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The Endocannabinoid System and CBD

Most of us may have already heard that CBD offers plenty of health benefits. Such positive effects include pain and inflammation relief, reduced stress levels, and a more positive mood.

However, we couldn’t help but wonder how CBD does all that. In other words, how does our body react to it? The truth is, it all has to do with our endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The ECS regulates our appetite, memory, and mood. More importantly for us, it mediates the medicinal effects of marijuana.

But what is the relationship between our endocannabinoid system and CBD? Let us start by defining ECS more closely.

Man walking

What is the Endocannabinoid System?

We all know that the cannabis plant produces the so-called “phytocannabinoids.” Interestingly enough, our body also makes its own version of these chemicals.

Endocannabinoids (eCBs) have a similar function to that of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter. While dopamine is a part of our nervous system, eCBs are its ECS counterpart.

The most important eCBs that our body produces are Anandamide and 2-AG (2-Arachidonoylglycerol). Anandamide former regulates memory, pregnancy, and appetite. Moreover, it’s also responsible for that sense of elation after an exercise. On the other hand, 2-AG maintains heart health and controls our emotions.

Basically, the eCBs are the so-called “messengers” of the ECS. But where exactly do they deliver their messages? Why, to the cannabinoid receptors of course. They do so by binding to these receptors. That way, they affect our mood, immunity, and consciousness.

Read also: Does CBD Make You Sleepy?

Our body contains two main types of CB receptors — CB1 and CB2. The former type is important for proper brain function. We can find them in different regions of our brain, with various functions. Those include pain perception, motor function, mood, and memory. However, they are also located elsewhere in the body, although in lower levels.

The rest of our body contains CB2 receptors. Their concentration is high in our immune cells, the spleen, thymus, and tonsils. Moreover, we can find them in our kidneys and liver, as well as our skin and bones. CB2 receptors regulate our immune, gastrointestinal, and cardiovascular systems.

The Endocannabinoid System and CBD

Woman smiling

One major difference between THC and CBD is that the former is an agonist, and the latter is an antagonist. In other words, THC activates our cannabinoid receptors, triggering their effects on our body. However, it has adverse psychoactive effects.

That is where CBD, the antagonist, steps in. By binding to our CB receptors, it will make them inactive. Thus, it will stop any further downstream activity that the receptor generates. But how does that help us?

If we ingest both these cannabinoids simultaneously, we will feel the so-called “entourage effect.” Medical research has proven that CBD will mitigate the psychoactive effects of THC.

CBD can also affect our ECS indirectly, due to its weak binding affinity. For example, it can activate our TRPV1 receptors, which regulate our body temperature, pain, and inflammation.

Moreover, CBD also helps our body make more Anandamide, by inhibiting the FAAH enzyme. Thus, it improves our mood and makes us feel more motivated.

As CDB stimulates our ECS, our body reaches homeostasis more easily. The result is better sleep and less pain.

Read also: What CBD Product is Best for Pain Relief?

Final Thoughts

Future research has yet to discover the true nature of our endocannabinoids. Still, the interaction between our endocannabinoid system and CBD has great medical implications.

In the end, we can all benefit from better sleep, less stress, and a greater mood overall.