all kinds of products out there that contain cannabidiol, better known as CBD. (Choosing the right product with the right ingredients will be covered in another upcoming post because there are a lot of snake oils out there today.) Seeing as how we like to be educated about things around here, and we would guess that you do too since you’re reading this post, we decided to take a deeper look into not just CBD, but the system that CBD interacts within our bodies. This is the endocannabinoid system or ECS.
What exactly is the endocannabinoid system?
In a nutshell, it’s the system in our bodies made up of endocannabinoids, which contain the receptors to transmit information along the trail of neurotransmitters throughout our bodies. It’s the part of your system that helps control your mood, physiology, and your daily life experience. And because of the crucial role that the endocannabinoid system plays in helping to regulate so many things in our body, the system is also widespread throughout the rest of the animal kingdom, meaning we aren’t the only ones with an endocannabinoid system in our bodies.
For the system to work, there are three major components. Those are cannabinoid receptors throughout the brain and body (of which there are two major types of receptors, the first of many that have been discovered), endocannabinoids which are the molecules that bind to the active ends of the cannabinoid receptors (similar to how CBD binds) and are naturally produced by the body, and metabolic enzymes that destroy the endocannabinoids once they have been used by the body (they make sure that the endocannabinoids are used only for as long as needed, which is unique in the system because other things like hormones can stay past their usefulness, like a bad house guest).
So what’s the big deal?
In essence, the endocannabinoid system helps to keep many things in the body in balance. The system is so important, in fact, that it helps with firing off brain cells and regulating inflammation in our bodies, for starters.
Cannabinoids that come from plants interact with the endocannabinoid system, as well as other various types of receptors throughout the body, giving those plant-based molecules their well known medicinal effect. CBD is so effective because of how it interacts with the endocannabinoid system and other types of receptors in the brain. And because of the enzymes that CBD interacts with, many conditions may benefit from the use of CBD, such as treating anxiety (which in our tests has been very effective).
So treat yourself and your endocannabinoid system right, and you’ll be cared for in return.